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Checking in with Alumni Board Member Truitt Eavenson

The following Q&A originally ran in the UGA College of Engineering e-newsletter. Thanks to the college for allowing us to share Truitt’s spotlight!

Truitt Eavenson (BSAE ’83) recently retired after a long and successful career with Georgia Power Company. He also recently established the Truitt Eavenson Engineering Scholarship, is a UGA Alumni Association board member, and is a member of the Engineering Advisory Board.

What led you to UGA as an undergrad?

“Growing up 30 miles outside of Athens, I knew that UGA would be where I would go to school. Saturday afternoons listening to Larry Munson on the radio was always a fall tradition. I remember sitting down with the course catalog and reading through the programs, and that’s when I found Agricultural Engineering. I made an appointment with Dr. Robert Brown, and after that visit I knew what my major would be.”

Truitt Eavenson with Uga

Truitt Eavenson with Uga on the sidelines of a football game.

What are your favorite memories of your time at UGA?

“I transferred to UGA in the fall of 1980. Any Dawg fan will say that there was probably not a more exciting time to be in Athens. The football team was headed to the national championship, work was being done to close in the stadium, and Ag Engineering was selling pieces of the track to fans that had sat there and watched a game. The Ag Engineering program was small enough that we really got to know our fellow students and the professors. And I have to put in a plug for Dr. Sid Thompson. He started what would be a long, memorable career and touched many of our lives as students.”

What inspired you to give back to the College of Engineering?

“This may sound like a simple reason, but I was at work one day talking with a colleague that had also graduated from UGA. We were talking about making contributions to the school where you graduated. They made the statement that they really didn’t understand why people wouldn’t support the school where they received their degree, since the school helped you get a job, reach your career goals, and simply gave us the means to provide for our families. That statement really resonated with me, and I started making small contributions to the engineering program.”

What led to your decision to support scholarships in the College of Engineering?

“I think it just grew from making small gifts. I’ve enjoyed a successful career with Georgia Power, and I wanted to do this as a way to pay it back. An early president of Georgia Power used a line in a speech around 1928. He said that we would be a “citizen wherever we serve.” That was a big part of my career with volunteer activities and the jobs that I was asked to do in communities around that state. My fellow employees at Georgia Power have always set the bar really high when it comes to giving back. When you spend 36 years of your career where that is encouraged and supported, it just becomes second nature, and you find yourself looking for opportunities where you can serve.”

What are your hopes for the future recipients of your scholarships?

“My hope is that 40 years from now they will be asked these questions and will be able to say that the study they completed at UGA allowed them to accomplish all their life goals, and that it helped them provide for their families and make a significant contribution in whatever they attempted to do.”

What has been the most rewarding part of supporting a scholarship in Engineering?

“Just knowing that you are doing a small part in helping the next generation prepare for the future. There’s a proverb that says “society grows when men plant trees they will never sit under.” I feel certain these trees will grow and prosper in ways we haven’t even imagined yet!”

 

Checking in with Alumni Board Member Russ Pennington

There’s a group of committed UGA alumni who dedicate their time, energy, and financial resources to bringing Bulldogs together year-round, worldwide, and lifelong. The UGA Alumni Board of Directors represents UGA’s diverse and passionate alumni family and strives to provide feedback, guidance and leadership as the university seeks to ensure that its graduates Never Bark Alone. Throughout the year, we’ll get to know these spirited graduates who hail from various backgrounds and are involved in all corners of campus.

Their goal: to empower the next breed of Bulldogs to continue that tradition of excellence.

Name:

  • Russ Pennington

I live in:

  • Atlanta, GA

Degree:

  • 2001 – Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering (UGA)
  • 2006 – Master of Business Administration (UGA)

I joined the board in:

  • 2016

Ways I support UGA:

Russ with interim Uga mascot

Russ with the former mascot Uga IX, also known fondly as “Russ.”

My first job after graduation

If I had $1 million, I would support the _____ fund on campus.

The UGA class that I enjoyed most was

  • A Maymester course called “Geology, Hydrology and Soils of Georgia,” where we spent the term camping around the state and learning about Georgia’s natural resources.
Russ with family a UGA homecoming football game

Russ with his wife, Kelli, and two daughters, Caroline and Eleanor, at a UGA football game.

 A story that stands out as a UGA student was:

  • I remember my first time riding a UGA bus. I jumped on an Orbit bus and after a complete loop around campus, I realized I had no clue where I was going!

My family includes:

  • Wife, Kelli (BBA ’00)
  • Two daughters: Caroline and Eleanor
  • Two dogs: Gertie and Hattie

A special connection I have to UGA is …

  • In May 2014, I had the humbling experience of being the keynote speaker for the College of Engineering’s Convocation. I realized in that moment that my school could give me so much more than I can give it. It also was amazing to see the college grow from where it was when I graduated to where it is now.
Russ delivering convocation speech 2014

Russ delivering his convocation speech to engineering students in 2014.

A memory from my acceptance into UGA:

  • I remember vividly getting the envelope with the red stripe in the mail. I decided to go early and start classes in the summer semester. I never went back home!

As a student, I was involved in:

On a Friday night in college, you would have found me:

  • Participating in the downtown nightlife!
Russ with wife at football game

Russ and his wife, Kelli, as undergrads.

The most significant change to the physical campus since I was a student:

My favorite tradition at UGA

  • The Battle Hymn trumpet solo

When I visit Athens, I have to grab a bite at:

  • The Last Resort
Russ Pennington Alumni Weekend photo shoot

Russ participating in a photo shoot to promote Alumni Weekend.

When this song comes on the radio, I think of college:

  • “Babs O’Riley” by The Who

My most disliked athletic rival:

  • The Gators

My dream weekend in Athens includes:

  • When Notre Dame played UGA in 2019— the prime-time kickoff, the flyover, the new LED lights and the victory— it was as good as it gets!

No. 1 tip to a fellow Georgia grad who has lost touch with their alma mater:

  • You really need to understand how much you can get back from your alma mater.  It is easy to move away and forget about the students, but giving back is so rewarding. Everything has changed so much and the direct hand that our alumni have in that change is incredible. Be involved and you will be blown away as to how much you will learn and benefit from the experience.

 

Russ’s support across campus— including being a committed advocate for the College of Engineering— embodies the spirit of UGA. We appreciate his unwavering dedication to his alma matter.

Checking in with Alumni Board Member Wes Neece

There’s a group of committed UGA alumni who dedicate their time, energy, and financial resources to bringing Bulldogs together year-round, worldwide, and lifelong. These spirited Alumni Board members represent the diverse and passionate UGA alumni family and strive to provide feedback, guidance and leadership as the University of Georgia seeks to ensure that its graduates Never Bark Alone. Throughout the year, we’ll get to know these individuals; they hail from various backgrounds and are involved in all corners of campus. Their goal: to empower the next breed of Bulldog to continue ta tradition of excellence.

Name:

  • Wes Neece

I live in:

  • Atlanta, GA

Degree:

  • 2000 – BBA in Management Information Systems (UGA)

I joined the board in:

  • 2018

Ways I support UGA:

Wes Neece with Home Depot

Wes represents UGA at a Home Depot summer intern networking breakfast in 2018.

My first job after graduation:

  • A computer programmer at The Home Depot

The class at UGA that I enjoyed most was:

  • Intro to Management Information Systems. I love the way that business and technology interact.

What makes me most proud to be a Georgia Bulldog:

  • The fact that our academic reputation continues to escalate!

My family includes:

  • Wife, Becky (BS ’01)
  • Daughters, Rowan and Carlson
  • Dogs, Olaf and Dolly
Wes Neece with his kids

Wes enjoys a tailgate on Myers Quad with his two daughters, Rowan and Carlson.

A special connection I have to UGA is:

  • I met my wife and my best friends there.

As a student, I was involved in:

My favorite place to study on campus was:

  • Law Library— cool, quiet, and close to downtown for when study time is over!

On a Friday night in college, you would have found me:

  • Having one too many at Sons of Italy and Steverino’s

When I was a student, I lived in:

  • Creswell
  • University Commons
  • College Park

My greatest accomplishment as a student:

  • Graduating Magna Cum Laude— I was proud of the balance I struck between partying and school!

My favorite memory from graduation:

  • I only slept for 90 minutes the night before my graduation ceremony. My mom was mortified that I wore flip flops to it!
Wes Neece graduation

Wes wearing his infamous flip flips at graduation in 2000!

A fellow UGA grad who inspires me is:

My favorite tradition at UGA:

  • The Battle Hymn Trumpet solo

When I visit Athens, I have to grab a bite at:

  • The Last Resort

On game day, you’ll find me:

  • Rushing to make kickoff after a kid’s soccer game!

My most disliked athletic rival is:

  • University of Florida— everyone knows that Gators wear jean shorts!

A few of my favorites:

  • Book: Pillars of Earth
  • Podcast: The Daily
  • Movie: The Shawshank Redemption
  • Band: Mumford & Sons
  • TV show: The West Wing
Wes Neece at Rose Bowl

Wes cheers on the Dawgs at the 2018 Rose Bowl.

Favorite alumni-owned restaurant:

No. 1 tip to a graduating Bulldog:

  • There will be higher highs (wedding day, birth of your children, etc.), but know that when you look back at your life, your time in Athens will be one that you long for. You only get one go at this. Make sure you enjoy it!

No. 1 tip to a fellow Georgia grad who has lost touch with their alma mater:

  • Your school has so much to offer you. It gives you a sense of grounding of who you are, who you were and, most importantly, what used to be important to you. A sense of grounding is incredibly important in the chaos that is today. Let UGA be an anchor for you.

Wes, who you might recognize from UGA’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2017, supports UGA in a variety of ways—including being a wonderful advocate at The Home Depot—and we appreciate his ongoing commitment to his alma mater.

Checking in with outgoing Alumni Board Member April Crow

There’s a group of committed UGA alumni who dedicate their time, energy and financial resources to bringing Bulldogs together year-round, worldwide and lifelong. These spirited Alumni Board members represent the diverse and passionate UGA alumni family and strive to provide feedback, guidance and leadership as the University of Georgia seeks to ensure that its graduates Never Bark Alone. Throughout the year, we’ll get to know these individuals; they hail from various backgrounds and are involved in all corners of campus. Their ultimate goal: to empower the next breed of Bulldog to continue that tradition.

April Crow Headshot

April Crow, an outgoing board member and dedicated alumnus.

Name:

  • April Crow

I live in:

  • Atlanta, GA

Degree:

  • 1995 – BS in Environmental Health (UGA)

I joined the board in:

  • 2015

What makes me proud to be a Georgia Bulldog:

  • The community of fellow Bulldogs around the state and the world that are doing great work in their communities. I love interacting with them both socially and professionally.

Ways I support UGA:

If I had $1 million, I would support the _____ fund on campus.

My first job after graduation

  • Regulatory Affairs Specialist at Coca-Cola

A moment that stood out as a UGA student was

  • I wanted to take Ballroom Dance for one of my P.E. courses, but you could only sign up with a partner. I recruited a good friend named Brian. Who knew that class would spark a little romance that made him my dance partner for life?

My family includes:

  • Husband, Brian (BSAE ’97)
  • Son, Garner
  • Daughter, Greer
April Crow and family at football game

April cheers on the Dawgs with her husband, Brian, and two children!

A special connection I have to UGA is…

  • Throughout my professional career, I have focused a significant amount of time and personal interest in solving the plastics in the ocean challenge. I connected with Jenna Jambeck, a leading academic researcher on the topic and a UGA professor. I’ve had the opportunity to work and speak with her at events around the world. It is great to see UGA contributing to such an important challenge.

A memory from my acceptance into UGA:

  • I remember answering the phone in our family living room during Spring 1991. Wen Williams, associate dean for academic affairs, congratulated me on being awarded a full tuition scholarship from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

As a student, I was involved in:

  • Zeta Tau Alpha
  • College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Ambassador
  • Job at the Tate Copy Center
April Crow in Sanford Stadium

April Crow celebrating the Bulldog 100 with her husband in Sanford Stadium.

My favorite place to study on campus was:

  • Science Library

My favorite place to dine on campus:

  • Bolton Dining Hall –– My best friends and I loved making waffles and topping them with ice cream from the UGA Creamery!

On a Friday night in college, you would have found me:

  • At the Zeta Tau Alpha house getting ready to go downtown!

When I was a student, I lived in:

  • Boggs Hall
  • Zeta Tau Alpha house
  • Apartment at Rivers Edge

My fashion/hair style as a student

  • Floral, puffy sleeves
  • Jumpers for dressing up
  • Sorority/fraternity T-shirts

When in college, I wish I had known that …

  • The time would go by so quickly– I wish I could go back and soak in more of those experiences and meet more people.
April with son and husband

April with her son, Garner, and husband Brian.

The most significant change to campus since I was a student

  • Tate Center expansion!

When this song comes on the radio, I think of college:

  • “Love Shack” by the B-52’s

My most disliked athletic rival:

  • University of Florida

Favorite alumni-owned restaurant:

  • Condor Chocolates

My dream weekend in Athens includes:

  • Tailgating, seeing friends, enjoying lots of restaurants and shopping downtown.

No. 1 tip to a graduating Bulldog:

  • Learn as much as you can. Meet as many people as possible. Leverage the UGA network and give back financially and by helping other Bulldogs!

No. 1 tip to a fellow Georgia grad who has lost touch with their alma mater:

April’s term on the Alumni Board concluded June 30, but we know this loyal Bulldog will remain involved for years to come. Also, be sure to check out a special story about April and Brian’s financial support for UGA. LINK

UGA Alumni Association names new president, board members

The UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors has elected its 77th president, Yvette K. Daniels (AB ’86, JD ’89), and approved eight new board members. Their terms began July 1.

Daniels has been on the board since 2015 and succeeds Brian Dill (AB ’94, MBA ’19), whose two-year term concluded June 30. Her passion for policy, mentorship and relationship-building has guided her career. She spent six years as an assistant state attorney in Florida, and then joined the Georgia Department of Public Health where she has held lobbying and director positions. Today, she is the director of university relations for the Georgia Department of Public Health.

“Yvette is a valued leader among this group of passionate alumni,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00, MED ’16), executive director of alumni relations. “She embodies the spirit of UGA, is committed to the UGA community and goes above and beyond to serve our university.”

The Atlanta native graduated from the University of Georgia in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and in 1989 with a law degree. She resides in Stone Mountain, Georgia, with her husband, Frederick L. Daniels Jr. The couple has two daughters – Kasey is a second-year student at UGA, and Kinsey is a senior at Arizona State University. Daniels will be the first Black woman president of the UGA Alumni Association.

Alumni joining the board on July 1 include:

  • Charlene Johnson Benn (BS ’85), Director of Operations and Technology Strategy, Fiserv; Suwanee, Georgia
  • Ericka Brown Davis (AB ’93), Chief Communications Officer, State Road and Tollway Authority and Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority; College Park, Georgia
  • Deretta Rhodes (BSFCS ’92, PHD ’10), EVP/Chief People Capital Officer, Atlanta Braves; Atlanta
  • Paton Faletti (BBA ’99), President and CEO, NCM Associates; Atlanta
  • Ashley M. Horne (ABJ ’01), Chief Marketing Officer, Womble Bond Dickinson (U.S.); Atlanta
  • Adam C. Johnson (MBA ’16), Director, Jabian Consulting; Atlanta
  • Christian Robinson (BBA ’04), Executive Director, JP Morgan Chase & Co.; Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Marisa “Marsay” Simpson (BSW ’97), Director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs, Atlanta Gas Light; Greensboro, Georgia

The executive board members who will serve alongside Daniels include:

  • Lee Zell (AB ’96), Vice President — Account Executive, Turner Sports; Atlanta
  • Bobb Watts (AB ’10), Secretary — Associate, Jones Day; Atlanta
  • Dominique Holloman (BS ’01, AB ’01, MED ’04, JD ’04), Nominating Committee Chair — Government Affairs Manager, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority; Atlanta
  • Stephanie Powell (BSED ’94, MED ’97, EDS ’99), Student Engagement Committee Chair  — Director of Internal Affairs, Joe Powell and Associates, Inc.; Cumming, Georgia
  • Corey Dortch (BSA ’03, MED ’05, PHD ’11), Affinity Committee Chair — Associate Dean, Evening MBA Program, Emory University Goizueta Business School; Mableton, Georgia
  • Cheri Leavy (BSED ’97), Events Committee Chair — Editor/Creative Director/Founder, guide2athens/Bulldog Illustrated/The Southern Coterie; St. Simons Island, Georgia
  • Todd Phinney (BBA ’88), Chapters Committee Chair — Business Consultant-Field Operations, Chick-fil-A, Inc.; Bishop, Georgia

“These new board members represent an array of diverse perspectives and alumni experiences at the University of Georgia,” said Johnson. “Their dedication to leadership and service are invaluable in engaging alumni and inspiring Bulldogs year-round, worldwide and lifelong.”

Board members concluding their terms on the board include:

  • Bill Caldwell (BLA ’97), Smyrna, Georgia
  • Jody Corry (ABJ ’88, JD ’91), Watkinsville, Georgia
  • April Crow (BSEH ’95), Atlanta
  • Shelly Hutchinson (MSW ’00), Snellville, Georgia
  • Lex Kenerly (BS ’78), Jesup, Georgia
  • Luther Lockwood (BBA ’89), Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Bonney Shuman (BBA ’80), St. Simons Island, Georgia

The UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors works closely with UGA’s alumni relations staff to promote, support, and advance the programs and services that are offered to nearly 340,000 living alumni around the world.

brian dill

Checking in with outgoing Alumni Board President Brian Dill

Brian Dill in front of Wray-Nicholson House

There’s a group of committed UGA alumni who dedicate their time, energy and financial resources to bringing Bulldogs together year-round, worldwide and lifelong. These spirited individuals represent the diverse and passionate UGA alumni family and strive to provide feedback, guidance and leadership as the University of Georgia seeks to ensure that its graduates Never Bark Alone. Throughout the year, we’ll get to know these individuals; they hail from various backgrounds and are involved in all corners of campus. Their ultimate goal: to empower the next breed of Bulldog to continue that tradition.

Name:

  • Brian Dill

I live in:

  • Carrollton, Georgia

Degrees:

  • 1994 – AB in Political Science (UGA)
  • 2019 – MBA (UGA)

I joined the board in:

  • 2007

What makes me most proud to be a Georgia Bulldog:

  • Being a part of a diverse and highly successful alumni family.
Brian Dill speaking at 40 Under 40

Brian speaking at UGA’s 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon.

Ways I support UGA

If I had $1 million, I would support the ______ fund on campus.

My first job after graduation was

  • lobbying for the Atlanta Homebuilders Association

The UGA class I enjoyed most was

  • Southern Politics with Charles Bullock III
Brian Dill as Redcoat Band Member

Brian was a proud member of the Redcoat Band.

A moment that stood out as a UGA student was

  • My first game as a freshman in the Redcoat Band – the season opened with a night game in Baton Route against LSU.

My family includes:

  • Wife, Carmen (BSFCS ’95)
  • Son, Mason – attending Dean College in Massachusetts
  • Datson/Beagle, Jake
  • English Bulldog, Savannah
Carmen Brian and Mason Dill at the Arch

Brian (center) and his wife, Carmen, and son, Mason.

A special connection I have to UGA is:

  • My wife, Carmen, and I met on campus and later married in the UGA Chapel.
Carmen and Brian in Sky Suites

Carmen and Brian cheer for the Dawgs whenever they can!

As a student, I was involved in:

  • Redcoat Band
  • College Republicans
  • Job in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Crop and Soil Science department

My favorite place to study on campus was:

  • Main Library

My favorite place to dine on campus was:

  • Tate Center – quick and easy!

On a Friday night in college, you would have found me:

  • Studying? Oh yeah, downtown!
Brian Dill Delivering Commencement Address in 2019

Brian Dill delivering welcome remarks to the Class of 2019.

Graduation was:

  • On a very hot day, in the morning, and we sat in the stands at the time – not on the field.

When in college, I wish I had known that:

  • Just because they offer you credit card deals with free stuff doesn’t mean you should take them – not the best financial move back in the day!

A fellow grad who inspires me is:

  • Maria Taylor (ABJ ’09, MBA ’13), sportscaster for ESPN

A fellow student I knew who has since “made it big” is:

  • Brett Bawcum (BMUS ’97, MM ’00, DMA ’17), Redcoat Band director. It’s a pretty big deal to lead a band that you were a member of. Very proud of him!

Favorite UGA tradition:

  • Singing the Alma Mater in Sanford Stadium
Brian Dill and Hairy Dawg

While serving on the board, Brian has run into Hairy Dawg a few times!

When visiting Athens, I have to grab a bite at:

  • The Blind Pig Tavern

On gameday, you’ll find me:

  • Tailgating on North Campus

When this song comes on the radio, I think of UGA/college:

  • “Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles
Kevin Steele, Carmen and Brian Dill at 2015 Bulldog 100 Celebration

Carmen and Brian with Kevin Steele, a former UGA Student Alumni Council member, during the 2015 Bulldog 100 Celebration.

Most disliked athletic rival:

  • Georgia Tech

A few of my favorites:

  • Book: Decision Point by George W. Bush
  • Podcast: Andy Stanley
  • Band: Jimmy Buffett
  • TV/Streaming Show: Blue Bloods
  • Alumni-owned Business: Onward Reserve
  • Move: Smokey and the Bandit

Describe your dream weekend in Athens.

  • Friday night at Georgia Theatre with Kinchafoonee Cowboys, Saturday in Sanford Stadium watching the Dawgs beat the Nerds, and a Sunday brunch at Hilltop Grill listening to Jeff Dantzler (AB ’07) and Kevin Butler (AB ’18) break down another whupping from a Bulldog Saturday night!

No. 1 tip for a graduating Bulldog:

  • If you ever get an offer to work for a Georgia Tech grad … don’t!

No. 1 tip for a fellow Georgia grad who has lost touch with their alma mater:

  • We Never Bark Alone, so get re-engaged. You will never regret it. Go Dawgs!
Brian Dill speaking

Brian Dill speaking during a 2014 Alumni Board meeting in Athens.

Brian will remain on the Alumni Board of Directors as immediate past president, so we’ll still see him around – plus, as they say: Once a Dawg, Always a Dawg!

 

UGA Alumni Association welcomes new volunteers to board of directors and leadership councils

The University of Georgia Alumni Association Board of Directors recently welcomed Kevin Abernathy, Elliot Marsh, and Charlita Stephens-Walker as new board members. In addition, 16 new alumni volunteers have joined the Black Alumni Leadership Council, Women of UGA Leadership Council, and the Young Alumni Leadership Council. 

“These graduates reflect the characteristics of a true Bulldog: committed, caring and spirited,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of alumni relations. “They are leaders in their communities, and they will bring an important voice to these leadership groups as we seek to foster a supportive and inclusive community for the more than 332,000 living alumni around the world. I’m looking forward to working with each of them.” 

Kevin Abernethy served as president of the Student Government Association before graduating from UGA in 1999. Today, he is an assistant U.S. attorney with the Middle District of Georgia, defending federal agencies and recovering assets for the U.S. Treasury. Abernethy participates in the UGA Mentor Program, was named to UGA’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2013, completed the Harvard Kennedy School’s Emerging Leaders program, is on the School of Public and International Affairs Alumni Board of Directors, and serves on the advisory board for UGA’s vice president of student affairs. 


A Statesboro, Georgia, native, Elliott Marsh earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and a master’s degree in agricultural leadership from UGA. Today, Marsh is a financial advisor with Edward Jones. He has earned several honors, including the J.W. Fanning Distinguished Young Professional Award from the Agricultural Economics Association of Georgia, and was named to the 40 Under 40 lists for both UGA and Georgia Trend Magazine. Marsh is a past president of UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association. 



Charlita Stephens-Walker earned an undergraduate degree in public relations from UGA and is now the national director of corporate and cause partnerships for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. She is an Alliance Theatre trustee and is on the board of Women in Film and Television Atlanta. She guides students through the UGA Mentor Program and is a charter member of The 1961 Club, a giving society established by the UGA Black Alumni Leadership Council. She resides in Decatur, Georgia. 


The following alumni will join the leadership councils for the UGA Alumni Association’s three affinity groups that seek to build relationships with specific alumni populations in the metro Atlanta area:   

Black Alumni Leadership Council  


Ashley Noel Carter (BSA ’10), Army National Guard military officer and contractor, U.S. Army, McDonough, Georgia.  


Stacey Chavis (MSL ’19), managing director, Campaign Academy, Brookhaven, Georgia.  


Corinna Ellis (AB ’92), senior mortgage loan officer in the financial services industry, Sandy Springs, Georgia.  


Extriara Gates (MSW ’11), behavioral health and family support manager, Bobby Dodd Institute; owner, Lavender Grove Psychotherapy, Atlanta, Georgia.  


Sara Hall (BSW ’09, MSW ’11), clinical social worker, hematology and bone marrow transplantation, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.  


Shayla Hill (BBA ’08), assistant director of digital strategy, Georgia Institute of Technology, Tucker, Georgia.

Women of UGA Leadership Council  


Kim Eilers (BSED ’95, MED ’97), real estate agent, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, Smyrna, Georgia.  


Cecilia Epps (BS ’08), freelance sign language interpreter, Lithonia, Georgia.


Christy Hulsey (ABJ ’97), creative director, Colonial House of Flowers, Marietta, Georgia.  


Crystal Ivey (MBA ’14), brand manager for Diet Coke, The Coca-Cola Company, Conyers, Georgia.  


Stephanie Jackson (BBA ’13, MACC ’14), land finance analyst, Ashton Woods Homes, Brookhaven, Georgia.  

Young Alumni Leadership Council  


John Bowden (BBA ’13, BBA ’13), associate broker, Harry Norman Realtors, Atlanta, Georgia. 


Maranie Brown (BSFCS ’12), digital program manager, You Are Here, Smyrna, Georgia. 


Morgan Cook (BBA ’15, MBA ’19), senior risk analyst, Beecher Carlson, Atlanta, Georgia.   


Maxwell Mitchell (BBA ’12, MACC ’13), mergers and acquisitions manager, Deloitte, Atlanta, Georgia.  


Pierce Persons (ABJ ’14), director of operations, Room 422, Atlanta, Georgia.  


To view the full list of UGA Alumni Association board members visit alumni.uga.edu/board-of-directors and alumni.uga.edu/networks for the complete list of leadership council members.

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


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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!


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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.

An Interview with ‘Most Engaged’ Kim Metcalf

Kim-Metcalf-at-Alumni-WeekendKim Metcalf’s (BSEH ’93, MS ’96) reputation preceded her. I’d recently witnessed her receive the title of Most Engaged, an award created just for her, during an Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting. UGA Development and Alumni Relations staff members had described her as outstanding, awesome, incredible and every other raving adjective. Well … she exceeded every accolade.

Kim Metcalf Most Engaged Sash and Scepter

In recognition of her outstanding commitment to the University of Georgia, Kim Metcalf was presented with a tiara, sash and scepter during a UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting in 2019.

Beginning her UGA involvement

Kim joined the environmental health science club during her second year of college, then represented the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences on the University Council. Kim helped found Epsilon Nu Eta, the Environmental Health Science Honor Society. Her favorite extracurricular activity, though, was Arch Society, a student organization that serves as official hosts and goodwill ambassadors on behalf of the university. As a charter member, she still feels immense loyalty and connection to UGA because of it.

Mentee to mentor

Kim graduated with a Bachelor of Science in environmental health in 1993. “I always stayed in touch with my professors,” Kim mentioned. In fact, she had the opportunity to earn her master’s degree because of Phillip Williams, her professor and mentor who later became the founding dean of the UGA College of Public Health. He asked her to be the “guinea pig” for a new academic program. In 1996, UGA awarded her its first ever Master of Science in environmental health. Williams also opened doors to help launch her career. In describing their friendship, Kim said, “He came to my wedding. He’s always been a constant in my life.”

Since graduation, Kim has found herself on the other side of many mentorships with UGA students. “Sometimes kids just need someone to be there,” she said, “It’s not always about career paths and internships. Sometimes they just got dumped and need a new perspective! I love being a port in the storm for kids.”

Kim Metcalf and her mentee Briana Hayes

Kim Metcalf meets with her mentee, Briana Hayes, during the pilot phase of the UGA Mentor Program.

One of her mentees is now considered a “bonus brother” to her four children. They met during an alumni luncheon and she discovered his family had recently moved away. “I gave him my card and told him to call me for a home-cooked meal. Now he’s like my fifth child.”

I’d guess most of Kim’s mentees feel like part of her family.

“Me” time

Kim runs her own environmental consulting business, Riverbend Environmental, a four-time Bulldog 100 honoree. It’s safe to say she doesn’t have a ton of free time and yet she spends it volunteering; she considers it her “me” time. She speaks to UGA classes regularly and she has served as vice president for the Athens Alumni Chapter for several years. At the time I spoke with her, Kim was planning an Arch Society reunion, too.

Kim Metcalf at Bulldog 100 in 2015.

Kim Metcalf’s company, Riverbend Environmental, was recognized as a 2015 Bulldog 100 fastest-growing business owned by a UGA graduate.

Perhaps one of Kim’s greatest volunteer roles at UGA has been with the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors. She was a member in the early 2000s for four years, and then came back to serve again in 2015. When we met, she had just finished her second two-year term. Being on the alumni board is prestigious and time-consuming – serving twice speaks volumes about Kim’s commitment to her alma mater.

Predictably, Kim has said the most rewarding experience during those terms has been working with the other board members. “They are all selected for a particular reason and they all bring unique leadership perspectives. It’s given me the opportunity to form foundations of friendship that will last forever,” she said.

Kim Metcalf at UGA Alumni Board of Directors Meeting

Kim participates in a strategic brainstorm session during a UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors Meeting.

When asked to describe the work they’re doing, Kim said, “We are a working board that is actually making a difference. We are ‘friend-raising’, guiding decisions, bringing people in, reengaging them and networking.” UGA will only continue to improve with exceptional board members who are dedicated and excited–people like Kim.

A love for people

Kim’s passion for UGA cannot be overstated. Her fourth child was baptized at the Chapel on campus. While planning an Athens visit from Atlanta when her first child was just a few months old, the hotel asked if her reservation was for a prospective student. She answered without hesitation, “Absolutely!” But Kim’s consistent involvement is cultivated by a deeper love for connecting with others.

“People always say everyone has a talent,” she told me. “I just love people. I love helping people.”

Kim Metcalf laughs with fellow attendees during the 2019 Alumni Weekend

Kim Metcalf laughs with fellow Bulldogs during the 2019 Alumni Weekend in Athens.

Meeting Kim was delightful. She lived up to her reputation of being truly outstanding, awesome, incredible and more. Her commitment to the University of Georgia is impressive and I’m sure anyone she’s met would agree!

One might say she’s a #DGD.

Meet new alumni board member Truitt Eavenson (BSAE ’83)

When Truitt Eavenson transferred to the University of Georgia from Emmanuel College, he was not sure about which career path to take. Eavenson, who grew up on a farm in Carnesville, Georgia, began looking through the course catalog and was fascinated with agricultural engineering. Once he met with the department head, Robert Brown, he committed to studying agricultural engineering.

Now, more than 20 years later, Eavenson is the vice president of Georgia Power in the Southeast region thanks to the education he received at UGA. To that end, he is dedicating his time to giving back to the place that helped shape him by serving on the board of the UGA Alumni Association.

“No matter what your career is or where you go in life you really don’t get there alone. There are always people helping you,” says Eavenson. “I think that we have a responsibility to go back and help people who are behind us be successful.”

Prior to joining the alumni board, he served on the College of Engineering and College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences advisory boards. He often returns to campus to speak to undergraduates, and hopes to prepare students for life after graduation.

“I really just want to make a difference. When my service is finished with whatever I am doing, I want people to say ‘I’m really glad he was here; he really did make a difference.’”

Eavenson offered advice to students preparing for life at UGA and beyond: “You can go to college for four years, and you can graduate with a degree, and go get a great job,” he said. “Or you can come to Athens and really get involved in the university. Look for the opportunities that are available to you and have an experience that you’ll always cherish and always be glad you did.”