UGA News

$1.5 million gift enhances UGA’s proactive alcohol education

The University of Georgia will enhance its alcohol education and prevention programs thanks to a $1.5 million gift from UGA alumnus Jack Fontaine and his wife, Nancy, of Houston, Texas. The donation is their latest in nearly $6 million of support to the Fontaine Center for alcohol awareness and education since the center’s establishment 11 years ago.

This gift will allow the Fontaine Center to increase the capacity of its Collegiate Recovery Community, as well as expand its proactive educational programming both on campus and throughout the state.

Jack Fontaine notes that the center has come a long way in its first decade, in both quantity and quality of service.

“When we first started, we had a few counselors and two to three weeks’ wait time,” he said. “We were reactionary, and now we’ve grown to be proactive.”

Following an expansion of the University Health Center building in 2009 the Fontaine Center gained prominent and additional space and has grown to better meet the needs of UGA’s students.

Liz Prince, who has served as director of the Fontaine Center since 2012, described the center’s growth from assisting with individual cases of alcohol abuse to its current comprehensive programming that covers other drugs like marijuana and prescription drugs, as well as issues of interpersonal violence and sexual assault response.

“We’re able to address things that really impact students where there’s an intersection between alcohol and drugs and violence,” she said.

Now the center offers a “spectrum of services,” including prevention, early intervention and recovery support. They are also able to put students and families in touch with trusted treatment professionals around the country. Students know and trust the Fontaine Center and are getting in touch with counselors much earlier. Student organizations such as Greek Life groups and academic interest groups are reaching out to the center to request presentations and information sessions.

Prince said that the center has earned the respect of colleagues in the community and around the state.

“It’s a more fine-tuned, visible program,” she said. “We’re better at partnering with folks on campus and in the community instead of everything being situated within the Health Center.”

Later this spring, the Fontaine Center will host the inaugural summit of state schools, technical colleges and independent college and universities to discuss the recommendations of the University System of Georgia’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Task Force, co-chaired by University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead. The summit is yet another program made possible by the Fontaines’ support.

Prince is excited at the prospect of national experts and state colleagues coming together to form best practices for helping students. She feels a lot more can be accomplished through collaboration and sharing ideas.

“Schools can take each other’s ideas and tweak them,” she said. “Campuses are different, but we can all benefit from learning about each other’s approaches.”

What’s the ultimate goal of all of these efforts?

“A culture shift,” Prince said.

Today, a larger number of students are coming to campus who abstain from drinking or who drink very little or moderately. This progress presents new challenges, however. The number of at-risk students may have decreased at the university in recent years, but the students who are abusing alcohol and other drugs are doing so in ways and with drugs that are potentially much more harmful than in the past.

Prince admits progress is incremental, but she appreciates the successes of the Fontaine Center’s first 11 years.

“Ultimately, we’re trying to change behavior, and you can’t just do that overnight,” she said. “But with the support of the Fontaines and the university administration, we’re educating more students than ever, including in high schools, and we’re having a positive impact on our state and students’ lives.”

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The Commit to Georgia Campaign

On Thursday, November 17, the University of Georgia publicly launched the Commit to Georgia Campaign. With a goal of $1.2 billion, this campaign will change the lives of thousands of students, fund world-changing research, expand the university’s land-and sea-grant missions and continue a tradition of excellence. The public launch of the campaign was accompanied by a $30 million gift from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation in support of student scholarships at the University of Georgia.

This campaign will focus on three broad priorities:

  1. Removing barriers and opening doors by providing more scholarships
  2. Enhancing the learning environment
  3. Solving the world’s grand challenges through research and service

Learn more about the campaign and how you can get involved at


The University of Georgia is committed to cultivating leaders

The University of Georgia’s Women’s Leadership Initiative continues to make strides in fostering an environment that enables individuals to achieve their full potential.

Just last week, we announced the second cohort of Women’s Leadership Fellows—an extraordinary group of faculty members with a strong record of accomplishment and even greater ambitions for the future. Through the yearlong fellowship program, faculty members attend monthly meetings where they learn from senior administrators on campus as well as visiting speakers from academia, business and other fields. The Women’s Leadership Fellows Program concludes with weekend retreat that provides opportunities for more in-depth learning.

This year’s class of Women’s Leadership Fellows is composed of nine faculty members from eight schools and colleges as well as the Division of Student Affairs. Members of last year’s cohort have already found great success, with Jean Martin-Williams, the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, being named an associate dean in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences after completing her fellowship. Other faculty members who participated in the program say it gave them an invaluable set of mentors—both in the senior administration and in their cohort of fellows. The Women’s Leadership Fellows Program has been such a success that Human Resources is laying the groundwork for a similar program for staff that will launch in 2017.

Data from the private sector show that organizations with more diverse leadership teams tend to outperform their less diverse counterparts because they consider a broader range of viewpoints and options. Here at the University of Georgia, we recognize that leadership development programs are vital to ensuring the continued success of this institution.


A recent Women of UGA luncheon

In addition to cultivating the talent that exists on this campus, we also need to ensure that we recruit and retain highly qualified and skilled faculty and staff. As part of the Women’s Leadership Initiative, the Office of Faculty Affairs has partnered with Human Resources to develop guidelines and online tools to support the recruitment of diverse applicants and to minimize the impact of implicit bias during the screening of applicants. Human Resources has also hired a work-life balance coordinator and launched a website that directs faculty and staff to support services and includes resources such as a map of lactation stations on campus.

New programming and procedures implemented through the Women’s Leadership Initiative are benefitting faculty and staff while enabling the University to be even more impactful in its teaching, research and service missions. I look forward to sharing more progress from this important initiative in the coming months and years.

This story was originally published on October 24 on Written by Whitten, the blog of Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Georgia.

Women of UGA Leadership Council

Speaking of cultivating female leaders, the UGA Alumni Association is seeking applicants for its Women of UGA Leadership Council. If you are interested in being involved with the planning and direction of the Women of UGA affinity group, consider joining this group. As the largest population of UGA graduates are female, Women of UGA Leadership Council members will have the opportunity to connect and inspire UGA alumnae through high-level programming that will enhance lives of both graduates and students. Council members will be charged with developing and implementing a strong mentorship program, Women of UGA Scholarship Fund goals and a mission that furthers the UGA Alumni Association’s strategic plan.

View the criteria and apply today!

UGA rededicates historic H.H. Tift Building

Earlier this week, the University of Georgia rededicated the newly renovated H.H. Tift Building on the UGA-Tifton campus.

Renovation of the historic Tift Building—the campus’s first structure—was completed in May and funded by $5 million in state support. The facility houses the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics as well as administrative offices. The renovated building also contains modern classroom space to provide faculty and students with the latest in learning technology.

Speakers at the rededication ceremony included UGA President Jere W. Morehead, Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Sam Pardue and UGA student and biological sciences major Lolita Muñoz.

Morehead emphasized the important link between UGA-Tifton and the surrounding communities.

“Today, we celebrate more than the renovation of the historic Tift Building,” Morehead said. “We celebrate the unwavering and longstanding bond between UGA-Tifton and the many communities it proudly serves all across South Georgia. Indeed, the strengths and opportunities of this area of the state and the mission of this campus are perfectly aligned.”

The Tift Building complements the campus’s vital research enterprise, which is recognized worldwide for scientific discoveries related to agricultural commodities such as cotton, peanuts, pecans, turf grass and vegetables.

“We are a campus that thrives on research and providing an academic home for our future agricultural leaders,” said UGA-Tifton Assistant Dean Joe West. “This is an important day in our history. President Morehead’s presence, along with other administrative leaders, emphasizes the significance not only of the Tift Building but also of our entire campus.”

Morehead with Students

Following the ceremony, Morehead met with students in the Tift Building to hear about their academic experiences on campus. He also met with state and local officials from the area. Morehead, Pardue and other members of the UGA senior administration, including Vice President for Public Service and Outreach Jennifer Frum and Vice President of Government Relations Griff Doyle, then traveled to the Tift County Cooperative Extension Office to visit with UGA employees.

The Tift County Cooperative Extension Office serves as an important bridge between the resources of the university and the needs and interests of the community-especially with regards to agriculture. Pardue underscored the critical role of UGA Extension in promoting economic development in the state and beyond.

“UGA’s academic, research and extension experts in Tifton deliver advanced education, cutting-edge science, improved agricultural production methods and knowledge of the latest crop varieties, market developments and business practices,” Pardue said. “Their dedicated efforts help to create a vibrant and robust economic engine that sustains not only this corner of the state, but provides food and fiber for Georgia and the world.”

The group of senior administrators concluded their tour of the Tifton area with a visit to Carroll’s Sausage and Meats in Ashburn. The local business has grown from 18 to 40 employees in five years, thanks to assistance from the UGA Small Business Development Center.

The SBDC, a public service and outreach unit, helped owner Hugh Hardy Jr. develop a business plan and loan proposal, secure financing options and renovate a facility into a large retail store off Interstate 75. The SBDC also helped Carroll’s Sausage and Meats secure a loan to open a Thomaston store in 2014 and continues to work with the business on strategic planning and marketing.

“The Small Business Development Center at the University of Georgia is helping hundreds of small business owners grow their companies, as well as helping entrepreneurs launch new businesses,” Frum said. “The economic impact of the work of the SBDC is felt throughout the state in the number of new companies and jobs created every year.”

UGA jumps to 18th in U.S. News & World Report ranking

The University of Georgia moved up three spots to No. 18 in the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking of Best Public Universities, released on September 13.

“I am pleased that the University of Georgia continues to be recognized as one of the very best public research universities in the nation,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “I want to thank our outstanding faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters for this achievement. UGA’s upward trajectory is a testament-above all else-to their hard work and dedication to excellence.”

Outstanding performance on key measures of student success contributed to the university’s strong position in the national rankings: UGA’s first-year retention rate increased from 94 percent to a record 95 percent during the rating period, and its six-year graduation rate remained at an all-time high of 85 percent.

Increases in student selectivity measures also led to the top 20 ranking. UGA’s acceptance rate decreased from 56 percent to 53 percent during the rating period; the percentage of students in the top 10 percent of their high school class increased from 52 percent to 53 percent, and test scores for the 25th-75th SAT/ACT percentile increased as well.

These measures reflect the continuing rise in the quality of the student body at UGA as well as a steady increase in the number of applications for admission. This fall marked the fourth consecutive year in which the incoming class of first-year students set a record for academic quality, and applications for fall admission reached an all-time high this year at nearly 23,000, surpassing last year’s record total.

“It’s no surprise that demand for a UGA education continues to surge,” said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Our long tradition of excellence and bold new academic initiatives have created an unparalleled learning environment that fosters the highest levels of student success.”

Read the rest of this story.

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UGA’s Olympic History

With August finally here, one of this year’s most exciting events is about to begin, the 2016 Summer Olympics. This year’s games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Twenty years ago, the Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, Georgia. While the majority of the events were held in Atlanta, some events were held on the UGA campus. Soccer matches were held in Sanford Stadium, while rhythmic gymnastics and indoor volleyball were held in Stegeman Coliseum.

Stegeman Coliseum during the 1996 Summer Olympics

Stegeman Coliseum during the 1996 Summer Olympics

UGA has had many students-athletes and former students compete in past Olympic Games. Since 1936, UGA has had eighteen students win gold medals in many events. The first student to win a gold medal was Forrest ‘Spec’ Towers in the 1936 summer games. Towns won a gold medal in the 100 meter high hurdles while also setting a world record that would go untouched for the next fourteen years. The famous Olympic torch was run through campus before the 1996 Summer Olympics by former head football coach Vince Dooley. Dooley ran the torch from inside Sanford Stadium through campus before passing it off. Little known fact? In addition to being a football player and MMA fighter, Herschel Walker was an Olympic athlete! He was a member of the U.S. bobsledding team in 1992 Winter games. See the complete list of UGA’s former Olympics athletes and coaches here.

The Georgia Athletics Museum, located in the Butts-Mehre building on South Campus, has a display year-round showcasing the UGA Olympic athletes. The display showcases the official 1996 match volleyball used in Stegeman Coliseum. The display also holds four of Teresa Edwards’ (BSED ’89) medals, three gold and one bronze. Edwards competed on five different U.S. Olympic women’s basketball teams during her career. Edwards’ first medal was won while she was a student at Georgia. The display lists every UGA student, along with their event, that has ever competed in any Olympics. Butts-Mehre is open for any visitors to walk through and tour all displays, including the Olympics display. For more information about the Georgia Athletics Museum, visit the Athletics website.

Former UGA swimmer Allison Schmitt

Former UGA swimmer Allison Schmitt

At this year’s Olympic Games, many current or former UGA athletes will be competing along with UGA Swimming Coach Jack Bauerle who will be the U.S. assistant men’s swimming coach. UGA’s track coach, Petros Kyprianou will coach the Estonian track team at the games. Chase Kalisz ‘17, Jay Litherland ‘18,  Olivia Smoliga ’17, Brittany MacLean ’17, Chantal Van Landeghem ’17, Matias Koski ’16, Melanie Margalis (BSFCS ’14), and Allison Schmitt (BS ’14) will be competing in swim. Kendell Williams ‘17, Keturah Orji ‘18, Maicel Uibo ‘16, Leonti Kallenou ‘16, Cejhae Greene ‘18, Karl Saluri ‘18, Levern Spencer (BSHP ’08), Quintunya Chapman ’16, and other former athletes will compete in track and field. All athletes will be representing their home country. The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication is sending two students, Jaylon Thompson ’17 and Nicole Chrzanowski ’16, from the Sports Media Certificate Program to cover the Olympics in Rio. Grady College will also send nine students to cover the Paralympics in September.

You can watch the opening ceremonies this evening at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC.

Gifts to UGA surge to historic heights

For a third consecutive year, the University of Georgia has set a record in fundraising, bringing in $183.8 million in new gifts and commitments during fiscal year 2016.

This year’s historic total represents a 28 percent increase over the previous year’s record of $144.2 million. Gifts were raised from a record number of 67,435 contributors.

Private funding supports the university at every level. During the 2015-16 academic year, private donations helped to fund more than 6,100 scholarships for UGA students. Donations to UGA also help the university recruit and retain outstanding faculty, enhance the student experience and expand the research enterprise.

“This major accomplishment speaks to the unyielding commitment of the UGA community to elevate our great university to new heights of excellence,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “I am deeply appreciative of everyone who generously contributed their financial resources. I also am grateful to our development team; the UGA Foundation trustees; leaders of our schools, colleges, and other units; and to our outstanding faculty, staff and students. The hard work and dedication of all of these individuals-and many others-made this significant achievement possible.”


View the complete release.

University of Georgia among Forbes’ top public colleges

The University of Georgia moved up one spot to rank No. 17 on the Forbes “Top 25 Public Colleges 2016” list released this week.

Forbes ranked 660 public and private colleges and universities using factors that the publication says favor “output over input. Our sights are set directly on return on investment: What are students getting out of college.”

“As the University of Georgia continues to gain recognition as one of the nation’s top public universities, students and alumni can be more confident than ever in the value of a UGA education,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Significant investments to enhance the learning environment and provide students with the support they need to succeed are clearly paying dividends, and the future of this institution is very bright.”

The only other SEC school on the public school list was the University of Florida at No. 13. Georgia Tech also was ranked in the top 25 at No. 15, followed by the University of Texas at Austin at No. 16.

Are you a graduate of the University of Georgia? Please take a moment and update your information to stay up-to-date with all things UGA!


Peabody Awards announce entertainment winners on NBC’s “Today” show

On Friday, April 22, the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors announced the Entertainment and Children’s programs that are among this year’s Peabody Awards winners live on NBC’s “The Today Show.”

The Peabody Awards, which are administered by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, are one of storytelling’s most prestigious awards.

Founded in 1940, Peabody honors and extends conversation around stories that matter in radio, television, and digital media. Past award winners include Adventure Time, Fargo, House of Cards and Breaking Bad.

This year is the Peabody Awards’ 75th anniversary and the ceremony, taking place on Saturday, May 21 at Cipriani Wall Street, will be hosted by former Peabody winner Keegan-Michael Key.


The 2016 Entertainment program winners are:

Beasts of No Nation (Netflix)

black-ish (ABC)

Deutschland 83 (Sundance)

Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Netflix)

Master of None (Netflix)

MR. ROBOT (USA Network)

The Leftovers (HBO)

Transparent (Amazon)

UnREAL (Lifetime)

Wolf Hall (PBS)

The Peabody Awards ceremony will air June 6 at 8 p.m. as a 90-minute special on Pivot.

Want to learn more about the Peabody Awards? Check out this 75th anniversary video.


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Commit to G-Day!



“I just want to tell everybody how great it is to be back home. I love the energy and passion here tonight. We want to see the same energy and passion at the spring game. We want to see 93,000 there to come out and support us.

The easiest thing in recruiting is when your fanbase is united and everybody is pulling in the same direction. That’s what we need, that’s what we want, that’s what we expect. We want to get that done.”

Coach Kirby Smart (BBA ’98)


G-Day Schedule

G-Day is April 16, 2016, at 4:00 p.m. 

Admission is free!

1:00 p.m. – Stadium Opens
1:15 p.m. – Flag football game between former football players
2:45 p.m. – Dawg Walk
3:00 p.m. – Team stretch on the field
3:45 p.m. – Ludacris performance
4:00 p.m. – G-Day Spring Football Game

Stadium and Parking

All stadium gates will be open, beginning at 1:00 p.m.

Seating throughout the stadium is general admission, with the following exceptions:

  • Sections 135 & 136, Rows 1 – 25
  • Sections 209 – 215
  • Sections 225 – 226

View more details at

View from the sidelines

Whether you’re at G-Day, watching from home, or on the road, tune in to the official University of Georgia Snapchat accounts listed below. All three accounts will be posting from the sidelines throughout G-Day!

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Follow UGA on Snapchat!


Around Campus

Alumni Chapter G-Day Watching Parties

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Athens Alumni Office
Wray-Nicholson House
298 S. Hull Street
Athens, GA 30602
(706) 542-2251 | (800) 606-8786

Atlanta Alumni Center
Live Oak Square
3475 Lenox Road NE, Suite 870
Atlanta, GA 30326
(404) 814-8820

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