National Beer Day: Alumnus brewing for a cause

Matt StevensMatt Stevens (AB’03, MPA’14) is the Director of Community and Culture at Creature Comforts Brewing Co. in Athens. For National Beer Day we’re asking the questions everyone wants to know – from how Creature Comfort’s philanthropy started to Stevens’ top three favorite beers.

The fact that your role exists is unique. You’re clearly passionate about the Athens community, how did that come about?

My role tries to activate the same value with both an internal and external focus, that value being the question of how to use a company to add value to people’s lives. The external focus is, obviously, the community side. Before we’d ever brewed any beer—before there was Tropicalia—there was this value system. What we know how to do is brew beer. But why we do it, in part, is to add value to the community around us. We hope the city of Athens is better off because we’re here helping to support it.

As for my internal focus, we hope our employees view their work as more than “just a job.” We hope every hire is a lifetime hire. Not merely for retention purposes, but we look to invest in our people, and more than just professionally, but personally as well. It looks a lot of different ways, but that’s the basic framework: The simple question of how our employee experience can add value to our people. Great companies recognize that their employees can work anywhere. The fact that they’ve chosen to dedicate their careers to steward our brand demands that we endeavor to, in turn, invest back into them.

Share a little about the Get Comfortable Campaign.

Get Comfortable started in 2015, and initially it was just a slice of the year—from November to January. One of the first things we did once we had more bandwidth was to extend the campaign duration. We wanted this community impact work to be who we are, not just something we do. So today we launch the program every year in January and wrap mid-November, which gives us six weeks at the end of the year to close the books, to disburse funds, and then reload for the next year.

Creature Comforts SignThe program itself stems from our belief that companies have a role to play in the solutions of tomorrow. We cannot simply outsource social services work to the government or nonprofit agencies. Though both sectors absolutely have a role to play, the private sector has a responsibility as well. John Mackey, who founded Whole Foods, wrote a fantastic book a few years back titled Conscious Capitalism, wherein he makes the argument that companies can be capitalistic but also conscientious in the way they go about it. The Get Comfortable campaign, then, is our expression of this belief, our flagship program to participate in the civic wellbeing of our community.

Specifically, we hope this program helps to align the business community to resource the agencies who do our city’s most pressing work. We hope to make serving as simple, as strategic, and as effective as possible for local businesses.

For a full list of the partners and events, visit GetCurious.com.

What was your favorite UGA memory?

I am going to have to go with a sports memory—my father and grandfather played football here so Georgia football memories run deep. I would say being with my dad in Jordan-Hare back in 2002 when we clinched the SEC East for the first time in years. It was the David Greene to Michael Johnson in the fourth quarter with 15 yards and basically zero seconds to go—I leapt into my father’s arms. It was just one of those classic Georgia sports memories.

Favorite UGA professor?

Richard Neupert. I took his introduction to film course—that’s why I not only changed my major but also why I went on to grad school. I received my masters in film studies from the University of Edinburgh before returning to UGA for a now-defunct PhD. Dr. Neupert and I still cross paths from time to time since he still serves on the board of Cine. He is so community-minded, but he’s also this incredible scholar and I admire him greatly.

What are your top three favorite beers?

creature comforts

Arcadiana, it is a barrel-aged saison. Subtle, juicy, delicious. If you like a saison, you should totally try this one.

The Silent World is one of our lesser known releases. It’s a black lager, which is a very unique style. Given its inky black appearance, our brewers named it in homage to the classic Jacques-Yves Cousteau documentary from the 1950’s titled Le Monde du Silence. As a former film scholar, I obviously appreciated the nod to quirky cinema.

This year’s Get Comfortable IPA is a collaboration with Russian River. It was a dream to have Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo come from California this past January to work with our team on that recipe. The result is staggering, one of our best IPAs to date. And of course, all the profits go toward a philanthropic end.

What’s one of your favorite places to grab dinner post-Creature Comforts?

Got to go with my gut, Seabear. In a city full of incredible dining, it remains my very favorite. 

Creature Comforts has expanded to the Southern Mill, which was previously a warehouse near Chase Street, what’s the future of Creature Comforts?

Opening the Southern Mill has given us tremendous new capacity. Throughout 2019 we are looking to continue expanding our distribution footprint statewide. For context, we opened our doors in April 2014 and from day one we were in only two markets, Athens and Atlanta, until last November. In November we opened Augusta and Columbus. And last month we opened up Savannah and more of coastal Georgia. So we’ve gone from two cities for four years to nearly the entire state in the last six months! The new tank capacity, then, has enabled us to release quite a bit more volume and, just as exciting, to create many new recipes through our innovation program. So both our customers and our brewers are pleased with the recent expansion.

UGA Alumni Watson, Mitchell and Kisner to play in 2019 Masters Tournament

The Masters Tournament is one of the four major championships held every year in professional golf.  In fact, many would say the Masters is the most significant professional golf tournament of the year. With the 83rd tournament just days away, we wanted to highlight some of our notable alumni who are playing in the tournament this year. 

uga golfer Bubba Watson

photo by Golf News Net

Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson (BSFCS ’08) is not a new name in the Masters Tournament roster. Bubba, a native of Bagdad, Florida, has played in every Masters since 2008 and is a two-time champion of the tournament. Bubba was a member of the UGA Men’s Golf team in 2000 and 2001.  During his time at UGA, Bubba earned many honors including: 2000 All-America and All- SEC recognition and he won the Schenkel Invitational.  He later returned to UGA to complete his degree in 2008. As a professional golfer, Bubba has 12 PGA Tour victories and additional victories in the 2008 CVS/Caremark Charity Classic and the 2015 Hero World Challenge.  He was also a member of the 2016 Men’s Golf Summer Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro. So far in 2019, Bubba tied the low score of the day to finish T4 at the Valspar Championship, finished 6-under and T15 in the Genesis Open and finished T4 in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Follow Bubba on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or check out his website for more updates on his career. 

 

uga golfer Kevin Kisner

photo by golfchannel

Kevin Kisner

Kevin Kisner (BBA ’06), is another talented alumnus who is playing in the Masters this year. Kisner is from Aiken, South Carolina, and was a member of the UGA Men’s Golf team from 2003-2006, including the NCAA Division I Championship team. As a golfer at UGA, he earned many honors including:14 top-10 finishes in his career, four-time All-American, three-time All-SEC, SEC Academic Honor Roll, and team captain After earning his degree from UGA, Kisner started his professional career. Kisner has three PGA Tour victories, including the 2019 World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, and additional victories in the 2010 Mylan Classic presented by CONSOL Energy and the 2013 Chile Classic. In 2017, Kevin and his wife Brittany founded The Kevin and Brittany Kisner Foundation. A scholarship of $2500 is awarded to a senior from Aiken County High School from the foundation. Follow Kevin on Twitter or check out his website for more updates on his career.  

 

uga golfer keith mitchell

photo by Golf Digest

Keith Mitchell

Keith Mitchell (BBA ’14) is playing in the Masters for the first time this year. Mitchell is from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and was a member of UGA Men’s Golf team from 2011-2014. In 2013, he won the 2013 Bulldog Battle for Georgia. Recently, Mitchell won The Honda Classic, which earned him an invitation to this year’s Masters. Although this is his first PGA Tour victory, he gained experience playing in many PGA Tour tournaments such as the CIMB Classic, Sony Open in Hawaii, The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges and the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Follow Keith on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more updates on his career. 

More notable UGA Men’s Golf Alumni

Although these UGA Alumni are not playing in the Masters Tournament this year, both have had successful UGA and professional careers that have earned a large amount of recognition. 

uga golfer Brian Harman

photo by golf.com

Brian Harman

Brian Harman (BBA ’11) is a former UGA Men’s golf member from Savannah, Georgia. During his time at UGA, Harman was named to the 2007 SEC Academic Honor Roll, 2006-2007 First-Team All –SEC, 2006 All-American, 2006 Freshman of the year and more. Harman has two PGA tour victories in his professional career. His 2019 achievements include finishing T8 in The Players Championship. Follow Brian on Twitter and Instagram for more updates on his career. 

 

uga golfer russell henley

photo by Racing Post

Russell Henley

Russell Henley (BSFCS ’11) is a professional golfer from Macon, Georgia. During his collegiate career at UGA, Henley received honors including: 2009 All-SEC ,2009 All-American and the 2010 Haskins Award for outstanding collegiate golfer. Henley began his professional career in 2011 and has three PGA tour victories. His 2019 professional achievements include finishing T15 in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Follow Russell on Twitter or check out his website for more updates on his career. 

 

The Masters pre-tournament begins Monday, April 8. Round 1 of the tournament begins on Thursday, April 11. Live coverage of the Masters Tournament can be viewed on CBS and ESPN. For more information, visit masters.com.

The Student Tour of Georgia: Not Your Average Spring Break

Spring break is a time when strangers and university faculty group together to get on a bus and learn about agricultural sustainability, economic development and every other aspect of the state of Georgia that the University of Georgia impacts.  

That’s not actually a traditional spring break, but it was spring break for the 25 students and various faculty members on the inaugural trip of the Student Tour of Georgia. Put together by the President’s Office, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, the Student Tour of Georgia was an experiential learning opportunity based off the longstanding New Faculty Tour created to teach students about what it means to be a land and sea grant university. 

Students went on a boat ride at UGA's Marine Extension.

Students visited UGA’s Marine Extension and went on a boat ride at sunset.

On the first morning of the trip, students heard from University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead and Vice President of Public Service and Outreach Jennifer Frum about the importance of the trip ahead. With 25 students from various majors across campus as well as supervising faculty, the bus loaded up and headed out at 8am on Monday morning. 

Day 1: 

The tour’s first stop was Jaemor Farms. An hour outside of Athens, we learned about the multi-generational history of the farm from UGA alumna Caroline Black Lewallen (BSA ’11). We were each treated to a delicious fried pie or homemade ice cream. From there, the tour headed to Amicalola Falls to visit one of Georgia’s state parks, and the students climbed around 600 stairs to the top of the falls. At this point it was raining pretty hard, and everyone was thoroughly soaked and ready for a nice hot coffee or tea as we all got to know each other and participated in trust-building exercises at the Amicalola Falls Lodge.  

Day 2 

The second day of the trip started and ended in Atlanta. We started off the day by visiting the Capitol, and it was many students first time entering the building. We sat in on committee hearings and met the Incoming Vice President for Government Relations Toby Carr (BSAE ’01, BBA ’01), as well as put our photography skills to good use on the staircase. 

Students on the steps of the Capitol.

The second day of the tour started at the Capitol in Atlanta. Photo courtesy of the Office of Public Service and Outreach.

From there, we went to the Georgia Experience Center and heard from employees of Georgia Power about how they pitch the state of Georgia to companies who potentially want to open offices or factories here. After that, we went to the Center for Civil and Human Rights and individually toured the three floors of the museum. It was a moving way to remind ourselves of the injustices against human rights that are still happening across the world, as well as reflect on Atlanta’s role in the civil rights movement.    

Our final academic stop of the day was Ebenezer Baptist Church where we got to sit in the pews of the church where Martin Luther King Jr.’s family preached. We were told that the church had been made to appear how it looked on the day of Martin Luther King Jr.’s last sermon, which was played for us. It was a surreal experience to hear Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermon in which he says what he would like his eulogy to be like, considering that sermon became his own self-eulogy. You can listen to that sermon here.   

We enjoyed a great dinner with UGA Young Alumni Leadership Council members Daniella Singleton (BS ’08, AB ’08), Shayla Hill (BBA ’08), Anna Reddish (BSA ’08, MADS ’09) and alumni Ryan Reddish (BSFR ’08, MFR ’10) and Black Alumni Leadership Council member Jacinta Smith (BS ’01, MS ’04, DRPH ’21) and past president Raymond Phillips (BS ’12, MBA ’18). 

Day 3 

Day three kicked off in Fayetteville for a tour of Pinewood Studios. Though we didn’t see any celebrities (and we couldn’t tell you if we did), it was cool to see where the Marvel blockbuster movies are filmed, and learn about the Georgia Film Academy and the “new urbanism” movement in nearby community Pinewood Forest. 

Students inside a sound stage at Pinewood Studios.

Students got to enter a sound stage at Pinewood Studios. Photo courtesy of the Office of Public Service and Outreach.

After that, we traveled to Macon for a lunch-and-learn. We heard about the economics behind Newtown Macon, an effort to revitalize the city, as well as the Ocmulgee National Historical Park. Our next stop was in Hawkinsville, where we learned about UGA’s Archway programs, and a Youth Leadership Program called LIFE League. From there, we traveled to Albany State University’s campus for a dinner where we learned about their disaster recovery progress in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Although Albany State’s students were also on spring break, we enjoyed meeting students from Howard University in Washington, D.C. who were there helping with recovery efforts on their own spring break “impact” trip. 

Day 4 

On the fourth day of the trip, we visited UGA’s Tifton Campus and learned about what students there are focusing on studying, including going on a tour of an incredibly energy efficient home as well as seeing a demonstration of a drone that can tell farmers how much water their fields need. We also visited UGA’s dairy research facility and pet baby cows, which was a really great time. 

Students pet baby cow at UGA's dairy research facility.

Students got quality time with baby cows at UGA’s dairy research facility.

At the Okefenokee Swamp, we learned all about alligators, including one named Crazy. We got to pet a baby alligator named Tiny, and then took a small boat tour through the swamp, followed by a train tour of another area of the swamp. 

Our last stop of the day was UGA’s Marine Extension on Skidaway Island, where we were greeted by none other than Uga X. Remember how petting baby cows AND baby alligators was really fun? We then got to pet and pose for photos with the best dawg, and that’s certainly a lot of students’ favorite memory from the trip.  

Day 5 

On the fifth and final day of the tour, we woke up in Savannah and went to the Georgia Ports Authority and learned about their work and took a tour of the ports. Next, we went to Gulfstream Aerospace and saw the process behind the construction of $60 million-dollar jets, as well as the creation of simulators for pilot education.  

Finally, we stopped in Washington County and enjoyed Dairy Lane milkshakes as we heard from UGA alumna Conni Fennell-Burley (BSHE ’88), an Archway Professional. It was, no pun intended, a sweet finish to the week.   

This summary doesn’t even begin to mention the time we spent as a group reflecting on what we had learned that day, starting snack delivery chains on the bus or playing silly bonding games. By the end of the week, we had perfected our group photo pose. While it wasn’t a traditional spring break, I believe an alternative spring break where we got to see so many places in Georgia made us all the more grateful to be at the University of Georgia. UGA is and will continue to be a landgrant and seagrant university that is committed to making a positive impact on not only the state, but the world.  

 

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Happy 108th Birthday to Lessie Smithgall (ABJ ’33)

Lessie Smithgall at a Phi Beta Kappa event at Brenau University in March 2019. Photo by AJ Reynolds/Brenau University.

Lessie Smithgall at a Phi Beta Kappa event at Brenau University in March 2019. Photo by AJ Reynolds/Brenau University.

Lessie Smithgall, University of Georgia alumna and trailblazing journalist, turned 108 on April 1, 2019.  Mrs. Smithgall (ABJ ’33) has created a life worth celebrating through her philanthropic support of Grady College of Journalism and a myriad of arts and environmental organizations across the state.  Today, we are tipping our hats to her most recent recognition: per current records, she is the oldest living graduate of the University of Georgia and oldest living member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Lessie Smithgall (ABJ '33) in her 1933 senior year portrait at UGA.

Lessie Smithgall (ABJ ’33) in her 1933 senior year portrait at UGA.

Mrs. Smithgall was an active student leader on campus.  She was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta when women’s fraternities were just beginning at UGA, and she was President of Women’s Student Government and Zodiac.  Her academic achievements were recognized through the honors societies Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi, and she was treasurer of Theta Sigma Phi, a society for women in communications. These moments of leadership would serve as cornerstones for her career and philanthropic influence.

A few short years following her graduation, Mrs. Smithgall was instrumental in bringing the prestigious broadcast award, the George Foster Peabody Awards, to UGA.  Through an introduction of her WSB Radio colleague, Lambdin Kay, to her mentor, School of Journalism Dean John Drewry, the Peabody Awards were established in 1940.  Since then, UGA has been the host of the broadcast equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize.

A portrait of Lessie Smithgall (ABJ '33) in February 2016 by Tracy Bosworth Page (ABJ ’88).

A portrait of Lessie Smithgall (ABJ ’33) in February 2016 by Tracy Bosworth Page (ABJ ’88).

To further support the Peabody Awards and Grady College, Mrs. Smithgall and her late husband, Charles, established the Lambdin Kay Chair for the Peabody Awards.  This fund provides program support for the Director of the Peabody Awards and the Peabody-Smithgall Lecture Series.  Mark your calendar and attend this year’s lecture on April 3. Eric Deggans, NPR’s full-time TV critic, will present his lecture entitled “Decoding Media’s Coverage of Race, Gender and Differences.”

Mrs. Smithgall’s impact extends beyond campus, into the media, arts, and the preservation of Georgia’s landscape through Smithgall Woods Conservation Area.  She and her husband co-founded WGGA radio in 1941 and The Gainesville Times in 1947.  Their joint generosity supported the press, state and local arts councils, and the conservation of land for decades, lifting up communities in North Georgia and beyond.  A plaque at the entrance to The Gainesville Times displays a quote that clearly reflects their disposition: “Guided by the constitutional principle of the public’s right to know, we dedicate this building to the continued enlightenment and freedom of the people of North Georgia.”

Whether on UGA’s campus, Georgia’s foothills, or through broadcast journalism, Lessie Smithgall has been elevating the people and principles she believes in for 108 years. Join us in wishing her a very happy birthday by attending her eponymous lecture, enjoying the arts, or engaging with quality journalism.  With each of these acts, you’re taking part in the legacy of a true Bulldog legend.

Happy birthday, Mrs. Smithgall!

UGA Celebrates World Water Day 2019

Water lettuce plants float in cups inside a plant biology grow room.

Water lettuce plants float in cups inside a plant biology grow room.

Water is nearly everywhere, and it’s important.

Whether it is flowing through the College of Engineering’s new 35-foot water tunnel, through Athens’s own Oconee rivers, or being enjoyed and stewarded by the UGA community, it affects our lives. As with the rest of nature, even our understanding of water and the ecological systems it participates is constantly growing.

 

Today has been designated World Water Day by the United Nations for a host of reasons. It is a finite resource in a world with a growing population, and many people are without access to clean water or reliable irrigation methods; these challenges are serious across the world, including our very own Georgia. This is why it is so exciting to have people like Professor George Vellidis here at the University of Georgia, who is taking a critical look at traditional agricultural irrigation systems in use in the state’s farming industry and developing solutions for smarter water use.

 

(L-R) Professor George Vellidis and graduate student Anna Orfanou check the circuit board of a UGA Smart Sensor Array node in an experimental crop field on the Tifton campus.

(L-R) Professor George Vellidis and graduate student Anna Orfanou check the circuit board of a UGA Smart Sensor Array node in an experimental crop field on the Tifton campus.

If you’re like me and don’t have a background in agricultural science, there are still plenty of ways you can help, in the Bulldog spirit of taking on these grand challenges together.

 

  • Reducing water usage and water-related waste. Showers over baths, shutting off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth, and using refillable water bottles instead of plastic are all ways you can save water and reduce water-related waste. When you do so at work and home, you’re being frugal for yourself, stewarding the university’s resources well, and leaving more fresh water for later.
  • Supporting organizations that are solving water challenges. I’ll let you do your own research on those; there are many worthy organizations out there. As a part of UGA, you should be aware of the Crop Soil Sciences Discretionary Fund, related to Professor Vellidis’s work mentioned earlier, and the College of Environment and Design’s fundraiser for a water bottle refilling station (with only a few days left in its fundraising effort).

 

Water is a precious resource, and deserves our attention as it affects both our state and many other people across the rest of the world. Pick up a water bottle for use at work, put a sticky note in your bathroom mirror to remember to turn off the sink, or whatever creative way you can think of to make your own drop in the bucket for World Water Day.

National Poultry Day: Why Did the Chicken…

chickens

… cross the road, roll in the mud and cross the road again? [Because he was a dirty double-crosser!]

Buh-dum-chuh.

Every day is a good day for a cheesy ‘chicken crossed the road’ joke, right? Not just National Agriculture Week (last week) or Georgia Agriculture Awareness Week (this week) or National Poultry Day (today). Every day is also a great opportunity to recognize the impact that agriculture has on our state’s economy and on the lives of people around the world who depend on that industry.

So today, we wanted to highlight two leaders of UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) who know the true value UGA brings to the poultry industry.

Sam Pardue

Dean Sam Pardue
University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

CAES Dean Samuel L. Pardue penned a column last week that notes the role UGA plays in in the poultry industry:

“If Georgia were a country, we would be the seventh largest poultry-producing country in the world. Much of that $22.9 billion industry is located within 60 miles of Athens. Along with our close partners at the USDA Poultry Research Center and our counterparts in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, we want to make Athens, Georgia, the epicenter of poultry science for the world. We are working hard to raise funds to build new facilities that will allow us to grow our research programs, develop new educational opportunities for our students, and provide a transparent center for the public to come and learn more about how their food is safely and sustainably provided.”

If you’re interested, check out the rest of his column, which mentions other ways UGA is top Dawg, if you will, in agriculture.

Todd Applegate

Todd Applegate, head of CAES’s Department of Poultry Science, and other researchers are addressing critical poultry industry problems on a daily basis, such as antibiotic use, intestinal health, rearing challenges, disease prevention, farm management and more.

“In Georgia, an estimated 138,000 jobs are linked directly or indirectly to poultry production,” he says. “In short, ensuring the health and well-being of our birds in Georgia is critical to the economy of our state. There’s a much bigger need for multidisciplinary solutions to technical problems, which are getting more complicated to solve. There’s no other place in the world that has nearly 70 scientists focusing on poultry. I’m proud of the range of things that we do in an industry that’s constantly evolving.”

Hungry to learn more (no pun intended) about his team’s efforts? Visit UGA’s Great Commitments website.

Everyone knows a Georgia Bulldog is relentless. We never give up when the going gets tough, whether it’s in the lab, on the field or in the classroom. And we certainly don’t give up when there are opportunities to improve the lives of people across our state and the world. As a pioneering American research university with a land- and sea-grant mission, we are committed to solving problems and serving communities—especially when it comes to the poultry industry, which employs and feeds millions of people around the world each year. (And did you know you can provide funding for the Poultry Science Department and help in these efforts, too? Even $25 or $50 can go a long way!)

Okay, one more chicken joke before I go?

How do comedians like their eggs? [Funny side up!]

(I promise our research in poultry science is far more impressive than my chicken jokes.)

National Dentist’s Day 2019 – Dr. Vy Do (BS ’10)

Dr. Vy Do (BS '10) in front of a dental clinic he volunteered his talents at in Kikiyu, Kenya.

Dr. Vy Do (BS ’10) volunteering at a dental clinic in Kikiyu, Kenya.

Is there a better feeling than freshly cleaned pearly whites? We owe halitosis-free breath and healthy gums to our fearless dentists, without whom the world would have far less smiles! On National Dentist’s Day, we’d like to recognize all those who care for our toothy grins.

Dr. Vy Do (BS '10) celebrated his 30th birthday at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia and brought his UGA pride with him.

We have many alumni who go on to become dentists – take Dr. Vy Do (BS ’10), for example. Vy is an associate dentist at several Atlanta-area practices, treating everyone from young children to grandparents. He believes that his varied experiences and interests at UGA prepared him for his career and gives back to his alma mater to make a difference for current and future students.

Learn more about Vy’s UGA experience – from studying abroad in Italy to playing in the university orchestra – and his journey to become a dentist here.

A special thanks to Vy for being a lifelong supporter of UGA – and thank you to all of our dentists for reminding us to floss. Happy National Dentist’s Day!

Groundbreaking broadcaster Monica Kaufman Pearson delivers 2019 Holmes-Hunter Lecture

Monica Kaufman Pearson

Monica Kaufman Pearson delivers the 2019 Holmes-Hunter Lecture in the Chapel. (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

The UGA Chapel was filled with joy, anger, sadness, and, ultimately, hope when the University of Georgia welcomed back alumna Monica Kaufman Pearson (MA ’14) to deliver the annual Holmes-Hunter Signature Lecture on Thursday, Feb. 7.

Named for Dr. Hamilton Holmes (BS ’63) and Charlayne Hunter-Gault (ABJ ’63), UGA’s first African-American students, the lecture series began in 1985 and, each year, invites a distinguished scholar or public figure to speak on race relations, aspects of higher education with implications for race relations and black history.

“We recognize that our collective backgrounds and experiences unite us and they enrich the living and learning environment for our students and for the entire campus community,” said Arthur Tripp, Assistant to the President, introducing Pearson.

“It is our goal to continue to foster a vibrant exchange of ideas by bringing speakers to campus who champion a diversity of thought, ideas and who challenge us to think critically about the pressing issues of the day.”

Pearson’s illustrious career includes being Atlanta’s first woman and first minority to anchor daily news programs. Her reporting has garnered over 30 local and regional Emmys, her long-running “Close-Ups” series has profiled national celebrities and world leaders and she was named a UGA Distinguished Alumni last year, having graduated magna cum laude following her retirement in 2012.

Pearson opened the lecture with several bars of an old spiritual song, then laid bare the history of black oppression in no uncertain terms—a history that stretches into the present day.

“The seed planted was slavery, fertilized by the Civil War, watered during Reconstruction with Jim Crow laws, then pruned and reshaped after the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” said Pearson. “And then finally, with the election of the first black president in 2008, some claimed the roots of racism were uprooted and destroyed. That was a lie.”

Monica Kauffman Pearson with Mary Frances Early

Monica Kaufman Pearson (center) speaks with Mary Frances Early prior to the lecture (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

Pearson documented abuse after abuse, asking “how do the roots of racism continue to grow like kudzu and how do we change that?” At the heart of her solution was action rooted in honesty.

“We must educate people, awaken their sensibilities,” said Pearson. “Speak up, ladies and gentlemen, when you see racism and when you hear racist conversations and you hear horrible jokes from your coworkers, your family and your friends. Speak up.”

Pearson noted that although conversations around race can be uncomfortable, they are necessary. Those in positions of power must examine their prejudices, Pearson said, and those who have been victim to oppression can’t let their ambitions suffer as a result.

“Don’t be afraid to be the first person in your family to do anything,” said Pearson. “Don’t be afraid of being the best you can be. Don’t let other people define you. You define you. Build up your self-esteem. Be the first in your family to go to college, to get a master’s degree, to get a doctorate. Become the first woman president of the University of Georgia.”

Pearson closed with a message of hope, quoting from remarks made by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and positing that prosperity for all relies on intersection, cooperation and communication.

Honored guests at the event included family members of the late Dr. Holmes, UGA’s first African-American graduate, Mary Frances Early, and students from Athens-area and metro Atlanta middle and high schools.

———-

The hope in Pearson’s message lives at the heart of the Holmes-Hunter Lecture and was the driving force in the creation of the Black Alumni Scholarship Fund. Give today to honor the memory of trailblazers like Early, Holmes, Hunter-Gault and Pearson by opening doors for tomorrow’s scholars.

University of Georgia achieves 96 percent career outcomes rate for second year

University of Georgia achieved 96 percent career outcomes rate for the second year in a row.

University of Georgia graduates, for the second year in a row, are employed or attending graduate school within six months at a rate of 96 percent—11.7 percent higher than the national average.

Of those students:

  • 63 percent were employed full time;
  • 19 percent were attending graduate school; and
  • Approximately 12 percent were self-employed, interning full time or were employed part time.

“UGA students continue to excel in their post-graduate endeavors, and the consistency of statistics from last year to this year demonstrates that the university is providing career readiness skills through professional programming, academics, and experiential learning,” said Scott Williams, executive director of the UGA Career Center.

Nearly 3,000 unique employers hired UGA graduates from business to government, nonprofit to education. Some of the top employers for the Class of 2018 include Amazon, Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot and Teach for America.

Of those full-time professionals, 58 percent were employed before graduation, a three percent increase over the Class of 2017, and 98 percent were hired within six months of graduation.

Graduates landed in 47 states and 31 countries in the six months after graduation with 69 percent accepting employment within the state of Georgia. Top out-of-state destinations span the county and include cities like Austin, Texas and New York City.

Top 10 out of state destinations for the University of Georgia based on Class of 2018 career outcomes.

Of the 19 percent of graduates who are pursuing additional education, some of the top graduate or professional schools they will attend include Georgetown University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Vanderbilt University and Columbia University.

The UGA Career Center calculates the career outcomes rate each January by leveraging information from surveys, phone calls, employer reporting, UGA departmental collaboration, LinkedIn, and the National Student Clearinghouse. The preceding data is based on the known career outcomes of 8,130 graduates from the Class of 2018.

To check out the UGA Career Center’s website highlighting the Class of 2018 career outcomes.

Learn more about hiring UGA graduates.

 

A Bulldog Love Story: Glenn and “Susy” Taylor

Barbara "Susy" Nell Davis (BSHE ’48) and Glenn Lewis Taylor (BSED ’49) in front of their home.

Barbara “Susy” Nell Davis (BSHE ’48) and Glenn Lewis Taylor (BSED ’49) in front of their home.

At the end of World War II, there was a large influx of returning veterans to the University of Georgia campus, and Glenn Lewis Taylor (BSED ’49) was one of them. Glenn can’t remember if the year was 1946 or 1947, but the moment he met his future wife is one he’ll never forget. When they met, Barbara Nell Davis was pursuing her Bachelor of Science in home economics at the university after transferring from West Georgia.

Glenn Lewis Taylor (BSED ’49) sitting in Myers Quad.

Glenn Lewis Taylor (BSED ’49) sitting in Myers Quad.

One evening, Glenn and a friend were standing in line at Snelling Hall behind two attractive young ladies, so they started up a conversation. As Barbara liked to tell the story, back then, proper young ladies did not give their names to male strangers; so when they were asked, both she and her friend gave false names. She told her future husband that her name was Susy.

Barbara "Susy" Nell Davis (BSHE ’48) on the University of Georgia campus.

Barbara “Susy” Nell Davis (BSHE ’48) on the University of Georgia campus.

 

Several days later, Glenn and “Susy” ran into each other again in Snelling Hall. Glenn told her that he knew Susy was not her real name because he couldn’t find anyone on campus with the name she had given. She confessed, and they became friends. Six months later, they began to date, however, Glenn continued to call her Susy–as did their friends! Before long, she was known on UGA’s campus as Susy. They dated for about six months then decided to stop, but that only lasted for about a week before they got back together. Once they were back together, they started a serious relationship that eventually led to 54 years of marriage. Until her passing in 2004, Glenn and her friends called her Susy–a memory of that fateful day on the University of Georgia campus that brought them together.