What do you really know about bats?

Duh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh BAT … WEEK! Not what you were expecting? Neither was I until the Odum School of Ecology launched their Bulldogs for Bats campaign. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about bats that has completely reshaped my opinion. Much like the beloved DC Comics superhero who saves Gotham, bats are saving local ecosystems in the night and are often misunderstood. From Australia to right here in Athens, Georgia, bats serve as natural pest control and are essential pollinators of many plants.

So what’s Bat Week, you ask? It’s an international, annual celebration designed to raise awareness about the need for bat conservation. And it starts today! Did you know bats face risk of disease, habitat loss, pesticide use and wind energy, just to name a few? Diminishing numbers of bats pose a threat not only to the functioning of healthy ecosystems, but also to human well-being. Insect-eating bats, including the 16 species found in Georgia, save the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion a year in pest control costs and crop damage. Bats also help control mosquito populations and may reduce the risk of emerging diseases, such as West Nile Virus, in the Southeast. This week, we’re spreading awareness about the vital role bats play, and how you can help save them.

Bulldogs for Bats is a campaign that’s been running the entire month of October to raise support for bat conservation efforts. All funds donated will provide local bats with a safe, sustainable environment while enhancing student learning and research opportunities. While many of our graduate students have conducted fieldwork research abroad, building bat houses in the community will provide students more chances for experiential learning and hands-on research right in our backyard.

So when you see some of these so-called “spooky” creatures on Halloween, think of the difference they’re making in our environment. And please consider saving the bats—what better time than during Bat Week?

The Jerry Tanner Show, Episode 7 – Kentucky

Welp.

Jerry looks at last weekend’s debacle, then previews this Saturday, when the Dawgs will try to pick up the pieces against Kentucky.

Register for Cookies & Cocoa with Hairy Dawg by going to alumni.uga.edu/women and clicking on the event link.

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

Jack

John “Jack” C. Sawyer (BBA ’78): An (Irish) Bulldog

John “Jack” C. Sawyer is a Georgia Bulldog who finds himself in an interesting situation this week: his alma maters will battle it out between the hedges on Saturday in one of the most highly anticipated games of the college football season.

On Becoming a Georgia Bulldog

Jack’s father was a U.S. Marine Corps officer, so his family moved a few times, eventually settling in Lilburn, Georgia. In high school, Jack learned that UGA had a fantastic accounting program, which combined with the more affordable in-state tuition rates, sold him on becoming a Georgia Bulldog.

FUN FACT: The J. M. Tull School of Accounting in UGA’s Terry College of Business is ranked No. 13 (8th among public schools) by U.S. News & World Report.

At UGA, the accounting major had countless great memories as an undergraduate. He especially cherished his time with his hall-mates in Russell Hall 6 West, noting that they were “a great bunch of men, both then and now.”

FUN FACT: Russell Hall was rededicated in 2018 after a 15-month renovation and has earned multiple awards including the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s “Excellence in Sustainable Preservation.”

His Path Since UGA

Jack graduated with his Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting in 1978. He visited the University of Notre Dame Law School and knew that’s where he wanted to spend the next three years.

FUN FACT: The University of Notre Dame Law School, founded in 1869, is the oldest Roman Catholic law school in the United States.

He was newly married when he began his law school journey, so he notes that his lifestyle was much different from his undergraduate years in Athens. He also was shocked in November when South Bend received eight inches of snow one evening … and classes weren’t canceled the next day!

After graduating from Notre Dame, Jack followed in his father’s footsteps by joining the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as a judge advocate for nearly five years. The Judge Advocate Division operates like a large law firm and includes more than 400 judge advocates and a comparable support staff. Judge advocates often serve as prosecutors or the defense counsel in military courts-martial and they advise Marines on legal issues.

After that, he returned to the Atlanta area and began private practice with a smaller law firm before joining Alston & Bird, where he worked for approximately 27 years. Two years ago, he left Alston & Bird and joined Taylor English Duma, LLP.

FUN FACT: The University of Georgia School of Law boasts a global network of 10,500+ living alumni who work in all 50 states and approximately 70 countries.

 What He Does Now

Jack resides in Gainesville, Georgia, with his wife, Debbie. In his role at Taylor English Duma, Jack serves his clients in a variety of ways, most frequently relating to taxes. His practice includes estate planning and administration, asset protection planning, tax-exempt organizations, conservation easements, and tax and fiduciary litigation/alternate dispute resolution.

FUN FACT: The Sawyers live on land that has been in Debbie’s family for approximately 100 years.

Jack has spoken at UGA-sponsored conferences, assisted with fundraising efforts, and, of course, has attended home football games. As a graduate of both UGA and Notre Dame, he says that both alumni bases are extremely passionate about their schools and their teams, which probably means that we can expect to see a few Fighting Irish in Athens this weekend. He appreciates the top-notch education he received at both schools, and the great time he enjoyed on each campus. He’s especially appreciative of the more affordable education he received at UGA since it made it financially possible for him to attend law school later. He added, “I believe the UGA value proposition is even greater today.”

Jack

Jack enjoys spending time with his family.

His Call for Saturday’s Game

“I believe the Dawgs at home will be too much for the Irish to handle.”

FUN FACT: We (no surprise) agree with Jack. Go Dawgs!

It’s National Simplicity Day!

On National Simplicity Day, we thought it was appropriate to keep things … well … simple. So here it is:

Georgia Bulldogs Uga GIF by University of Georgia - Find & Share on GIPHY

Proudly announcing our new board president and members

On July 1, our 76th UGA Alumni Association president, Brian Dill (AB ’94, MBA ’19), and seven members began their terms on the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors. We’re excited to introduce you to these outstanding alumni and look forward to working with them over the next few years.

Brian has served on our board of directors since 2007 and will serve as president for two years. He succeeds Bonney Shuman (BBA ’80), whose term concluded June 30.

Brian is the vice president of external affairs for Tanner Health System and the executive director of the Tanner Foundation in Carrollton, Georgia. He has spent 17 years in corporate and industrial business development and recruitment as an economic development executive in several Georgia communities as well as the COO for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Prior to that, he served as a federal and state lobbyist for the Georgia Farm Bureau.

“Brian has been an especially valued member of our board for a number of years,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00, MED ’16), executive director of alumni relations. “He has been a strong servant leader among this group of passionate alumni, helping to guide our strategic direction and offering to lend a hand whenever he can. A truly loyal Bulldog—with the passion to match!”

Brian is a native of Irwin County, Georgia. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and was a member of the Redcoat Band. This year, he earned a Master of Business Administration from the Terry College of Business. His wife, Carmen, is a 1995 UGA graduate and a teacher at Carrollton High School. The couple resides in Carrollton with their son, Mason.

The alumni who joined Brian on the board on July 1 include:

Anne Beckwith Headshot

Anne Beckwith (BBA ’90)

Title/Employer: Retired / Community Volunteer
City: Atlanta, Georgia
UGA Involvement: Gamma Phi Beta House Corp; UGA Alumni Association Women of UGA Leadership Council
Favorite UGA Memory: I met my husband at a party in my own apartment. He was looking for beer, not his future wife …
UGA in Three Words: Home | Transformational | Dynamic
Favorite Athens Eatery: The National
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Jason Huggins (BBA ’95) – faces challenges with humor and resilience and cares deeply about everyone he meets


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Travis Bryant (BBA ’99)

Title/Employer: President and CEO, Coastal Plywood Company
City: Tallahassee, Florida


TJ Callaway Headshot

T.J. Callaway (BBA ’07)

Title/Employer: Founder and CEO, Onward Reserve
City: Atlanta, GA
UGA Involvement: Terry College Young Alumni Board; UGA Alumni Association Young Alumni Council; speaks to students in ILA, fashion merchandising and Entrepreneurship Program; apparel provider for the Magill Society; student mentor; Dinner with a Dozen Dawgs host; 2018 Terry Young Alumni of the Year; UGA 40 Under 40 Class of 2012; 5-time Bulldog 100 business
Favorite UGA Memory: Taking my daughter onto the field in Sanford Stadium before a game in 2018.
UGA in Three Words: World Class Institution
Favorite Athens Eatery: Last Resort
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Terry Brown (BBA ’84) – my first investor and a steadfast mentor and friend


Brian Dill Headshot

Brian Dill (AB ’94, MBA ’19)

Title/Employer: Vice President-External Affairs, Tanner Health System / Executive Director, Tanner Foundation
City: Carrollton, Georgia
UGA Involvement: UGA Alumni Association chapter leader; Freshman Send-Offs; class speaker; SPIA supporter; Redcoat Band alumni events; student mentor
Favorite UGA Memory: My first football game as a Redcoat; it was a night game against LSU in Baton Rouge!
UGA in Three Words: Tradition | Excellence | Class
Favorite Athens Eatery: Peking Chinese Restaurant
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Carmen Dill (BSFCS ’95) – my wife; her ‘service above self’ attitude drives me to give back to the next generation of alumni!


Cathy Fish Headshot

Cathy Fish (BSA ’93, DVM ’96)

Title/Employer: Associate Veterinarian, Georgia Veterinary Associates
City: Flowery Brand, Georgia
UGA Involvement: Georgia football fan; UGA Alumni Weekend attendee
Favorite UGA Memory: Sharing my love for UGA with my children.
UGA in Three Words: Inclusive | Amazing | Life-changing
Favorite Athens Eatery: Guthrie’s
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Malcolm Mitchell (AB ’15) – a great inspiration!


Kevin A. Gooch Headshot

Kevin A. Gooch (JD ’04)

Title/Employer: Partner-Finance Group, DLA Piper LLP (US)
City: Atlanta, Georgia
UGA Involvement: Georgia Law Board of Visitors (2005-2008); Transactional Law Curriculum Committee (2008-2010); student mentor; UGA Alumni Association 40 Under 40 Class of 2015
Favorite UGA Memory: Walking onto North Campus, past Herty Fountain, and crossing the quad for the first time to enter into a law school that has produced some of the best and brightest legal minds in our state and country.
UGA in Three Words: Wisdom | Justice | Connectivity
Favorite Athens Eatery: Inoko Express
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Chester Davenport (LLB ’66), Sharon Nyota Tucker (JD ’74), Justice Robert Benham (JD ’70), Judge Horace Johnson (JD ’82)


Camille Kesler Headshot

Camille Kesler (BSFCS ’94)

Title/Employer: Executive Director, Rebuilding Together Atlanta // Owner, Smallcakes Cupcakery in North Druid Hills
City: Atlanta, Georgia
UGA Involvement: UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences Alumni Board of Directors (2014-2018); 2013 FACS Outstanding Service Award; UGA Alumni Association 40 Under 40 Class of 2012
Favorite UGA Memory: Attending the Pearl Jam concert at Legion Field. It was my first-ever concert!
UGA in Three Words: Tradition | Family | Connecting
Favorite Athens Eatery: Guthrie’s
UGA Grad Who Inspires You: Mary Frances Early (MMED ’62, EDS ’71)


Mark Mahoney Headshot 1

Mark Mahoney

Title/Employer: Co-founder, Jackrabbit Technologies
City: Cornelius, North Carolina
UGA Involvement: Multi-year Bulldog 100 business; inaugural recipient of the Michael J. Bryan Award


The UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors works with Alumni Association and campus staff to promote, support and advance the programs and services that are offered by the UGA Alumni Association to the university community, especially the more than 324,000 living alumni around the world.

“These new board members represent a variety of alumni experiences at the University of Georgia,” said Johnson. “Their advice and perspectives are invaluable for my team as we work to engage alumni in meaningful ways.”

To view the full list of UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors, visit alumni.uga.edu/board-of-directors.

Don’t miss Peabody’s ‘Stories of the Year’

What are the Peabody Awards?

The Peabody Awards are a true gem in the University of Georgia’s crown. For those who don’t know what the Peabody Awards are, let me get you up to speed:

The National Association of Broadcasters formed a committee in the 1930s to establish a prestigious award similar to the Pulitzer Prize for excellence in broadcasting. Lambdin Kay, manager of WSB Radio in Atlanta, asked John Drewry, dean of the Grady School of Journalism, to sponsor the award, upon the recommendation of Lessie Smithgall, a graduate who worked at the station.

The committee named the award posthumously for George Foster Peabody, a Georgia native and successful investment banker whose philanthropic interests included the university. The first awards were issued in 1941. The Peabody Awards now include a wide range of broadcasting—from TV and blogs to cable to streaming network programs and websites. As the platforms for storytelling multiply, the Peabody Awards will continue to evolve, highlighting Stories That Matter across media.

So now you know and can share that with your friends and family when you’re enjoying programs like

Or when you’re adding any of Zach Armstrong’s watch list recommendations from this past May.

Peabody Awards App for iOS

The Peabody Awards App for iOS is available. It was developed in collaboration with the New Media Institute in UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. In addition to feature articles and videos from the Peabody Digital Network, users can explore recent winners and pick favorite programs to watch now or later.

 

“Peabody Presents: Stories of the Year” on FX

If you weren’t able to attend the 78th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony in New York City (don’t worry, I didn’t make the invite list, either), you can still get a closer look at recent winners and how they are address pressing social issues and share Stories That Matter.

That’s because Peabody and FX have partnered to create a documentary-style TV special, Peabody Presents: Stories of the Year, which will air at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 7.

It will showcase award-winning programming that features diverse narratives tackling important issues. The program will intertwine conversations about race, the LGBTQ experience, the impact of the #MeToo movement and journalistic integrity with footage from this year’s awards ceremony that was held in May.

Hasan Minhaj, a two-time Peabody Award-winner, will moderate an intimate discussion among fellow storytellers representing programs released in 2018 to receive a Peabody Award:

  • Steven Canals, co-creator, executive producer and writer of the FX series Pose;
  • Paula Lavigne, ESPN investigative reporter for “Spartan Silence: Crisis at Michigan State”;
  • Terence Nance, filmmaker and creator of Random Acts of Flyness on HBO; and
  • Tracy Heather Strain, director/writer of the PBS/WNET documentary Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart.

We hope you’ll tune in and join us in celebrating UGA’s role in this important awards program.

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.

Why give to UGA?

At the University of Georgia, giving is a treasured tradition. Since 2014, donors have given over $18 million each year through regular annual giving.

Greater financial support from alumni affects national recognition and college rankings. By giving to your alma mater, you’re investing in the value of your degree.

Be part of the legacy. Each year, more than 50,000 alumni and friends give to increase access for students, enhance the learning environment and fund world-changing research and service. No matter the amount, every gift matters.

Give by June 30 to ensure you are a 2019 donor. Donors will receive a 2019 UGA Donor window decal and a subscription to Georgia Magazine.

Endowment honors UGA Press Advisory Council member Peggy Heard Galis (AB ’68)

Peggy Heard Galis

The Peggy Heard Galis History Ph.D. Apprenticeship will allow history Ph.D. candidates to gain insight into and experience in the scholarly publishing process.

The University of Georgia Press created an endowment to fund a publishing apprenticeship program for students from UGA’s graduate history program. The Peggy Heard Galis History Ph.D. Apprenticeship will allow history Ph.D. candidates to gain insight into and experience in the scholarly publishing process.

A giving campaign organized by the UGA Press funded the endowment. UGA Press Advisory Council member Charley Tarver made the lead gift and served as the fundraising chairperson, while Lucy Allen served as the fundraising co-chair and helped connect local and out-of-state contributors with the endowment. Because of Tarver and Allen’s efforts, the campaign received nationwide donations now totaling over $100,000.

The endowment honors Galis for her many years of service to the press, the history department, and UGA. A resident of Athens, Galis and her husband Denny Galis are both graduates of UGA. She is a founding member and current vice chair of the UGA Press Advisory Council. She has long been actively involved in community, cultural and educational organizations, including the Clarke County School District, the Georgia Museum of Art, the Athens Clarke Heritage Foundation, the Southern Historical Association and the Southern Foodways Alliance.

“Peggy Galis is a human super-connector. We are thrilled to announce this teaching and learning program that honors her intellectual curiosity, her love of history and books, embodied in her deep commitment to UGA students and the UGA Press,” said UGA Press Director Lisa Bayer.

The Peggy Heard Galis apprentices will be Ph.D. students in the UGA history department. The apprentices will receive an in-depth introduction to university-press publishing and participate in the process by which scholarly books are acquired, peer reviewed, developed, edited and approved for publication. In addition, they will learn how to communicate professionally with various parties in the industry, juggle multiple tasks at once and manage a project’s status long-term.

“Peggy Galis is the history graduate program’s secret weapon. She fundraises, hosts and promotes events, and asks astute questions of every speaker who darkens our door. Peggy is a PR department, development office, and Ph.D. dissertation committee rolled into one,” said Cindy Hahamovitch, B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor of History at UGA. “How perfect is it that an apprenticeship designed to teach history graduate students how publishing works will be named in Peggy’s honor?”

Apprenticeships like these enhance the UGA learning environment, a primary goal of the Commit to Georgia Campaign. With over $1.2 billion raised, the campaign has already transformed UGA by way of new scholarships, learning opportunities, facilities and more. To find out how to help build on the campaign’s success in its final year, visit give.uga.edu.

2019 Alumni Weekend earned an A+

The 2019 Alumni Weekend earned an A+ in my book. I might be slightly biased since I helped plan the event, but I think this video will prove my point:

If you weren’t able to attend, I’m happy to provide you with a quick “report” on how things went … ultimately to create a little FOMO so you’ll be sure to mark your calendar for next year (hint-hint: March 26-28, 2020).

THURSDAY

100+ alumni and friends gathered in the Stelling Family Study in Moore-Rooker Hall, one of the newest buildings in the Terry College Business Learning Community. It’s a beautiful space, made even lovelier by the UGA Alumni Association events team (and yes, the tables were named for places on campus):

Kessel-Family-Study

Orientation-Dinner-Table

Folks grabbed their swag backpacks and a T-shirt (shown here on a few of the staffers who made Alumni Weekend come to life):

Alumni-Weekend-Staff

Look at all those goodies packed inside that backpack!

Backpack-Swag

During dinner, we heard from UGA President Jere W. Morehead (JD ’80):

Jere-Morehead-Orientation-Dinner

We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions, like “What are you most proud of since you became president?” and “What is your favorite movie?” I think he enjoyed that last one:

Jere-Morehead-Orientation-Dinner-2

People were enthralled and impressed by how much is happening at UGA these days …

Orientation-Dinner-Attendee

Orientation-Dinner-Attendee-2

Including Matthew Auer, dean of the School of Public and International Affairs:

Dean-Auer

Yes, even yours truly:

Elizabeth-Elmore-Orientation-Dinner

Then, we closed out the evening and headed home to get a good night’s rest before class the next morning …… PSYCH.

What’s a trip back to Athens without seeing a little music in the best college music town in America?

GATH-Marquee

Yacht-Rock-on-Stage

Group-at-Yacht-Rock

FRIDAY

On Friday, we greeted the day at Bolton Dining Commons. This isn’t the Bolton of yesteryear; this is a new space that is straight out of a Harry Potter movie. Seriously:

Bolton-Dining-Commons

Credit: Bruner/Cott Architects

And yes, students can have Super G waffles at the 24-hour breakfast station. #jealousy

G-Waffle-Bolton-Dining-Commons

Lots of attendees met their Alumni Weekend “classmates” during these meals. Just imagine the memories they are exchanging from their time on campus:

Bolton-Dining-Commons-Chat

Then it was off to first period – we served up classes taught by three incredible faculty members.

Gary T. Green, assistant dean of academic affairs and professor in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, who taught “Challenges Facing Resource Management: Implications from a Changing Society.”

Gary-Green-Teaching

Maria Navarro, professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, who taught “Hunger Who? An Introduction to Global Food Insecurity.”

Maria-Navarro-Teaching

Jenna R. Jambeck, associate professor in the College of Engineering, who taught “Marine Debris from Land to Sea.”

Jenna-Jambeck-Teaching

During second period, classes included: “Fairy Tales: An Examination of Hidden and Gendered Messages” by Juanita Johnson-Bailey, director of the Institute for Women’s Studies.

Juanita-Johnson-Bailey-Teaching

“Bombs, Bugs, Drugs and Thugs: The United States in a Hostile World” by Loch K. Johnson, Regents Professor of Public and International Affairs.

Loch-Johnson-Teaching

… and an encore of “Challenges Facing Resources Management – Implications for a Changing Society” by Gary Green.

With all that learning, it was time for another meal break at Bolton:

Realenn-Watters-Bolton-Dining-Commons-Lunch

Gentleman-at-Bolton-Lunch

Pair-at-Bolton-for-LunchAnd then one more class period for the day that featured:

  • “From Babe Ruth to LeBron James: How Changes in Media Shape Perspectives on Sports Heroes” by Vicki Michaelis, the John Huland Carmical Chair in Sports Journalism & Society
  • “What About Small Town? Solving Rural Housing Problems When Everyone is Thinking About Cities” with Kim Skobba, the director of UGA’s Housing and Demographics Research Center.
  • and an encore of Maria Navarro’s “Hunger Who? An Introduction into Global Food Insecurity.”

Then, just like any Friday for a student – classes ended and we left the Miller Learning Center to begin our weekend. After a little free time, we reconvened at Wall & Broad in downtown Athens. This event space is run by UGA alumni and the food is catered by LRG Provisions, the sister restaurant of Last Resort Grill, another mainstay on the Athens food scene. It was a beautiful space:

Wall-Broad-Decor

And the mixing and mingling was in full swing:

Wall-Broad-Mingling

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Look – even Professor Skobba joined in the fun!

Kim-Skobba-Wall-and-Broad

At 6:30, the reception concluded and folks headed to the Classic Center just a few blocks away for the TEDxUGA, a celebration of “ideas worth spreading.” This event is spearheaded by UGA’s New Media Institute and features student, alumni and faculty speakers. Interested in who was in the lineup this year – check it out.

TEDxUGA-Decor

I was inspired by all of the speakers, but particularly enjoyed hearing from Ansley Booker (MS ’13), the interim director for Mercer University’s Educational Opportunity Center (and a member of the UGA Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Leadership Council). Her TED Talk made me want to go out and recruit every young girl in America to enter a STEM field.

Malcolm Mitchell (AB ’15), is a former UGA football standout who went on to be a Super Bowl Champion as a wide receiver for the New England Patriots. He also is the author of a children’s book, The Magician’s Hat, and is passionate about youth literacy. His TED Talk emphasized the power of overcoming obstacles and while he announced his official retirement from professional football during his talk, he cited that he’s ready for what’s next.

TEDxUGA-Malcolm-Mitchell

And I also was inspired by A.C. Williams, a third-year student studying management information systems and international business. As an experienced event director in the Esports world, he opened my eyes to the community that is thriving around gaming.

And after a long day of class and TEDxUGA inspiration, Alumni Weekend participants headed back to their hotels and homes for the night.

SATURDAY

On Saturday, we enjoyed a brunch in the Sanford Stadium SkyClub. The weather was beautiful and everyone was in high spirits!

Brunch-Group-Mingling

Brunch-Pair

Look! Even Professor Navarro joined us:

Maria-Navarro-Brunch

Student Alumni Council President Nash Davis ’19 welcomed attendees to the “Commencement Brunch” and everyone laughed when he officially conferred their Alumni Weekend degrees on them.

Nash-Davis-Brunch

Brunch-Group-Stands

Then it was off to grab some grub and take pictures in the photo booth:

Brunch-Line

Brunch-PhotoBooth

A special guest even joined us for this special occasion:

Brunch-PhotoBooth-Glory-Glory

Brunch-PhotoBooth-Hairy-Dawg

Brunch-with-Hairy-Dawg

Brunch-with-Hairy-Dawg-Pal

And then Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00, MED ’16), executive director of the UGA Alumni Association, closed out the brunch with a few remarks and a toast to a great weekend:

Brunch-Meredith-and-Hairy

Brunch-Group-Toast

While this was technically the “end” of Alumni Weekend, we lined up a few optional activities that everyone could attend on their own. Those events included a UGA baseball game vs. LSU, a “One Man Star Wars Trilogy” performance, an exhibit at the UGA Special Collections Libraries, and a private tour of the Georgia Museum of Art with GMOA Director Bill Eiland.

Baseball-Game-Hairy-Dawg

Some attendees participated in a tour of the newly renovated West End Zone of Sanford Stadium led by Colby DeCesare, a graduate assistant with the UGA Athletic Association:

West-End-Zone-Tour

West-End-Zone-Tour-Locker-Room

Savage-Pads-Pose

Sanford-Stadium-Group-Pic-on-Field

IN SUMMARY

It was truly a great weekend that made me proud of my alma mater and reminded me why I love this place so much.

My key takeaways include:

  • Our president LOVES this place – he attended school here, has been on the faculty since 1986, is passionate about changing lives through education, and is dreaming big about the impact UGA can have on the state and beyond.
  • I miss the dining halls – adult life has its pros, but cooking all your own meals is not one of them.
  • Our faculty are ROCKSTARS – why did I not go to every single office hour that was offered by my professors? They are inspiring, committed and are changing the world!
  • Nothing beats a Saturday between the hedges – whether it’s during football season or during a special event like Alumni Weekend, there’s just a good feeling emanating from that field.
  • OUR ALUMNI ARE THE BEST IN THE WORLD – I enjoyed meeting new alumni throughout the weekend (and reconnecting with old friends, too). We’re so diverse, passionate and very much in love with this school. It makes me proud to call myself a Georgia Bulldog.

As we learned in college, every good “report” closes with a summary statement. I’d have to say that my summary is simple: The 2019 Alumni Weekend was one of the best alumni events I have been able to help plan and I can’t wait for our alumni to see what we have in store for March 26-28, 2020. See you then! GO DAWGS.