UGA News

Clark Howell Hall Renovation Enhances UGA Learning Environment

This article is adapted from a piece originally written by Krista Richmond for UGA Today.

UGA President Jere W. Morehead, joined by fellow university leaders, dedicated the newly renovated Clark Howell Hall, which offers greater accessibility for the more than 27,500 people who benefit from the Career Center, the Disability Resource Center and University Testing Services each year.

The facility’s updated spaces will provide various opportunities for alumni to recruit and hire students. The center will feature a career commons, a career development room, several campus interview rooms and an employer board room, each specifically tailored to provide the perfect environment for alumni seeking to recruit and hire UGA students.

“The renovation of this facility will greatly enhance the world-class learning environment that we are establishing at the University of Georgia. I encourage our students to continue to utilize the outstanding services that will be located at Clark Howell Hall,” Morehead said during the Oct. 23 dedication ceremony.

The 33,000-square-foot building, originally a residence hall, was constructed in 1937 and is named for Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Georgia political leader Clark Howell.

Supported by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and funded by Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly, the renovations totaled $6 million-$5 million in state funds appropriated for the project as well as $1 million in institutional funds. The work includes improved accessibility; upgraded mechanical, plumbing, electrical and fire alarm systems; and updated data and audio/video systems, according to Chuck Cartwright, project architect with the Office of University Architects.

“I’ve always been a believer in the power of place and engagement,” said Victor K. Wilson, vice president for student affairs. “These renovations enable students to have a truly welcoming home in which they can engage and be supported.”

For the Career Center, which connects UGA students, alumni and employers in the pursuit of meaningful professional development, the additional space allows more opportunities for students seeking successful careers.

“The renovation of Clark Howell Hall is greatly enhancing how our staff is able to serve students,” said Scott Williams, executive director of the Career Center. “With more interview rooms, meeting spaces and updated amenities, we are now able to provide high-quality, professional spaces for the hundreds of employers and thousands of students who visit the Career Center each year.”

Areas within the Disability Resource Center, which provides an academic, physical and social environment for students with disabilities at UGA, also received an update as part of the renovations.

“We’re thrilled that with the clean reception areas and the comfortable feel provided by the new heating and air, along with updated conferencing facilities, we can provide our students the welcoming atmosphere we want to give them,” said Tim Carr, assistant director of the Disability Resource Center. “Our goal is to provide the best services and support we can, and these updated facilities will help us do just that.”

Students who use the center agree.

“The DRC renovations have made the environment in which students can study, interact and relax with other students more inclusive and accommodating. By creating clearly identified directions and room labels, for example, students like me who have partial visual impairments can easily navigate through the building while also feeling comfortable and cared for,” said Risa Matsumura, a fourth-year student majoring in cultural anthropology and sociology.

The space of University Testing Services, which provides centralized testing and evaluation services for all students, faculty and the surrounding community, also increased as part of the renovations.

“We’ve greatly increased the size of our reception area, creating a new, dedicated waiting room with new furniture and space for folks to check in and wait comfortably. We have always strived to provide a warm and welcoming environment for our exam takers, and now we have plenty of space to provide comfort as they arrive,” Associate Director Yvette Leverett said. “The feedback from our students has been great-they love the new space.”

Interested in recruiting on campus? Contact the Career Center today.

The Cousins Foundation makes gift to support scholarships, endow UGA swim and dive coach

The Cousins Foundation, Inc. has committed more than $5 million to the University of Georgia to support need-based scholarships for students and to permanently endow the UGA head swimming and diving coach position.

“I want to thank The Cousins Foundation for partnering with the University of Georgia to advance one of our top priorities, increasing scholarship support for our students with financial needs,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “This significant gift will transform the lives of so many UGA students—and their families—for generations into the future, and I am deeply grateful for the Foundation’s tremendous generosity.”

This major gift is one of the first to the university in fiscal year 2018, which began on July 1.  It will be matched by an additional $500,000 from the UGA Foundation through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program, announced by Morehead in January to increase the number of need-based scholarships available at UGA.

The Cousins Foundation’s gift will establish the Cousins Scholars Program, a robust collegiate experience for 24 service-minded UGA students who demonstrate significant financial need. The four-year program will welcome six new students each year, with the first cohort beginning in fall 2019. The Cousins Foundation is known for its strong commitment to community service, and service will be integrated throughout the new scholarship program.

Credit: Duane Stork

Four components will define the program: an annual academic scholarship of $7,000 (on top of Zell Miller or HOPE scholarships and Pell grants) that is renewable for up to four years; participation in UGA’s Freshman College Summer Experience, a bridge program to help first-year students transition to campus; grants up to $2,000 to pursue high-impact experiential learning opportunities; and targeted support and mentorship from a program coordinator partially funded by the gift. In addition, a cohort structure will establish a strong social network for Cousins Scholars and help to promote the highest levels of student learning and success.

“On behalf of The Cousins Foundation and my parents, we are proud to support the University of Georgia through these gifts,” said Lillian Giornelli, president of The Cousins Foundation and daughter of Tom and Ann Cousins. “We believe in the importance and power of community giving and engagement, and we are committed to empowering the community around us to make a lasting positive impact on the world.”

A gift to the UGA Athletic Association will endow the swimming and diving head coach position in honor of Ann and Tom Cousins, founders of The Cousins Foundation. Tom was a Georgia letterman in swimming in 1950 and 1951 and a member of the 1950 SEC track and field championship team. He also is the recipient of UGA’s Bill Hartman Award, which recognizes former UGA student-athletes who have demonstrated excellence in their profession and service to others.

The position will be known as the Tom Cousins Head Swimming and Diving Coach, and will be the second endowed head coaching position at UGA. The first is the Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach, named for Tom Cousins’ father, which was endowed by the Cousins family in 2016.

“We are so pleased that the Cousins Foundation has made a second incredible gift to our athletic program,” said J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. “The Cousins have been remarkable advocates for the state through sport and cultural and social development. They have changed lives, created opportunities and will continue to do so through this endowment.”

Tom Cousins is the founder and chairman of Cousins Properties, Inc., a real estate investment trust. He is on the board of the Georgia Research Alliance and is a former chairman of the UGA Foundation. He has served on the boards of NationsBank (now Bank of America), First Union, and Shaw Industries, and he was president of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

Writer: Elizabeth R. Elmore,
Contact: Jill Walton, 706-369-5975,

This news release was originally published by UGA Today on August 3, 2017.

Educators’ gift inspires others to ‘pay it forward’

This was originally published on UGA Today.

A planned gift from a University of Georgia alumni couple will help first-generation college students become educators.

Created by Johnny Sanders Jr. and Rubye Coleman-Sanders, who both received advanced degrees from the UGA College of Education, the scholarship fund will assist underrepresented students at UGA who wish to teach in communities that typically struggle to retain quality teachers. It’s a way to give back to the university that helped propel the couple to successful careers, they said, and they look forward to helping the next generation do the same.

“We worked in higher education, and we know how difficult it is, especially now, for students to come up with the money to go to school. We wanted to pay it forward,” said Sanders. “We instilled in our son the same values our parents instilled in us-to try and achieve at your highest level, and then give back.”

The couple’s decision comes at a time when UGA is focused on expanding financial assistance for students. In the UGA College of Education, nearly half of undergraduate students face unmet financial needs. This includes not only paying for tuition and fees, but also affording transportation or housing.

“We are humbled by the commitment that Johnny and Rubye have shown to future educators coming to the College of Education,” said Craig H. Kennedy, dean of the college. “This scholarship will change the lives of the students it will serve.”

Education is at the core of the couple’s life, something instilled by their parents. Each came from large families that made earning a high school diploma a priority. Sanders graduated from Coppinville High School in Enterprise, Alabama, in 1967, and Coleman-Sanders graduated from Carver High School in Union Springs, Alabama, in 1967.

Sanders and Coleman-Sanders pushed beyond high school, though. They served as each other’s cheerleader as they earned advanced degrees. After graduating from Alabama State University, where they met, Coleman-Sanders received a master’s degree from Wayne State University in Michigan and then received her doctorate from UGA. Sanders received his master’s, educational specialist and doctoral degrees from UGA.

“After completing our doctorates from the University of Georgia, we have definitely experienced the American dream,” Coleman said. “Something most people aspire to.”

Along with the support they received from each other, the couple agrees that without the help of graduate assistantships and other financial aid, their advanced degrees would have been much harder to achieve, if at all.

That’s why they felt strongly about establishing the Dr. Johnny Sanders Jr. and Dr. Rubye Coleman-Sanders Teacher Education Scholarship Fund. Financial aid put their goals within reach, and they want other to be able to experience success, too.

“The University of Georgia was so great to provide financial assistance when we attended. This will help students aspire to the levels that we aspired to,” said Sanders. “And hopefully, they will make a valued contribution to society as a whole. So it works both ways-for society and the University of Georgia.”

The scholarship will be created by the residual from the couple’s estate. Sanders said this type of planned gift allows them to enjoy their retirement while also knowing that their love of education will continue in the form of financial assistance for qualified students.

Because their graduate degrees elevated their careers, it only seemed natural to help future students, coming from underrepresented populations, to have the same opportunity.

Sanders spent 33 years as an award-winning educator in high school and college-level classrooms. He retired as a professor emeritus in 2008 from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. As a professor of counseling and development in the College of Education, he was the first African-American man to become a tenured full professor, and the first counselor educator at Winthrop University to receive the South Carolina Counseling Association’s Counselor Educator of the Year award.

Coleman-Sanders specialized in both business and education, and spent 30 years in higher education. She retired from Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina, where, like Sanders, she was the first African-American woman to become a tenured full professor.

With their planned gift, they said, they can build off their own achievements to change the lives of students at UGA- and the lives of the students taught in the classroom.

“From my earliest memories, the only thing I heard from my parents was, ‘Get an education.’ My father passed away three weeks before I turned 5, but my mother continued his mantra: ‘J. Coleman does not want his girls to be dependent upon anybody for a living,'” said Coleman-Sanders. “My mother never let us forget that she wanted us to have a better life than she had. And the only way we were going to achieve that was through an education.”


University of Georgia Fundraising Skyrockets

In the first year of the public phase of the Commit to Georgia Campaign, UGA donors set a new record in fundraising, contributing $227.8 million in new gifts and pledges. This marks the fourth consecutive year that UGA donors have set a new record in fundraising and the first time in the university’s long history that the annual total has surpassed $200 million.

“When we launched the public phase of the campaign last fall, we called on our alumni and friends to help us expand the impact of this great university on the world,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Clearly, they are answering that call with extraordinary generosity and support, and it is with the deepest sense of gratitude that I say ‘thank you’ for making gifts that are changing lives.”

The goal of the Commit to Georgia Campaign is to raise $1.2 billion by 2020 to increase scholarship support, to enhance the learning environment, and to solve the grand challenges facing society. More donors than ever contributed this year—another all-time record—to reach an overall total of $827 million toward the campaign goal.

“I am not surprised to hear that more donors gave to UGA this year,” said Ruth Bartlett, immediate past president of the UGA Alumni Association. “Our alumni believe strongly in UGA’s vision for the future, and they are eager to help make it a reality.”

Through the UGA Alumni Association, 14 students are currently receiving $37,000 of support from the Alumni Association’s general endowed scholarship, Black Alumni Scholarship and study abroad scholarships. The Women of UGA affinity group was also able to endow the Women of UGA Scholarship in March, which will be awarded next year. We asked some of our alumni volunteers why they give to the university. Here is what they had to say:

Emily Hammond CookEmily Hammond Cook (AB ’07), President of the New York City Chapter “I love UGA and am so deeply grateful to it for all the ways in which it shaped and molded me into who I am today. Those four years in Athens were the most formative years of my life and I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for UGA and the experiences and relationships formed there.”


Brian DillBrian Dill (AB ’94), UGA Alumni Association Board Vice President, “Financial aid was a key component in my attending and graduating from the University of Georgia. My degree has allowed me to travel the world and I cannot think of a better way to honor this blessing than to assist others in the same endeavor.”



Dominique Holloman (BS ’01, AB ’01, MED ’04, JD ’04), Black Alumni Leadership Council Immediate Past President, “I was blessed during my time as a student to only have to worry about my next assignment or exam. There are students who are hungry and who are unable to purchase needed books and supplies. That is disappointing and unacceptable to me, and I hope it is to other graduates as well. My commitment is scholarships.”


Joshua W. Jones (AB ’08, ABJ ’08, MBA ’16), Young Alumni Leadership Council Fundraising Chair, “I give to empower tomorrow’s leaders. Current students will be the ones who will shape our future at the local, state and national level.”




Rubina Malik (PHD ’15), Women of UGA Leadership Council Mentorship Chair, “The ability to give is a privilege. To be able to support those who might not have the opportunity, or means, to get a formal education without support allows me to fulfill my purpose to cultivate leaders.”



Bill ThomasBill Thomas (AB ’88), UGA Alumni Association Board Secretary, “I have found that staying connected with the university will provide you great opportunities beyond the few years that you spend on campus earning your degree. I give back to the university to ensure that it remains a world class institution, and that it can attract, and retain, deserving students.”

$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.”

Make a gift to support this cause or visit to contribute to another area about which you are passionate.

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.