Grab your shades, UGA is heading to California!

The University of Georgia is hosting two receptions in California in mid-July and all UGA alumni, friends and parents are invited to attend. During these free receptions, President Jere W. Morehead (JD ’80) will provide updates from campus and attendees will have the opportunity to meet other Bulldogs living in the Golden State.

UGA in LA
Tuesday, July 14 (7:00 p.m.)
Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
Los Angeles, CA

UGA in the Bay
Thursday, July 16 (7:00 p.m.)
The Fairmont San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

The deadline to register online is July 7, but walk-up registration will be available. Complimentary appetizers, wine, beer and sodas will be provided.

Don’t miss this opportunity to mix and mingle with fellow California Bulldogs. Register today!

Alumnus Spotlight: Carlton Curtis (ABJ ’72)

Former UGA Alumni Association President Carlton Curtis (ABJ ’72) has been honored with the 2015 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award. Presented by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), this award goes to an individual who has shown extraordinary achievement and exemplary leadership in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

“It’s a privilege to recognize Carlton and his lifetime of achievements with one of the NRAEF’s and the industry’s highest honors,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of strategic operations and philanthropy of the National Restaurant Association and NRAEF. “During his tenure with Coca-Cola and as a member of the NRA and NRAEF boards, Carlton has been steadfastly passionate and committed to improving the industry. He is a tremendous industry advocate, and an exemplary role model within the nation’s restaurant and foodservice sector.”

Curtis spent the past 43 years with the Coca-Cola Company, while volunteering his time, resources and expertise to restaurant operators and retailers around the globe in an effort to raise the stature of the industry. He has served as chairman of the board of the NRAEF, serves on the Board of Directors of the International Franchise Association, is the current chair of IFA’s Diversity Institute, and is a member of the Hall of Fame of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America. He serves his alma mater as an emeritus trustee of the UGA Foundation. He will be recognized today at the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

Continue reading this news story.

Shabbat 500 creates home for UGA students

Recently, Executive Director Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00) had an opportunity to attend the Shabbat 500 dinner. 

Thanks to generous Georgia Fund gifts, University of Georgia student organizations are able to apply for sponsorship dollars from the UGA Alumni Association. This is an important way for alumni to support the diverse student groups on campus, including UGA’s student Jewish center, The Rohr Chabad House.

Since 2011, the UGA Alumni Association has been a proud sponsor of the Shabbat 500, an annual free dinner for UGA’s Jewish community in celebration of Shabbat. As a sponsor of Shabbat 500, we help fund the 500-person event hosted by The Rohr Chabad House.

The Chabad House is located near the Spec Towns Track and is a home-away-from-home for Jewish students that offers fellowship and an opportunity to celebrate the holidays. Rabbi Refson and his wife, Chana, have five children, yet they are still able to provide unparalleled hospitality to UGA students through their work with The Chabad House. Every Friday evening, the couple welcomes approximately 60 students for a free dinner in their home. The UGA community is lucky to have individuals like Rabbi Refsen and Chana who provide such special moments for students to gather and celebrate Judaism.

I was able to attend this year’s Shabbat 500 with UGA Alumni Association Vice President Ruth Bartlett (BBA ’76). I witnessed a number of UGA’s student leaders participate, enjoyed seeing the special connections these students have with one another, and loved hearing the prayers, blessings and singing that took place! The students’ energy reminded me how wonderfully diverse the University of Georgia student body is and it made me proud that the UGA Alumni Association sponsors this program.

I greatly admire Rabbi Refson’s family and appreciate the role they play in building a welcoming community for students on campus. I am proud to call them my friends and hope the entire Athens community knows how lucky we are to have them as a resource for students. I invite students, parents and alumni to investigate Chabad of Georgia and The Chabad House to find their role in supporting Rabbi Refson and this special organization on campus.

Executive Director Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00), Student Alumni Council Member Reed Turry ’17 and Vice President Ruth Bartlett (BBA ’76)

I look forward to our team sponsoring this event, which promotes campus diversity and inclusiveness, again in the future. Thank you to The Chabad House for hosting Ruth and me!

Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00) is the executive director of the UGA Alumni Association. 

UGA launches Women’s Leadership Initiative

In her blog, “Written by Whitten,” Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten explains the Women’s Leadership Initiative, which was recently launched at the university:

The Women’s Leadership Initiative began earlier this month, and I am grateful for the support of the 10-member planning committee that includes administrators, faculty and staff from across campus. We have plenty of work to do as we address issues such as recruitment and hiring, career development, work-life balance and leadership development.

Gender inequities certainly aren’t unique to UGA or to higher education. A recent McKinsey and Company report found that in the private sector, women hold 52 percent of entry-level positions but only 22 percent of middle management positions and 14 percent of senior management positions.

In addition to being the right thing to do, creating a campus environment that enables everyone to achieve their full potential also makes good business sense. A growing body of research suggests that organizations whose leadership is more balanced between men and women outperform those who are less diverse. They also do a better job of recruiting and retaining talented workers and are more likely to make better business decisions because they consider a wider array of viewpoints.

Read the rest of Provost Whitten’s blog here.

Alumnus Spotlight: William Shepard Rose III

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William Shepard “Shep” Rose III (AB ’02), business owner and entrepreneur, is a familiar face to many fans of reality television. Having spent a few years after college in Charleston, Shep recently returned to his Southern roots to star in the popular Bravo television show “Southern Charm.” Bravo describes the show as “a peek into the notoriously closed society of Charleston starring a group of the city’s most charismatic gentlemen and their Southern belle equals.”

Season two airs Monday, March 16 at 10:00 p.m. on the Bravo network.

Shep, far left, and the cast of “Southern Charm”

Bravo describes Shep’s accomplishments since season one, “The success of the show has allowed him to cultivate a number of endeavors. He’s opened up a new restaurant and bar called The Palace Hotel that serves gourmet hot dogs, tacos, and cold beverages in an ‘off the beaten path’ neighborhood in downtown Charleston. He also built a home in this same neighborhood, and has begun renovations on an old nightclub nearby that should be ready in the Spring.”

To learn more about Shep’s restaurant, The Palace Hotel, check out its feature in Charleston Magazine.

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UGA Grady College announces recipients of 2015 Alumni Awards

The University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has honored four outstanding graduates with 2015 Alumni Awards.

“Recipients of Grady’s annual Alumni Awards serve as a vivid reminder of the excellence of our graduates, and of the varied paths they take upon graduation,” said Charles Davis (MA ’92), dean of the Grady College. “From the boardroom to the classroom, Grady graduates lead. This year’s winners embody the fine work being done by Grady alums far and wide, and serve as a point of pride for all of us.”

Joel Babbit, a 1976 Grady College graduate, received the John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award; Michael Giarrusso, a 1992 Grady College graduate, was honored with the Henry W. Grady Mid-Career Alumni Award; Dawn Brun, a 2004 Grady College graduate, is awarded the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award; and Denise E. DeLorme received the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award. DeLorme has three degrees from Grady College: a Bachelor of Arts in advertising in 1989, a master’s in journalism in 1991 and a doctorate in mass communication in 1995. They will be recognized during the college’s Centennial Gala on April 18 at the Classic Center.

Learn more about these outstanding alumni.

UGA alumni named to Atlanta Magazine’s Best of Atlanta 2014

Atlanta Magazine’s Best of Atlanta is self-described as Atlanta’s annual roundup of “everything spectacular, exceptional, riveting, entertaining, stylish, and delicious.” Several UGA alumni were named to the 2014 list as exceptional Atlanta businesses. Read on to learn more about these businesses and the outstanding individuals that run them.

Men’s Prep Shop: Onward Reserve

TJ Callaway (BBA ’07)

Founded in Athens in 2011, Onward Reserve, a men’s gifts, apparel and home goods retailer with an online store and locations in Athens, Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C, was cofounded by UGA alumnus and former 40 Under 40 honoree TJ Callaway (BBA ’07). Most recently, Onward Reserve was named to the Bulldog 100 Class of 2015. To learn more about Onward Reserve, click here.

Sommelier: Steven Grubbs

Steven Grubbs (AB ’00)

Steven Grubbs (AB ’00) is the man behind the excellent wine selections at Hugh Acheson’s Empire State South and Five & Ten restaurants. As wine director for both restaurants, Grubbs’ expertise is the reason why Five & Ten was a semifinalist for Outstanding Wine Service at the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards.

All-Around Animal Health Care: Briarcliff Animal Clinic

Dr. Elizabeth Busch (BS ’01, DVM ’04) and Dr. Peter Muller (DVM ’84)

It’s comforting to know that the medical team that gives your kitten booster shots is also available if curiosity leads him into harm’s way. Briarcliff Animal Clinic, founded in 1958, operates three clinics and a 24-hour emergency hospital and offers specialty surgery services like laparoscopy and orthopedics. The team at Briarcliff Animal Clinic boasts an impressive list of UGA alumni:

  • Peter Muller (DVM ’84)
  • Elizabeth Busch (BS ’01, DVM ’04)
  • Sandy Hedge (DVM ’72)
  • Mandy Reeve (DVM ’79)
  • Andrea Powell (BSA ’03)
  • Shannon Turner (DVM ’08)
  • Clay Phillips (BSA ’07, DVM ’12)
  • Shannon Day (DVM ’13)
  • Siomara Acevedo (BSA ’03, DVM ’09)

To learn more about Briarcliff Animal Clinic, click here.

40 Under 40 honoree to direct UGA’s state government relations

Toby-Carr

Tobin R. “Toby” Carr (BBA ’01, BSAE ’01) was named associate vice president for government relations and director of state governmental relations at UGA. Vice President for Government Relations J. Griffin Doyle announced the appointment of Carr, who currently is planning director for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Carr was appointed to his current DOT post in 2012, a position in which he has led a team of some 30 planning professionals in guiding strategic planning and project budget documents that direct state and federal resources to fund transportation projects. He graduated from the UGA Honors Program in 2001 with bachelor’s degrees in business administration and agricultural engineering. Before assuming his DOT post, Carr served as Deal’s transportation policy adviser and the governor’s liaison to the Georgia House of Representatives. He previously was director of Deal’s gubernatorial transition committee.

An active student leader while at UGA, Carr served as president of the Interfraternity Council and was named to Sphinx, Omicron Delta Kappa, Blue Key, Mortar Board, Phi Kappa Phi and the Arch Society. He currently serves on the UGA College of Engineering Alumni Advisory Board and was recognized in 2014 as a UGA 40 Under 40 and as the 2012 Blue Key Outstanding Young Alumnus Award winner.

“I’m humbled and thrilled to serve my alma mater in this role,” Carr said. “I’m very grateful to Gov. Deal for his support of this new endeavor and to President Morehead and Vice President Doyle for giving me the opportunity to advance the mission of UGA.”

Carr will serve as primary liaison between the university and state government officials, representing the university in all matters involving legislators, agencies, departments, and the other higher education institutions of Georgia. The transition will occur in early January.

Click here to read more. 

Introducing Executive Director Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00)

The UGA Alumni Association is excited to announce that former Interim Executive Director Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00) has been named executive director effective December 1.

In this role, she oversees all alumni engagement activities and services, including student programs, young alumni outreach, regional programs, special events and collaborative projects on campus.

“In her capacity as interim executive director, Meredith has shown the leadership, vision, creativity, spirit and energy necessary to take the university to the next level in our efforts to closely engage our alumni and parents alike,” said Kelly Kerner, vice president for development and alumni relations. “After conducting a national search, it was clear that Meredith is the right leader for this time in our history.”

In 2001, Johnson joined the UGA Alumni Association as its first Atlanta programs coordinator based out of the new Atlanta Alumni Center in Buckhead. In 2006, she was named director of the Atlanta Alumni Center and managed the facility, Atlanta-area programming and special projects relating to alumni in Metro Atlanta. Seven years later, Johnson became associate director of alumni relations, the position she held prior to being named interim executive director.

Prior to joining the UGA Alumni Association, Johnson served as coordinator of annual giving and alumni relations for the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Since joining the UGA Alumni Association, she has helped launched various signature programs, including Bulldog 100 and UGA Days. In 2014, Meredith was awarded the Georgia Education Advancement Council’s Award for Excellence in Alumni Relations for her work at UGA.

“It is an honor to be selected as executive director of alumni relations for the University of Georgia. As a graduate of UGA, I have never been more proud of the hard work put forth by the administrators, faculty and students that make this place so special,” said Johnson. “I am thankful for the alumni and friends who support this university, and look forward to energizing my peers and the UGA community as we advance the institution together.”

The UGA Alumni Association looks forward to Johnson’s continued leadership!

Click here to read the official press release.