UGA Young Alumni Night at SweetWater: A timeline

There was excitement in the air. A sea of red and black. Loud voices Calling the Dawgs.

No, it wasn’t a fall Saturday in Athens. It was a hot summer evening in Atlanta. I was at my (ashamedly) very first UGA Young Alumni event. Three years post-graduation and I finally made it!

Here’s my night in review: 

5:05 p.m. Hit the road to Atlanta from Athens where I sing karaoke all the way down 316.

6:30 p.m. Take a power nap because I can’t hang like a college kid any more.

7:00 p.m. Put on my best red and black outfit.

7:30 p.m. Meet up with friends and fellow Dawgs — some of whom I hadn’t seen since English 1001.

8:30 p.m. Request my Uber to SweetWater.

8:31 p.m. Take an Uber selfie.

Uber Selfie
8:55 p.m. Arrive at SweetWater and stop by the registration table to check in. I pat myself on the back for registering early since tickets at the door were more expensive ;)

UGA Young Alumni Night at SweetWater

9:00 p.m. (okay, it was more like 8:56 p.m.) Grab my first beer. Cheers!

9:15 p.m. Catch up with a college friend who recently accepted a new job at Cox Enterprises.

9:30 p.m. Tour SweetWater’s newly renovated taproom and learn that there’s 24 (!) beers on tap. Time to try another!

9:45 p.m. The bartender pours my second local brew.

10:00 p.m. The band starts playing Backstreet Boys so I obviously hit the dance floor.

Atlanta Wedding Band

10:15 p.m. Indulge in some barbecue from SweetWater’s new in-house catering kitchen. It was delicious!

10:30 p.m. Lead a group in Calling the Dawgs! My bark still needs some work before football season begins.

10:45 p.m. Pose with friends and UGA props at the photobooth — no, I’m not sharing those photos.

11:00 p.m. I have another beer … or two.

12:00 p.m. Close down the joint and request another Uber because #responsible.

The Young Alumni Leadership Council meets regularly in Atlanta and hosts events and programs  like this throughout the year. Learn more about getting involved. 

And, be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s UGA Alumni Night at SweetWater. Not only is it an awesome night of reminiscing, drinks and dancing, but a portion of my ticket supported UGA scholarships so I also felt good about giving back to my favorite university.

Congratulations, 2019 40 Under 40!

40 Under 40 Logo

We’re proud to announce the 40 Under 40 Class of 2019 today! This program, in its ninth year, celebrates the achievements of successful UGA graduates under the age of 40–a set of alumni who are leading the pack in their industries and communities. These young leaders will be recognized during the ninth annual 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon Sept. 13 in the Tate Student Center on campus. If you’re interested, please join us for this special event.

Each Honoree Stands Out

The 2019 class includes a few names you might recognize:

  • Allison R. Schmitt, a gold medal-winning Olympic swimmer
  • Malcolm Mitchell, Super Bowl champion and children’s author
  • Will Carr, a correspondent for ABC News on a national level

But even if you don’t know the names of everyone on the list, you’ll still be impressed at the caliber of these graduates working in everything from law and politics, to health care, nonprofit and food and beverage. For example, Tim Fleming is Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s chief of staff and Catherine Marti is a cardiologist at Piedmont Heart Institute focused on heart failure and transplant cardiology.

“We are excited to unveil this year’s class of 40 Under 40 and welcome them back home to Athens for the awards luncheon in September,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of alumni relations. “I am always amazed by the excellence of our young alumni. These outstanding individuals exemplify leadership in their industries and communities.”

The Competition

Talk about a competitive selection process: nominations for 40 Under 40 were open from February to April, and more than 400 alumni were nominated for this year’s class. Honorees, of course, must have attended UGA and they have to uphold the Pillars of the Arch: wisdom, justice and moderation. Additional criteria are available on the 40 Under 40 webpage.

“The achievements of our nominated alumni each year make it hard to narrow down the list to just 40 honorees, and this year was no exception,” said Johnson. “We are proud of all of these outstanding young graduates. Their drive and focus inspires the UGA community.”

Ok, Ok, Show Me the List!

This year’s 40 Under 40 honorees, including their city, title and employer, are listed below in alphabetical order:

The Event

As we said earlier, if you’re interested in attending the 2019 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon in Athens on Friday, September 13, please register today! *If you’re an honoree, please use the registration link provided to you by the Alumni Relations team.

Five punny reasons you don’t want to miss UGA Young Alumni Night at SweetWater

We know you don’t really need an excuse to go to SweetWaterit kind of sells itself. But indulge us anyway. Here are five reasons missing this annual event would be un-beer-able:    

  1. Don’t worry, beer hoppy. What better way to spend a summer Friday than surrounded by fellow Bulldogs? Reminisce about sunny afternoons on north campus, be grateful you’re not spending your evening cramming in the MLC and count down the days until football season returns ( … it’ll be 64 from Young Alumni Night).

    UGA Young Alumni Night at SweetWater
  2. New taproom? Ale yeah! Did you know that SweetWater recently renovated and reopened its much-anticipated taproom? The new space allows for 24 different beers to be available on tap. Yeah, you read that right. 
  3. Hip hops. A local Atlanta band will be performing some of your favorite songs all night long. Pretend you’re back in Athens at the 40 Watt, Georgia Theatre or Hendershots.

    UGA Young Alumni Night at SweetWater
  4. Pitcher perfect. Take a selfie, pose with friends and make the perfect boomerang glass clink. Your Instagram feed will thank you.

    UGA Young Alumni Night at SweetWater
  5. You’re supporting students – thank brew very much! A portion of your ticket price will help fund UGA student scholarships.  

Bonus reason: FOOD.  

Let’s be honest – you don’t have anything planned for next Friday anyway. Grab a friend (or five), request an Uber/Lyft/Bird/Lime and we’ll see you there. Cheers! 

 June 28
9 p.m. to midnight 

First Father’s Day: sharing UGA and Athens with my son

Dear Son,

As Father’s Day approaches, and the reality sets in that I will get to celebrate this year with you, my son, I can’t help but think about how much I’m looking forward to introducing you to everything I love about UGA and Athens. Like…

Walking past the Arch and playing frisbee in the shady grass of North Campus.


Taking you to Sanford Stadium and putting you on my shoulders to see over the crowd to watch the Dawgs run out of the tunnel for the first time.


Tailgating with our family and friends all season long.

Smelling the nutty aroma of coffee and splitting Fruity Pebbles donuts at Ike and Jane.


Playing Connect Four and eating (too many) hot dogs at HiLo.


Ordering the Hermit Crab sandwich at Seabear. Because it’s on the secret menu and that makes me seem like a cool Dad.


Taking you downtown during Twilight to watch the bikes speed by.


Walking fairways at the UGA Golf Course, and teaching you how to stick an iron close.


Taking you to the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings to stand in the Farm Cart line to wait for the best biscuits in town.


Climbing the hill on Baxter to show you Russell Hall – where Dad lived his freshman year. Then over to Gran Ellen where I lived as a junior and senior, just down the street from our favorite spot, Memorial Park and Bear Hollow Zoo.

 

Thanks for making me a father, buddy. You’re a Damn Good Dawg (and son).

 

 

Love, Dad

Alex Bezila (BBA ’10)

Representatives Aaron Konnick, Samantha Green and Isobel Egbarin from UPS accept the UGA Top 25 Employer Award. (Photo credit: Justin Evans Photography)

UGA recognizes companies that hired the most grads

The UGA Career Center and our Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations honored the top 25 employers of the Class of 2018 on May 9 at the Buckhead Club in Atlanta. These employers hired 14% of Class of 2018 graduates who now have full-time jobs.

According to UGA’s Career Outcomes Survey, the top 25 employers hired 757 graduates from the Class of 2018.

The top 25 employers for the Class of 2018 (in alphabetical order) are:

Alight Solutions
Amazon
AT&T
Chick-fil-A
Deloitte
Delta Air Lines
Emory University
EY
Georgia-Pacific
IBM
Insight Global
KPMG US LLP
NCR Corporation
Newell Brands
Oracle Corporation
PricewaterhouseCoopers
State Farm
SunTrust Banks
Teach for America
The Home Depot
The Vanguard Group
The Walt Disney Company
United Parcel Service (UPS)
United States Army
University of Georgia

Delta Air Lines hired Sarah Wobrock, a 2018 Terry College of Business graduate. “I am thankful for the support I received at UGA and for Delta’s commitment to hire recent graduates,” Wobrock said. “Delta Air Lines has challenged my ability to think outside the box.”

Employers also benefit from the partnership between UGA and companies. Kevin Carmichael directs corporate university relations for NCR.

“This recognition allows us to strengthen our partnerships on campus, highlight our amazing university recruitment team and further show how new hires, community partners and customers are part of our company story.”

These companies hire UGA graduates because they know how well the university prepares students for their careers.

“My high school dream of working for Delta Air Lines was made possible by the UGA-sponsored opportunities outside of the classroom,” said Wobrock. “I was a member of the Institute for Leadership Advancement, where we practiced goal setting and studied leadership qualities. I was a regular attendee of the UGA career fairs, where I had practice crafting my resume and speaking with employers.”

Companies can post a job or internship, register for a career fair, or schedule campus interviews through HireUGA, reaching over 70,000 UGA alumni and current students. In addition, there are multiple other opportunities for partnering with UGA. Companies can fund scholarships or professorships and offer matching gift opportunities to their employees who donate to the university. These companies also offer internships and mentoring programs for students. Several companies even host UGA corporate alumni events.

Class of 2019 sets Senior Signature record

For the third year in a row, UGA’s graduating class has set a Senior Signature giving record.

Senior-Signature-Record-2540-Donors

2,540 graduating seniors collectively donated $127,000 to the university through this fundraising campaign spearheaded by the UGA Student Alumni Association. Each student donor’s name has been engraved on a plaque in Tate Plaza in honor of their commitment to UGA.

“I gave to the Senior Signature campaign because of those who have come before me and given, as well as for those who will come after me,” said Nash Davis, a member of the Class of 2019 and president of the Student Alumni Association. “Giving to UGA provides opportunities that I myself will never have the opportunity to gain anything from and I think that’s what makes giving so important.”

Senior Signature was established in 1991 with just several hundred donors in its first year. Since that time, over 35,000 students have donated more than $1.5 million to UGA through the program. Each year, graduating seniors are asked to “make their mark” on UGA by donating $50. Of that gift, $20 is directed to the Georga Fund and the other portion can be designated to a specific school, college, department, program, or scholarship that the donor wishes to support.

Join us in congratulating (and THANKING) the Class of 2019 for this record-breaking effort. RING THE BELL!

Megan Reeves (AB ’18) is working to preserve the future

We all have favorite destinations: the sunny Miami beaches, the picturesque Grand Teton Mountains, The Great American City of Chicago, charming Savannah and the buzzing Big Apple. We want to share these places we love with friends and family, and incorporating sustainability into our lives ensures we will always be able to do that.

Megan Reeves (AB ’18) grew up with Stone Mountain in her backyard. She and her family spent weekends hiking, visiting national parks, and enjoying the outdoors, all of which sparked an interest in sustainability. The value of sustainable practices solidified for Megan when, as a communication studies major, she worked towards earning the Certificate in Sustainability at the University of Georgia.

The Sustainability Certificate, created in 2016, was a response to requests by students for more sustainability education in the university’s curriculum. The program aligns with UGA’s 2020 Strategic Plan that declared leadership in sustainability research, education and service would become “hallmarks” of the university.

“The Certificate in Sustainability provides students with foundational knowledge and leadership skills to create systemic change, add value to businesses, and improve the world. Our students learn by doing: working in interdisciplinary teams to develop sustainable solutions to real-world challenges and community needs,” said Kevin Kirsche, director of the Office of Sustainability at the university.

Megan Reeves and colleagues

Left to right: Dr. Ron Balthazor, Megan Reeves, and Melissa Ray

In Megan’s opinion, the uniqueness of the Sustainability Certificate program comes from the diverse coursework and the differing educational backgrounds of students united by a common passion for sustainability. The interdisciplinary approach of the certificate, supported by 10 schools and colleges, provides a holistic education for students, who take courses in three spheres of sustainability—ecological, economic and social—taught in an array of departments. At the program’s conclusion, students complete hands-on capstone projects that tackle a variety of sustainability challenges.

Megan has had the privilege of watching the program flourish from the first small cohort of 20 students to 160 current students. The program opened many doors for Megan. The most influential experience Megan had during the program was working as the Sustainability Certificate Intern alongside Dr. Ron Balthazor and Melissa Ray, both of whom oversee the program. During the internship, Megan met with a wide variety of students, spreading the word on the new program, and she worked alongside people she calls “the most uplifting and outstanding individuals.”

Dr. Balthazor says Megan “embodies the very best of what we hope for in students in the Sustainability Certificate program.”

“Like so many of our students, she sees the challenges we face with clear eyes and diligently and enthusiastically works toward solutions,” said Dr. Balthazor. “Her interesting mix of sustainability-focused course work and her experience in internships and our capstone project all give her perspectives and skills that she brings to her ongoing work in sustainability.

“She is, in every way, an inspiration to me, and I know she will accomplish so many good things. She gives me great hope.”

Today, Megan works on the Recycling and Waste Division team at Cox Conserves. This branch of Cox Enterprises focuses on enhancing sustainability within all extensions of Cox and the communities they serve. The division, launched in 2007, has ambitious goals, including being zero-waste-to-landfill by 2024 and carbon- and water-neutral by 2044. Megan believes her time in the Sustainability Certificate program prepared her to be successful at Cox Conserves.

Megan and Hairy Dawg

Megan and Hairy Dawg pose for a photo on North Campus.

Dr. Balthazor and Melissa remind their Sustainability Certificate students to “remember the why” behind sustainability: people. As a part of the sustainability industry, Megan now sees the value of this wisdom. It’s easy to get caught up in debates around sustainability, but we must remember the end goal: preserving the places we love for the people we love.

Because of her experience in the Sustainability Certificate program, Megan has two pieces of advice to others hoping to follow a similar path. The first: don’t be afraid to pick people’s brains, because doors will open when you ask questions and show your curiosity. The second: always go back to the “why.”

If you are interested in giving to advance sustainability initiatives at the University of Georgia, please demonstrate your commitment to Sustainable UGA.

Young Alumni Profile: Alexandra Edquist (AB ’16, MA ’16)

Alexandra Edquist (AB ’16, MA ’16) may have been born in San Francisco, but she calls Georgia home. The alumna is a business analyst for McKinsey & Company. 

Where are you from and where did you grow up?
I was born in San Francisco, but moved to Alpharetta, Georgia, when I was 3 years old. I grew up in Georgia, and it’s the only place I remember.

What made you decide to attend UGA?
I wanted to go to a big school with lots of opportunities, a good football program, and (most importantly) no snow, so UGA was always high on my list. I was lucky enough to receive the Foundation Fellowship, which sealed the deal on my UGA selection.

What were your majors/minors at UGA?
I did a four-year combined bachelor’s + master’s program in economics. It’s awesome that UGA offers so many combined programs.

What activities were you involved in at UGA?
I was most heavily involved in the Roosevelt Institute, which is UGA’s on-campus think tank. I was also involved in several other political organizations (Georgia Political Review and a few now-defunct groups) and Terry organizations (Corsair Society, Deer Run, Women in Finance). I was also a CURO research assistant and a graduate teaching assistant.

What was your most memorable college experience?
I’m a football nut, so I’m going to take advantage of this question to talk about my second-favorite UGA football game: the 2013 LSU game. A half-dozen friends, myself, and our signs (several of which were confiscated) joined the 5 a.m. stampede for ESPN College GameDay on Myers Quad, then proceeded to the best home game of my college experience.

What was your favorite UGA football game that you’ve attended?
The Rose Bowl last year! My dad and I have been going to the bowl games together since I was a freshman. Each year, we get front row seats, paint our faces, make signs, and try to get on TV (we’re usually successful). That was hands-down the best football game I’ve ever seen, and to be able to go in-person, with family and friends, to witness UGA’s first playoff win probably made it the best day of my life.

What have you done since you’ve graduated?
I spent two years as a business analyst at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company getting an amazing real-world education and serving our federal government and tech clients on a variety of topics (and trying to recruit more Bulldogs to the office!). This year, I’m doing a secondment from McKinsey with the Atlanta Committee for Progress to manage an exciting workforce development initiative led by the mayor, several CEOs of Atlanta’s biggest companies, and Atlanta Technical College.

What are you most passionate about?
Improving the effectiveness of government institutions and their “customer service” to taxpayers (yes, I know it may seem like a boring passion).

What advice would you give to graduating seniors and recent graduates?
Networking never stops, even after you get your first job. Always, always, always work on building and strengthening your network.

Young Alumni Profile: Taylor Schachinger (BS ’10, MBA ’16)

Taylor Schachinger (BS ’10, MBA ’16) was the first person in his family to earn a degree from a four-year school. Now, he works as the lead manager for interconnection agreements at AT&T. In this role, he handles business case development to guide rural network strategy. He also negotiates roaming contracts for AT&T’s FirstNet network build.

Where are you from and where did you grow up?
This is always a tough question for me to answer succinctly. I was born in New York and spent the majority of my childhood there, with a short stint in Nashville, Tennessee. In middle school my family moved to Connecticut, where my family lives now. I’ve lived here in Georgia for the past 12 years.

What made you decide to come to school at the UGA? 
Finding a way to pay for school was a huge focus for me as I compared my college options. I saw UGA as an incredible value, and was fortunate enough to establish residency and earn a H.O.P.E. scholarship even though I started as an out of state student.

What was your major(s) and minor(s) at UGA?
My undergraduate major was Health Promotion (my original plan was to go to PA school), and my graduate concentration was finance.

What activities were you involved in at UGA?
In business school I served as co-president of the Graduate Business Association and I was also a member of Leadership Fellows.

What was your most memorable college experience?
At the risk of sounding cliché, my graduation day was pretty special. I was the first person in my family to earn a degree from a four-year school so that was pretty special.

Taylor and familyYou met your wife at UGA – how did that occur?
We actually “met” prior to that, my wife is originally from New Jersey and we went to the same church camp growing up. We reconnected at a friend’s birthday party in college and the rest is history. I’m blessed to be married to a diehard Dawg – she completely blocks off the calendar on fall Saturdays. We don’t ever fight about watching too much football.

What was your favorite UGA football game that you’ve attended? Why?
I don’t think I would have said this about 9 months ago, but the National Championship last January was such an incredible experience. Even though it ended in heartbreak, it was the most amazing game I’ve ever seen in person.

What have you done since you’ve graduated?
When I graduated from business school I started in AT&T’s Leadership Development Program, a rotational program for MBA graduates. My first rotation within the program was managing network construction in Northwest Georgia. In my current role, I do business case development to guide our rural network strategy, which helps AT&T decide where to build out our wireless network vs. where to “rent” capacity. I also negotiate roaming contracts for AT&T’s FirstNet network build.

What are you most passionate about?
I really love working with kids. In college I spent several summers as a counselor for 9-10 year olds at a church camp. Currently, I volunteer at our local Boys and Girls Club and teach in the children’s ministry at our church. Those are two of the highlights of my week.

What makes you unique from other UGA grads?
I paid for my own education, that’s something that I’m really proud of.

What advice would you give to graduating seniors and recent graduates?
Fight the urge to prove how much you think you know, especially when beginning a new role. I think humility establishes trust and credibility in ways that overconfidence cant. Also, manically manage your time.

What do you want to achieve in life?
I want to help others develop a bigger vision for their life then they might be able to on their own. I know I’ve benefited greatly from people who believed in me and encouraged me to pursue dreams that I may not have without their faith in me.

Anything else that you would like to tell the UGA community?
Go Dawgs!

Will you take the #CalltheDawgs Challenge?

Calling the Dawgs is one of the ultimate traditions that unifies Bulldogs all over the world. This chant is most commonly recited in unison at football games, but most recently proud alumni have been calling the Dawgs in a crowded Times Square, outside Windsor Castle, at the College Football Hall of Fame and on the beaches of Amelia Island.

Why? These alumni are participating in the Young Alumni Leadership Council’s challenge to the entire Bulldog family to support the causes they are most passionate about. The #CalltheDawgs challenge is simple: donate to a cause that you care about, call the Dawgs in creative and fun way and then challenge your friends to do the same. Even if you can’t donate, you can still demonstrate your Bulldog pride by recording yourself calling the Dawgs and challenge others to join you.

Aaron Murray (BS ’12) and Drew Butler (ABJ ’11), co-hosts of Punt and Pass podcast called the Dawgs at Atlanta’s College Football Hall of Fame (above) where they donated to the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

TJ Callaway (BBA ’07), founder and CEO of Onward Reserve, found space in a crowded Times Square to call the Dawgs.


Caleb Nicholson (BSED ’09), President of the Young Alumni Council, called the Dawgs in front of Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, and also chose to give to the Let the Big Dawgs Eat fund dedicated to eliminating student food insecurity.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bmb3vUVlEzk/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

Will you join these alumni and take the #CalltheDawgs challenge?

You know the drill. GOOOOOOOOO DAWGS, SIC ‘EM, WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF!

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As a University of Georgia Triple Dawg and a member of the UGA Alumni Association's Young Alumni Leadership Council, I’m participating in the Call the Dawgs Challenge! I give to the Black Alumni Scholarship Endowment because in 1961 Hamilton E. Holmes and Charlayne Hunter-Gault paved the way for me. I am passionate about helping to provide resources for African-American students to attend my beloved alma mater. There are so many causes that you can give to and ways to further the mission of UGA. What's your passion? Every donation matters no matter how big or small. I’m challenging Cara Turano Snow, Carla C. Smith, Maranie Brown and other alums, fans, and friends to show their UGA spirit and Call the Dawgs! You’re up next! GOOOO DAWGS! #CalltheDawgs #GoDawgs #AlwaysADawg #RedAndBlack #UGA  Donate ➡️ https://gail.uga.edu/callthedawgs

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