UGA News

Flavor of Georgia celebrates tradition of artisan and craft foods

From cheeses to chutneys, craft chocolate to chorizo, the 2015 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest—sponsored by the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development—will celebrate Georgians’ creativity and craftsmanship by finding the best products in the state.

“Flavor of Georgia is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain publicity and exposure for their products,” said Sharon P. Kane, a UGA food business development specialist and the contest’s coordinator. “It’s also a chance for them to network with other food entrepreneurs and industry experts.”

Nearly 90 percent of the finalists in the 2014 Flavor of Georgia Contest reported seeing increased interest in their products following the contest, and many others benefitted from increased sales, profits, publicity and website traffic, she said. Some also indicated an increase in full- and part-time employees.

More than 50 percent saw an increase in new contracts within one month of the contest.

A follow-up survey of past finalists, from the 2007 through 2012 contests, found that they attributed about 11 percent of their business revenue to their participation in Flavor of Georgia.

Finalists and winners will be eligible to participate in a number of high-profile industry showcases throughout 2015, including the Georgia Grown Symposium, the Georgia National Fair and showcase days at the Buford Highway Farmers Market. They also will receive industry feedback and use of the Flavor of Georgia finalist logo for their product’s packaging.

Winners will be featured in the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown magazine, a statewide publicity push, a booth at the Georgia Food Industry Association conference, a spot at the Sherwood Food Distributors annual food show and use of Flavor of Georgia winner logo for their packaging.

Contest finalists will be invited to participate in the final round of judging and a public tasting March 9-10 as part of the Governor’s Agricultural Awareness Day in Atlanta.

Food marketing experts, grocery buyers, chefs and Georgia agricultural experts will judge each product based on flavor, Georgia theme, unique or innovative qualities and commercial appeal.

Registration runs through Jan. 30 and includes commercially available products or market-ready prototypes. Product categories include barbecue sauces; beverages; confections; dairy products; jams and jellies; marinades and sauces; meat and seafood; salsas, chutneys and condiments; snack foods; and miscellaneous products. There is no limit to the number of products an individual can submit.

Register and learn more.

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.

Read more about Carr’s new position.

UGA’s Thank-a-Teacher Program

Did a teacher at UGA enrich your life or inspire you to pursue your dreams? Was there a professor or teaching assistant (TA) that pushed you to do your best and discover your passion for a subject?

Now is the time to let that teacher or TA know how grateful you are for their support. UGA’s Center for Teaching and Learning invites UGA students and alumni to participate in the university’s Thank-a-Teacher program.

What is Thank-a-Teacher? It is a program that allows students and alumni to express gratitude for teachers who have impacted their lives in a profound and meaningful way. If a teacher (professor, instructor, TA) made a positive contribution to your experience at UGA, please consider sending them a brief note using the form linked below. You may choose to remain anonymous or have your name attached to that note.

When participating, you will be asked to fill out a simple form to acknowledge your appreciation for your teacher’s work. Share a brief thank you or an anecdote to let that teacher know what you enjoyed about his or her class and why it was important to you.

Click here to complete the Thank-a-Teacher form.

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. 

2014 International Education Week

This week, the UGA Alumni Association joined the campus community in celebrating International Education Week.

“International Education Week gives us the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the role of international education in providing a well-rounded education and equipping students with the competencies for living and working in an intercultural environment,” said Kavita Pandit, associate provost for international education.

Not only does UGA encourage students to travel and study abroad, the university also welcomes international students to call UGA home. Interacting with students from other countries – working on class projects, living in the same dorm, sharing a meal in the dining hall – creates a greater cultural and global awareness and helps prepare students for whatever life holds.

The UGA Alumni Association believes in the transformative power of international educational opportunities and is proud to support various study abroad scholarships across campus. Since 2006, it has have provided more than $50,000 in study abroad scholarships. Such funding has allowed students to study abroad in a varity of places, including Cortona, Costa Rica and Oxford.

Joey Sharp ’15 was recently profiled as a UGA Amazing Student, where he shared the lasting impact of his study abroad experience.

The summer after my sophomore year I received funding from the Honors International Scholarship Program and spent 12 weeks in Cape Town, South Africa, volunteering in a township clinic and conducting research on antiretroviral HIV treatment adherence. The work culminated in an article published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and, more importantly, the implementation of a more effective and efficient treatment program in the community. The experience confirmed my goal of pursuing an MD/MPH and a career in global health. – Joey Sharp ’15, UGA Amazing Student

Each year, nearly 6 percent of the UGA student population participates in a study abroad program, with an additional 150-200 students from other universities transient enrolling. These statistics testify to UGA’s reputation for providing high quality international academic experiences.

Click here to read more participation statistics from the Office of International Education.

Interested in supporting UGA study abroad programs and helping students like Joey Sharp? Click here.

Do you have a favorite memory from a UGA study abroad experience? We’d love to hear it! Email your story to Assistant Director of Communications Jamie Lewis (AB ’12, AB ’12) at ude.agu@siwelej.

From the Desk of Provost Whitten: Food for Thought

ProvostPamelaWhitten

This blog was sourced from Written by Whitten, Provost Whitten’s blog. Click here to read the original post. 

Food and food processing are big business in Georgia, so it should come as no surprise that the University of Georgia is using its expertise to strengthen one of the top growth industries in the state.

Recently, UGA broke ground on the UGA Griffin Food Technology Center, a state-of-the-art facility that will house the university’s Food Product Innovation and Commercialization (FoodPIC) Center. FoodPIC is a unit of the university’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences that assists new and existing companies in product development, packaging, food safety, consumer acceptance and marketing. It is staffed by faculty from the department of food science and technology, as well as research chefs from within the university and from private industry.

Food processing is the state’s leading manufacturing sector—with an estimated $3.5 billion in annual wages—and it is a rapidly growing industry. Over the past six years, 7,400 jobs in Georgia were created by new and expanding food processing companies, according to data from Georgia Power’s Community and Economic Development division. Large companies that have moved to Georgia or expanded their operations here include household names such as Kellogg’s and Starbucks, and FoodPIC has helped farmers and small companies produce niche products such as frozen desserts made from Georgia fruits as well as sauces and ethnic foods.

FoodPIC is the only project of its kind in the Southeast, and it is one of many examples of the role that UGA plays in economic development. The UGA Griffin Food Technology Center is strategically located just 30 miles south of the world’s busiest airport, and it will help attract food-related businesses to the nearby Lakes at Green Valley Industrial Park.

The entire campus community is grateful to Governor Nathan Deal, the General Assembly, University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby, the Board of Regents, the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority and the U.S. Economic Development Administration for their support and partnership on this important project.

UGA’s faculty in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have helped make Georgia the nation’s top state for blueberry production, and FoodPIC is putting Georgia on course to become a national leader in food processing.

UGA named ‘Best Place for Student Veterans’

UGA has been named to the “Military Times Best for Vets: College 2015” list just in time for Veterans Day.

One of only 140 colleges in the U.S. to have achieved this designation, UGA provides comprehensive service to military veterans during the admissions process and while they are enrolled at the university. The rankings are decided based on veteran students’ academic success, graduation rates and course completion rates.

UGA is also one of only a few schools that offers a Student Veterans Resource Center (SVRC). The SVRC was founded in 2013, and provides information about the university’s services for student veterans, advocacy and an on-campus location for student veterans to gather while studying or socializing. Earlier this fall, the SVRC received an $150,000 commitmentfrom the First Data Corporation to enhance the center’s programs and services for student veterans. On November 21, the SVRC will hold a dedication ceremony to unveil the newly named First Data Student Veterans Lounge. First Data’s Senior Vice President of Military and Veteran Affairs and member of the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors Vivian Greentree (ABJ ’00, AB ’01) was instrumental in securing the gift to the SVRC.

Additionally, the university maintains an active affiliation with both the Student Veterans of America and Got Your 6, a national campaign that encourages veterans to become leaders in their communities.

The UGA Alumni Association is grateful to the faculty, staff and student veterans who have served their country honorably. Happy Veterans Day to you all!