It’s National Simplicity Day!

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

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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


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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!


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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)


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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)


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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

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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?

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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:

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Look – even Professor Skobba joined in the fun!

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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

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

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A special guest even joined us for this special occasion:

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Brunch-PhotoBooth-Hairy-Dawg

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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:

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West-End-Zone-Tour-Locker-Room

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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.

London reception celebrates UGA, Oxford anniversary, alumni

University of Georgia alumni, friends and students assembled in London on Thursday, April 4, to celebrate UGA, honor the UGA at Oxford program’s 30th anniversary and cap off a tour of London that welcomed the newest UGA at Oxford students to the United Kingdom.

Twenty-two UGA students embarked on a tour of London that Thursday morning. Their stops took them to businesses around the city where alumni employees talked to them about what they do, where they work, the impact of their UGA education and more. These talks covered a wide variety of fields, from Risk Management and Insurance to Neuroscience—participating alumni work for Google; McGriff, Seibels and Williams; BNP Paribas; New York Times; City, University of London; Braincures; and Citibank. 

 After a day traveling the city, the tour party met with other alumni and friends at The Marylebone, where Kelly Kerner, UGA vice president for development and alumni relations, and Jamie McClung, director of the UGA at Oxford program, spoke to the crowd about what London and the Oxford program mean to UGA.

With the number of Dawgs in attendance that evening, one might have thought The Marylebone had moved to downtown Athens. 

Special thanks to the alumni who hosted and spoke with our students during their tour of London: Brian Benedict (ABJ ’04), Kevin Blackburne (BBA ’15), Denis Cruiziat (MBA ’88), Emmanuel Dray (MBA ’95), Justin Foster (BSFCS ‘10) Carrie Gibson (ABJ ’98), Krzysztof Potempa (BS ’02), Jane Singer (ABJ ’76), Scott Sink (BBA ’84), Chris Stanford (ABJ ’94) and Wes Walraven (BBA ’83). 

Bulldogs can be found the world over – find your local alumni chapter to to socialize, network, and volunteer with Bulldogs in your area. 

Karin Lichey Usry reflects on her time as a GymDog

Karin Lichey Usry (BSED ’00) is a former GymDog who currently works at the Division of Development & Alumni Relations at the University of Georgia. In her days as a collegiate gymnast, Usry was a four-year letter winner, won five All-America honors, won the 1998 national title on floor and earned 11 All-America citations. In addition to this, she won the 1999 Honda Award as the nation’s top gymnast. Did we mention that Usry was also part of the undefeated and national champion 1998 and 1999 GymDogs teams? There’s no wonder she was inducted into the UGA Circle of Honor for athletic greatness!

The current GymDog team has gone 10-4 this season, and after placing 2nd in the final of NCAA regionals will compete in the NCAA national championship this weekend. We asked Usry for her thoughts on her time as a GymDog, as well as the current GymDog team.

What is your role for the UGA Alumni Association? 

I am the Secretary to the Board of Trustees at the University of Georgia Foundation. I also manage the Emeriti Trustees and the Board of Visitors.

What does it feel like to see the GymDogs competing for a championship when you’ve been in their place?

It’s exciting, very exciting! We’ve had some ups and downs over the last couple years, so it’s really exciting, fun and rewarding to see this team – and last year’s team – have so much success and really kind of rise to the occasion. It’s good to see that … I guess, UGA gymnastics has always been the pinnacle of college gymnastics, and we had a little bit of a dip there for a couple of years, and so it’s good to see those traditions and that legacy continue.

Do you go to most of the meets?

I do, I’m still pretty involved. This year, because my kids are getting a little older, it’s been a little more difficult. But in the past, I’ve always been very involved.

What’s it like to see a former GymDog, Courtney Kupets, coach the team?

It’s very exciting because she knows the legacy and the history and the expectations of the program. I think that’s what was missing the last couple years, is that we have such a tight bond of former gymnasts. All of our GymDog alumni are like sisters because we’ve been through the same experiences, even though it was at different times throughout the history of the Georgia gymnastics program. It’s exciting to see someone who went through that, be able to bring that back and instill some of those traditions and some of those expectations into the current team.

What’s your proudest achievement athletically and since you left gymnastics?

So, athletically it was definitely being part of the ‘98 and ‘99 national championship teams, being part of a team that went undefeated both years, and then won the national titles. I think that was pretty amazing. Each year, ‘98 and ‘99, the teams were very different. So it was neat to see how we adjusted to be able to win national titles. Since graduating, I would say my marriage and my two kids are my biggest accomplishments.

Suzanne YoculanWhat was it like to be coached by Suzanne Yoculan? What lessons did she teach you?

Suzanne was amazing, she is very loyal to her athletes. She loved us like daughters, but she taught us how to be adults. When you come into college, especially college gymnastics, you’ve been such an individual your whole life …We didn’t have team camps as much as they do now. When I came onto campus, it was a whole new world, I was teammates with 15 other girls, all at different levels in our life. She very much respected us as individuals but also gelled us together as a team. She taught us many other things like responsibility and how to speak in front of a crowd, and she would always encourage us and push us. She was just a great mentor, even to this day, she’s still a great person to reach out to and ask for advice. She was a great person to lead you when you’re in that period of life where you’re going through so much, like trying to figure out who you are as a person, and so to be a student-athlete it is even another level of trying to figure out who you are, how you want to accomplish things, and what you want to do with your life. It was great to have someone like Suzanne push us, because she did push us, and was also our biggest cheerleader.

 

“I think just having the pride of being a University of Georgia athlete, especially a gymnast, because it nationally was recognized as one of the top programs. I think just having that pride of wearing red and black and competing.”

-Karin Usry

 

What was it like to be a student-athlete in the ‘90s at UGA?

Gosh, I have to think about that, that was a long time ago. I was an elite gymnast, so I trained 35-40 hours, and then I’d go to school on top of that. When I came to college, we were only allowed to train 20 hours. For me, it was a really easy adjustment going from high school to college, because I felt like I had more time, which was crazy. I went from training 40 hours a week, going to school full time, trying to be a high school student, to coming to college and only having to train 20 hours. While that was an adjustment in itself to cut back, it was a good adjustment. Suzanne fought for us on a lot of different levels. For example, she took the resources at the university, even though they weren’t provided to all the athletes like they are now, and offered them to us if we wanted them.

What’s your favorite memory from your time at UGA?

I think just having the pride of being a University of Georgia athlete, especially a gymnast, because it nationally was recognized as one of the top programs. I think just having that pride of wearing red and black and competing. I think that’s probably the best memory.

Finish this statement, I am most proud to be a Bulldog when _____.

I am most proud to be a Bulldog any time I see the super G, I know we’re supposed to say The Arch, but the super G is so well-known, and that was such a big part of my career. I’m proud because I know what the G stands for, and I know that it stands for both academics and athletic success and excellence.

Georgia Women of Achievement Announces 2019 Hall of Fame Inductees

Leila Denmark

94-year-old pediatrician Dr. Leila Denmark on the front porch of her office in Forsyth County. Dr. Denmark is a graduate of the UGA medical school (now Medical College of Georgia). Denmark enrolled in the Medical College of the University of Georgia, now the Medical College of Georgia, receiving her M.D. degree there in 1928.

Two women who made significant contributions to Georgia’s history were inducted into the Georgia Women of Achievement Hall of Fame on March 7, 2019, at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia.

The Georgia Women of Achievement Induction Ceremony is an annual event held during Women’s History Month. This year’s event was held at 11:00am in Pierce Chapel on the Wesleyan Campus and will be followed by a reception and seated luncheon in the stately Anderson Dining Hall, Wesleyan.

Georgia Women of Achievement recognized the contributions of two women whose contributions were extremely noteworthy, courageous, and impactful.

Dr. Leila Alice Daughtry Denmark (1898 -2012) of Atlanta and Athens was a pioneer in pediatric medicine, research and an advocate for the pediatric community. She was a co-developer of the pertussis vaccine. Until her retirement in 2011, she was the world’s oldest practicing pediatrician.

Mary Dorothy Lyndon (1877-1924) of Newnan was the first woman to receive a degree from the University of Georgia in 1914, four years before women were admitted to the University as regular students. She helped organize the first sorority at UGA and made significant contributions to the Athens community.

Medical College of Georgia (MCG) Executives meeting with alumna Dr. Leila Denmark

Cathy Cox, Dean and Professor of Law at Mercer University, was the keynote speaker for this year’s Induction Ceremony. Cathy began making her impact on Georgia’s political landscape in 1993 as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives. She went on to have a successful tenure as the first woman to serve as Georgia’s Secretary of State. After her time in office, she became president of Young Harris College where she oversaw the College’s transition from a two-year college to a four-year institution. Since 2017, she has served as dean of Mercer University’s School of Law. Her contributions to the state are evident from her involvement in numerous philanthropic and civic organizations.

Georgia Women of Achievement was created in 1990 to honor women of Georgia’s history who contributed extensively to the community through their professional and personal lives. Honorees must have exceptional accomplishments, be a continuous inspiration, and deceased for a minimum of five years. The two 2019 inductees will be among the almost ninety other women previously honored by Georgia Women of Achievement.