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2020 Alumni Awards recipients unveiled

The Alumni Association will celebrate individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a deep commitment to bettering the university during its 83rd annual Alumni Awards Luncheon on April 24.

This year’s honorees include:

Lynda Bradbury Courts

The Honorable Johnny Isakson

Dr. Hamilton E. Holmes Family

Peter Shedd

Sanford and Barbara Orkin

Christina Swoope Carrere

2020 Alumni Merit Awards

The Alumni Merit Award, which is given to those who bring recognition and honor back to the University of Georgia through outstanding leadership and service, will be presented to Lynda Bradbury Courts and the Honorable Johnny Isakson.

As a lifelong philanthropist, Lynda Bradbury Courts (AB ’63) has supported and served the university for decades in a multitude of ways. Perhaps most notably, she served as the chair for the University of Georgia Foundation board of trustees from 2004 to 2005.

After graduating from UGA, Sen. Johnny Isakson (BBA ’66) had a multi-decade career of public service to the state and the university. He holds the distinction of being the only Georgian ever to have been elected to the state House, state Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate.

2020 Family of the Year Award

The Dr. Hamilton E. Holmes family will receive the Family of the Year Award, which is presented to a family that demonstrates loyalty to UGA.

Dr. Hamilton Holmes Sr. (BS ’63) helped pave the way for future generations of students as the first African American male to attend UGA. The Holmes family has continued his legacy of opening doors and making campus more inclusive through their great support of UGA over the years.

2020 Faculty Service Award

Peter Shedd is receiving the Faculty Service Award. First presented in 1969, the award recognizes current or former UGA faculty and staff who have distinguished themselves in service to the university.

Peter Shedd (BBA ’74, JD ’77) has shown boundless commitment to the university and its students and faculty. He is an emeritus professor of legal studies at Terry College of Business. He was named the 1993 CASE Georgia Professor of the Year. He previously served as the associate dean of business, executive assistant to the president, interim VP for instruction and director of Terry College’s full-time MBA program. He has written numerous articles and two leading textbooks in the areas of the legal and regulatory environments of business and business law.

2020 Friend of UGA Award

Sanford and Barbara Orkin will be honored with the 2020 Friend of UGA Award, which is given to any non-alumnus or organization that has demonstrated outstanding loyalty and support to the University of Georgia and the UGA community.

Sanford (H ’19) and his late wife Barbara, who passed away in Nov. 2019, have demonstrated unyielding commitment to supporting the endeavors of UGA’s students, faculty and staff. They have provided tremendous financial support across the university including the Terry College of Business, the Mary Frances Early College of Education, College of Public Health, UGA Athletics, Carl Vinson Institute and the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases.

2020 Young Alumni Award

The Young Alumni Award will be presented to Christina Swoope Carrere. This award is given to those who attended UGA in the past 10 years, have embodied the Pillars of the Arch—wisdom, justice and moderation–and provided notable service to the university.

Christina Swoope Carrere (BS ’11) was the first African American female drum major of the Redcoat Marching Band and is the immediate past president of the board of directors for the Redcoat Band Alumni Association. She was also in UGA’s 40 Under 40 class of 2016. She currently serves as the senior Medicare program examiner for the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, D.C.

Learn more about the Alumni Awards program, or view a list of previous award recipients.

 

Bulldog Love Stories: 2020 V-Day Edition

We invited the Bulldog Alumni Family to share their Bulldog love stories this year –just in time for Valentine’s Day. Needless to say, we’re in LOVE with each and every story … and we hope everyone reading this has a great time digging into a few tales of romance springing from time spent at UGA.

Alia and Jemir Martinez

Alia and Jemir Martinez || Jemir and I met during grad school at the Terry College of Business in Atlanta. He was the year above me and, like any good Bulldog, offered to help with classes. We bonded over food, family, and Georgia football. Our love took us to NYC where we watched the Dawgs play at American Whiskey (the game-watching bar for the NYC Alumni Chapter) and now, three years later, we are married and live on the other side of the country … but continue to cheer on our Dawgs!

Alicia and Nigel George

Alicia and Nigel George || My husband and I met in Russell Hall in 2007. After graduation, medical school at the UGA/MCG Medical Partnership for my husband, and countless other adventures, we moved back to Athens and welcomed a baby girl to the Bulldog Family in December. She even “attended” every football game this season! This engagement photos was taken on North Campus in 2015.

Amanda Stables and Spencer Woody

Amanda Stables and Spencer Woody || Even though we’re both from the great state of Georgia, we first met 500+ miles away on the campus of our undergrad, Cedarville University. A Bulldog at heart, I enrolled in UGA’s School of Social Work for my master’s degree and Spencer followed me to attend Georgia Law. We’ve stuck together through all these years (and many miles) and we’ve made lots of memories cheering on the Dawgs! We might not be students forever, but we’ll always have our love for each other, Athens, and UGA.

Anne Marie Hozey and Eric Gladden

Anne Marie Hozey and Eric Gladden || We met at a Georgia State Hospital Pharmacy (GSHP) mixer when I was a first-year UGA pharmacy student and he was at the meeting for continuing education. One of Eric’s fraternity brothers had returned to UGA to pursue a PharmD advanced degree and was in my class. This mutual friend invited Eric to the GSHP meeting and that is how we met. I remember thinking he must be a Mercer student since we knew all the UGA pharmacy students. We started talking during that visit and never stopped, dating long-distance until I graduated from pharmacy school. Had it not been for the UGA College of Pharmacy, we would have never met. Eric and I have kept our football season tickets since graduation, which is fortunate since our oldest child is now in the Honors Program at UGA. Will actually lives in Myers Hall, where my mother lived during her first year at UGA.

Bryson Hollomon and Rebecca Barron

Bryson Hollomon and Rebecca Barron || I met the love of my life, Rebecca, during my junior year. I was a goofy guy who loved to make music and she was a beautiful, shy, kind, and thoughtful sophomore. On the day we met, we both happened to be eating alone in Bolton Dining Hall. I remember it like it was yesterday: she was sitting at one of the high top tables at the top of the stairs–radiant with the sun from the windows shining on her, reading a book and eating lunch. I couldn’t help but be drawn to her. I mustered up the courage to sit at the table beside her. After a few minutes of anxiety, I got up the courage to ask her about her book and her day … and she looked at me with the kindest eyes and answered my questions! From there, we talked about everything from our majors (mine advertising, hers entertainment and media studies), our common music interests, and what we liked to do. After an hour of talking, I had to go to class. I dumped my tray and came back to get her number. Thankfully, she gave this lucky guy her digits, accompanied by a pinky handshake (since she was eating an apple at the time). Flash forward three years and we are graduated, living a happy life with fulfilling careers in New York City. Thank you so much, UGA, for providing the space to meet the most amazing lady in my life!

Caitlin Glasscock Conn and Thomas Conn

Caitlin Glasscock and Thomas Conn || We started dating in 2012, before our senior year of high school. We got engaged during our senior year of college on spring break and were married in 2018 at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. We took our engagement, graduation, and wedding photos on campus because we love UGA so much! We chose North Campus for our “first look” because we have always viewed it as the prettiest part of campus. We love the history of this area and its far-reaching association with UGA and Athens. The Chapel Bell is the place to go when you have anything to celebrate. We’ve gone to the bell after football games, at the end of brutal rounds of finals, and even just to celebrate our ability to celebrate. We celebrated our engagement, graduation, and our wedding at the Chapel Bell. We have photos next to the Arch from throughout our years at school, formals, graduation and our wedding. We also finally have that picture of us walking under the Arch after graduation. We did our first look on North Campus specifically to get wedding photos with the Arch and all that it represents. (Photo credit: Blane Marable)

Candice Donaldson Edwards and Terrence Edwards

Candice Donaldson and Terrence Edwards || We didn’t date during our time at UGA, but fate brought us together many years later. We love to reminisce and laugh at all the times that our paths crossed on campus, not knowing of our future together. It’s great to be married to a fellow Bulldog, because only a Bulldog can understand the true love of “Bleeding Red & Black!” ❤️

Caroline Paschal and Mack Hennessey

Caroline Paschal and Mack Hennessey || My mom came in town for graduation when the Ramsey Center hosted a “bring a friend for free” day. Naturally, my mom wanted to go and proceeded to talk to everyone while they were working out. She interrupted a guy doing push-ups to chat while I was hiding from embarrassment across the gym. A month later, I ran into him downtown and my first words to him were, “Do you workout a lot?” Good thing my mom made the first move … because six years later, we are getting married in Athens this June!

Chris Hammond and Crawford Patterson Hammond

Chris and Crawford Patterson Hammond || We met in 1991 in Reed Hall. I told her that I would marry her as soon as we met. Pictured here are our three sons: Champ is a sophomore at UGA, John Henry has been accepted to UGA for Fall 2020, and Reed is named for Reed Hall where this love affair began. Go Dawgs!

Christina Harris Rabinowitz and Kevin Rabinowitz

Christina Harris and Kevin Rabinowitz || Christina and Kevin were both born and raised in the Georgia suburbs and attended UGA from 2003-2007, graduating from the Terry College of Business. Christina started a career in management consulting in Dubai while Kevin went into risk management in New York. They met in NYC in 2010 when Christina was there for a short-term project from abroad. The pair immediately hit it off thanks to their UGA backgrounds. Christina relocated permanently to NYC … where they dated, got engaged, and then married (in Georgia) in 2014. In 2019, Christina and Kevin decided to take a break from their careers in NYC and are now traveling the world. You can follow their travel adventures @seetheworldin2020 and their culinary finds @culinaryitineraries!

Cindy and Roddie Robinett

Cindy and Roddie Robinett || Roddie and I met at UGA cheerleading tryouts in 1986 and became cheer partners in 1987. We began dating soon after and have been married for 27 years. Still Dawg fans!

Corey McArthur Dortch and Amelia Hines Dortch

Amelia Hines and Corey McArthur Dortch || Corey is the type of guy to literally seize the day. On Valentine’s Day 2005, he took his shot when he unexpectedly ran into a pretty undergraduate student in Memorial Hall. Her name was Amelia and he asked her out … on Valentine’s Day. He thought, “Hey, why not?” Fortunately for him, Amelia said yes. They had a great time that evening and throughout the remainder of the semester. Corey graduated from his master’s program and they lost touch. Over the next seven years, they would run in to each other because of mutual friends. Once, during the wedding of another Bulldog couple, they were even partnered as a bridesmaid and groomsman. It wouldn’t be until 2012 that they would really notice each other again. During the co-ed baby shower of the couple whose wedding they were in, they began chatting. Corey took a shot again and asked Amelia, “Hey, do you ever hang out in Atlanta?” Amelia, familiar with Corey’s skill at small talk, replied, “If I ever have reason to.” Corey likes a challenge and seeing this as such, he decided to seriously pursue Amelia. Within two years of dating, on the steps of the UGA Chapel, Corey proposed. Fittingly, they said “I do” on October 25, 2014, (a bye weekend), where they first met in the Classic City. Corey and Amelia live in Atlanta and are the proud parents of a 17-month-old son, James McArthur.

Emma Bryant Bonham and Joseph Trey Bonham

Emma Bryant and Joseph Trey Bonham || Here’s a picture of me and my now hubby, Trey, the last time we watched the Bulldogs play together as students (it was the 2016 G-Day game during my senior year). Trey and I met during our freshman years at UGA and started dating the summer before junior year. Most of my favorite memories from our dating years involve Georgia football, Athens Bagel and meeting at the North Campus fountain between classes. I love UGA for so, so many reasons … but this guy is definitely No. 1! Thanks for the husband, Athens 💕

Heather and Tucker Austin Oliver

Heather and Tucker Austin Oliver || We were set up during fall semester of our sophomore year by mutual friends. He proposed two years later at Lake Herrick. We graduated in May 2019 and now we’re married!

Jasmin Severino Hernandez and Jose Luis Hernandez

Jasmin Severino and Jose Luis Hernandez || Jose and I met when I leased him an apartment off campus. It was my first year at UGA and I worked at River Walk Townhomes. After our first encounter, I started seeing him walk by me every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday near the library. I would sit at the same bench each day, waiting for the North/South bus. He would come off another bus and stare as he walked by. I was determined to say hi one day, but I always chickened out. One day, he stopped and asked, “Do I know you from somewhere?” After months of friendship, we went on our first date to Yoforia on Easter. We endured several long distance periods in our relationship as I left for law school and my master’s degree. We were engaged after 6 years and were married on October 19, 2019 – on UGA Homecoming! Of course, we had a UGA groom’s cake at the wedding. This April marks nine years of being in love!

Jeffrey Brown and Candace Williams-Brown

Jeffrey Brown and Candace Williams-Brown || Candace and I met in the Office of Multicultural Services and Programs in 2005 while she was the editor of Infusion Magazine and I was president of the Black Educational Support Team. At the time, I was a fourth-year international affairs major and she was a third-year publication management major. It was love at first sight because shortly thereafter we started dating and have been inseparable since. We got married in 2007 in Athens, where it all started. We now have two amazing little boys, Xavier (6) and Avery (10 months). Both, of course, will be future Bulldogs!

Karen Davis Kantziper and Glen Kantziper

Karen Davis and Glen Kantziper || Karen and I went to high school together in Savannah. After several attempts at trying to get her to go out with me, Karen finally said “yes” and we dated during our senior year. As (my) luck would have it, we were both accepted into UGA in 1981. It was at UGA where we really connected. I lived in Russell Hall and Karen was in Brumby. From dorm parties and football games, to late night study sessions, we spent a lot of time together. We both graduated in 1985 and went our separate ways for work after graduation – Karen taking a job in Savannah and me in Asheville, North Carolina. After a few years in different cities, but commuting to see each other when we could, Karen accepted my marriage proposal and we made a home together near Greensboro, North Carolina where we live today. I’m a lucky man who found the love of his life at an early age, and I don’t take my good fortune for granted. It was in Athens where it all came together for us and we’ll be forever connected to UGA. Happy Valentines Day, love! Go Dawgs!

Keith J Nesbitt and Talya Vexler Nesbitt

Talya Vexler and Keith J. Nesbitt || The story of when we met has been a debate for years. My version is another Gym Dog introduced us in the Butts-Mehre building in 2000. That meeting, followed by a run-in at Publix after graduation, has defined our lives since. Talya says she knew we would get married since our first date at Mellow Mushroom. It may have taken me a little longer to reach this conclusion, but I cannot adequately express how happy I am that I did. Talya is from Massachusetts and I’m from South Carolina, so when it came time to plan our big day, only one place made sense: Athens. We were married at The Foundry over the 2010 Memorial Day Weekend. We now live in Talya’s hometown of Amherst, Massachusetts, where she runs a gymnastics school. And while I hate the cold and snow, our life is perfect! It’s only gotten better with the recent birth of our son, AJ. Talya is the perfect wife and mother, and not too shabby of a businesswoman either. Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy Birthday! Go Dawgs! #iloveus

LaTosha Dunnigan Wright and Dwayne Cowles Wright

LaTosha Dunnigan and Dwayne Cowles Wright || We met at an off-campus Graduate School party in 2004. I was not in graduate school, but knew the host of the party (I was an RA in Brumby Hall at the time). We both caught each other’s eye and decided to dance. We exchanged numbers and went on our way. He called me that night to say that he was in the Brumby Circle. I peeked out of my window and thank goodness, he was kidding! We didn’t talk for a few weeks after that, but he ended up calling me to have lunch at Wild Wing Cafe for our first date. We lost touch over the years, but reconnected in 2008 and the rest was history! He was living in Ohio at the time and I moved there shortly after we got engaged. We were married on Nassau Beach in the Bahamas in 2009. We have one son, Quince, who is seven.

Leah and Austin Hansen

Leah and Austin Hansen || My husband and I have known each other since elementary school, but didn’t start dating until we both moved to Athens for college. We made it through dorm life in Creswell Hall and adopting our first dog in an apartment that was not pet friendly (totally worth it). My husband proposed to me under the Arch on a warm, spring day. After 7 years of dating, we got married, and now own a house less than a mile from campus. Our house has an entire room dedicated to our love for UGA, which still doesn’t fit all of our UGA memorabilia! We haven’t missed a UGA home game since 2011, have never left a game early (rain or shine), and have traveled far and wide to see the Dawgs play–from the West Coast to northern Indiana. Our next goal is to own a camper van so that we can more easily travel to UGA away games, and eventually see all of the SEC football stadiums!

Liz and Chris Herrin

Liz and Chris Herrin || Chris and I met in Athens in 2012, not long after I moved into Church Hall. We ended up moving to Atlanta together after I graduated. Chris surprised me in 2017 by asking me to marry him at the Founders Garden on North Campus, where we used to spend time together while we were dating. We got married a year later and are excited to see where our lives take us from here. Go Dawgs!

Megan Wilkeson Jones and Colton Perry Jones

Megan Wilkeson and Colton Perry Jones || UGA’s College of Education brought us together, but our story began in Park Hall. I sat up front to not miss a word that Dr. O’Neal said in Short Fiction class; he arrived early and chose a seat in the back corner. When we officially met during our English Education orientation, he knew my name and our mutual class. Sadly, I was oblivious. Fast forward to the Georgia vs. GT game – he asked if I’d be his girlfriend. We graduated and became high school teachers in 2011. We are both faculty members at Veterans High School in Houston County – and we both teach ninth grade literature and composition. He works down the hall from me and, together, we have coached golf and swimming. Students always want to know where we met, and thankfully we can always share the good ol’ days at UGA.

Melissa Smith Elliott and Jeff Elliott

Melissa Smith and Jeff Elliott || We met at UGA over 25 years ago. My sorority sister introduced us as they are both from Athens and attended Clarke Central High School. Our first date was a UGA game. We were married several years later in 1996 and now have a 17-year-old son who also loves the Bulldogs. Here’s a photo from our trip to the epic Rose Bowl Game. Go Dawgs!

Morgan Deegan Smithson and James Smithson

Morgan Deegan and James Smithson || James and I met in 2011 before classes even started thanks to mutual friends, Ciara and Alex Moore (fellow UGA alumni). I was a freshman and James was heading into his senior year. After our introduction, James told Ciara “to bring her blonde friend around more.” For the record, my dad was livid that I had met a boy before classes even started. We had our first real date and the rest became history. For the rest of the year, we had countless date nights, football games, and made memories on campus. After James graduated in 2012, we dated long distance for three years. He headed to dental school at the Ohio State University and I stayed in Athens to finish up at Terry College. For three years, we both made a beaten path between Athens and Columbus, Ohio. We filled those three years with adventures and tons of date nights. After undergrad, I enrolled in grad school at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business. James and I were finally back in the same college town in a similar situation: I was starting my first year of grad school and James was finishing his last year of dental school. We got engaged after James graduated from dental school in 2016. He planned a trip to Amelia Island and secretly planned for our families to be there when he proposed. I knew immediately we had to travel home to Athens for our engagement pictures–Athens was our place, and still where we call home. We married in 2017 and live in Columbus for James’ residency program. We proudly cheer on the Dawgs from Ohio because Dawgs are always on top! Photo Credit: Katey Penton Photography

Chelsa Byrd and Ray "BJ" Albert

Chelsa Byrd and Ray “BJ” Albert || We met in 2000 on our way to study hall, but our love story didn’t start until after graduation. We reconnected at a birthday get-together for a mutual friend. Little did we know how much we had in common. We decided to “hang out” a week later, which turned into one of the best dates ever! Then she disappeared … After a little chasing and determination, Chelsa decided to take a chance with me, and the rest is history!

Sarah Montgomery and J. Thomas Perdue

Sarah Montgomery and J. Thomas Perdue || We met at a student magazine when I was the magazine manager and he was a writer and editor. I’m the first person in my family to attend UGA, so dating a third-generation Bulldog whose grandfather played for Vince Dooley’s first recruiting class helped me quickly became a die-hard Bulldog. Now that we’ve been dating for over two years and graduated with our bachelors’ degrees, we’ve applied to return to UGA to earn our master’s degrees. We hope to be back in Sanford Stadium this fall to cheer on the Dawgs!

Savannah Richter and Bryan Brinson

Savannah Richter and Bryan Brinson || Bryan and I met in 2012 during my freshman year at Georgia when he was a senior. We were introduced by his sister, who is one of my best friends (and Pi Phi sisters). Every Thursday during my first semester, I would meet her for lunch at Snelling Dining Hall before class. Bryan and his best friend would eat with us. At that time, we were both dating other people and never made a connection. Fast forward to the Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville in 2017. I was living in Indianapolis and came down to meet friends for the game (one being his sister). He was living in Panama City Beach and came over to see her and go to the game, too. It just happened to be the right time in our lives to finally make that connection. We’ve been together since, even through the long distance. We both love UGA and enjoyed our second date watching the Bulldogs beat the Sooners to win the Rose Bowl. I eventually moved to Florida to be closer to him and we now live together in Tallahassee and recently adopted a puppy that we named Sony (after Sony Michel, of course)!

Shontel M. and Rodd M. Cargill

Shontel M. and Rodd M. Cargill || Our relationship began in 2006, during our freshman year at UGA. We met playing hide-and-seek in Brumby Hall, and became best friends in the many years thereafter. Who knew we would finally start dating 5.5 years later, be very intentional in our relationship, and then get married in 2019?! Our secret? We attribute most of our success to placing God in the forefront of our lives. We also built our relationship on a solid foundation of friendship, in which we still date, openly communicate, laugh (a lot), surprise each other, and love each other unconditionally. We cannot forget about our shared love for UGA: the university that brought us together in the first place! Of course, couples go through life changes, but we both agreed that we would always choose each other and weather those storms together. Our love is truly everlasting. GO DAWGS!

Suzette Fosha Williams and Jay Williams

Suzette Fosha and Jay Williams || We met at the GA vs. FLA football game in 1985. Two years later, we got engaged in Jacksonville.

 

 

Albany State president to give Mary Frances Early Lecture

This was written by Hayley Major and originally posted to UGA Today on Feb. 5, 2020.

Marion Ross Fedrick (BSED ’94, MPA ’02) will deliver the 20th annual Mary Frances Early Lecture at the ceremony naming the College of Education in Mary Frances Early’s honor. The event will take place Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. in Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall at the UGA Performing Arts Center.

“I am honored to provide the keynote address for such a special occasion,” said Fedrick. “Ms. Mary Frances Early paved the way for myself and many others at the University of Georgia. Her courage and bravery continue to serve as an inspiration.”

Fedrick was appointed president of Albany State University on Aug. 14, 2018, after serving as interim executive vice president and interim president for the university. Prior to that, she served as vice chancellor for human resources at the University System of Georgia. In this role, she led initiatives relating to university administration, leadership development and human resources planning. Fedrick has led staff development efforts at Clark Atlanta University, Emory University and Emory University Hospitals. She also served in leadership roles in the state of Georgia’s Office of State Personnel Administration, AT&T and BellSouth.

During her tenure at ASU, the university has seen significant growth and improvement. Efforts have included restructuring academic colleges, evaluating the academic curriculum and making needed changes to better serve students, as well as implementing a university-wide strategic effort to increase student retention and academic success.

Fedrick earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Georgia. A believer in lifelong learning, Fedrick is currently pursuing a doctorate from the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education.

The Mary Frances Early Lecture honors the first African American to graduate from UGA. Early earned her master’s degree in music education in 1962 and her specialist in education degree in 1967. In 2013, she was presented with an honorary doctorate from the university. The Mary Frances Early lecture was established in 2001 by the Graduate and Professional Scholars student organization to honor Early.

Approved by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on Oct. 16, 2019, the naming of the Mary Frances Early College of Education celebrates Early’s impact as a civil rights advocate and music educator. After helping integrate the university, she taught in Atlanta Public Schools, Morehouse College, Spelman College and served as head of the music department at Clark Atlanta University.

A livestream of the Mary Frances Early College of Education naming ceremony and Mary Frances Early Lecture will be available at https://maryfrancesearly.coe.uga.edu.

50 years of the Zeta Psi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta

Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. who were initiated through the Zeta Psi chapter at the University of Georgia will be celebrating 50 years of sisterhood, scholarship and service the weekend of October 25–27, 2019, in Athens. To commemorate the anniversary, members have established a scholarship fund and will hold a community run/walk and health fair.

“We’re extremely excited about this historic milestone, not only for our organization, but for the University of Georgia and Athens community,” said L.D. Wells (AB ’96), president of the Anniversary Committee. “Through the Fortitude 1969 Fund, we have a unique opportunity to lead the campus toward funding need-based scholarships for students and faculty who meet the appropriate criteria. It’s a win-win for all involved because we get to celebrate our wonderful sisterhood by paying it forward and helping UGA students.”

Sorority members are inviting the UGA and Athens community to their “iRun & Walk for the Health of It” 6.9K race and health fair on Saturday, October 26 at 8:30 a.m. at Trail Creek Park. The health fair will be held in conjunction with the race, and proceeds will benefit the Fortitude 1969 Fund.

“Not only has this chapter made an impact at UGA, but we’ve been serving the Athens community for 50 years as well,” said Jennifer W. Richardson (BSHE ’88), president of the Delta Sigma Theta Athens Alumnae Chapter and member of the Anniversary Steering Committee.

The Zeta Psi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was chartered at the University of Georgia on November 11, 1969. Eight courageous women worked diligently to establish what would be the first Black Greek Letter Organization for females on campus, paving the way for more than 600 minority women to serve the university and Athens community: Carolyn Baylor Reed, Helen Butler (BBA ’72), Carrie Gantt (BSED ’71, MED ’78), Beverly Johnson Hood (BBA ’72), Cheryl Walton Jordan (BBA ’73), Barbara Atkinson Moss (BSED ’71), Debra Bailey Poole and Bendel Love Rucker (BS ’72).

“We’re definitely looking forward to reconnecting with everyone back in Athens where it all began,” said Francene Breakfield (BS ’95), vice president of the Anniversary Committee. “We’ve planned a full weekend of events, and we’re very fortunate that all of our living charter members are expected to celebrate our anniversary with us this year.”

Zachary Faison: The Millennial President

Zachary Faison At A Glance

Getting Started

This summer, Zachary Faison was named one of the UGA Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 honorees. He was selected for his impressive accomplishments and commitment to his alma mater. A 2006 graduate, Zachary attended law school at the University of Georgia. After graduation, Zachary earned his Certificate of Fundraising Management from Indiana University. In 2015,  he joined a small group of higher education administrators at Harvard’s Institute for Educational Management. “It was a very intensive institute that gave us expanded insight on being leading administrators at colleges and universities around the country,” says Zachary. “It really helped to support my trajectory as an academic administrator and leader in higher education.”

Making an Impact

Zachary serves as president and CEO of Florida’s first historically black college or university, making him the youngest HBCU president in America. “It’s inspiring work. Every day I get to see the impact upon the lives of students, particularly students of color.”

While at Edward Waters College, Zachary has established an honors college, a center for undergraduate research and is in the process of launching an online degree program. Looking forward, Zachary wants to see the institution grow, not only in enrollment numbers, but “in the expansion of academic profiles and offerings.” Edward Waters College has plans to offer graduate-level programs and become more engaged in the local Jacksonville community.

About 90% of EWC’s students, while academically successful, are eligible for Pell Grants and struggle to pay tuition. Last year, Zachary established a program to help meet this need. If students have an outstanding balance of up to $3,500, EWC will match the balance. “We wanted to do whatever we possibly could to ensure students wouldn’t get this close to the finish line and not finish.” Because of this new program, a significant number of students are able to return to school and continue earning their degree.

Proud to be a Dawg

When asked about the first time he set foot on UGA’s campus, Zachary recalls a feeling of awe. “My eyes were wide open at how expansive the campus was … how beautiful it was … the amazing history that goes along with it. It was incredible.”

During his time at UGA, Zachary was involved in the law school’s Moot Court, a mock trial team that competes nationally. “For me to have the chance to compete with students that have gone on to do such extraordinary things is something I will always remember and cherish,” says Zachary.

Zachary Faison will be honored during the ninth annual 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon in Athens on September 13.

Be sure to check out the other impressive 40 Under 40 honorees.

Meet Black Alumni Council President Dr. Ericka Davis (AB ’93)

Dr. Ericka Davis (AB ’93) became the UGA Black Alumni Leadership Council president on July 1. We invited her to share a few words with you, our alumni family, as she enters this role:

Ericka Davis (AB '93)When I first stepped onto UGA’s campus in the spring of 1988, I never imagined that the experience would be so life changing. When my parents drove off, and I walked through the doors of Brumby Hall to explore my new home, one student, Cameo “Cami” Garrett (AB ’92), approached me and asked if I was new to UGA and did I know anyone. I said yes that I was new, and no that I didn’t know anyone. She immediately said that I could come with her and that was the beginning of my meeting many other students who became more than just classmates but family both during my time at UGA and through the years since graduation.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was joining more than an institution of higher learning, but a family and a nation at the same time. The Black Alumni UGA family and Bulldog Nation has served as a great source of love, support, development and encouragement to me since that day in 1988. The people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had and the memories that were made are priceless to me.

That’s also why I wanted my daughter, Jessica Davis ’20, to attend UGA and after completing her first year, she’s just as passionate about “Her UGA” as I am about mine. I’m even more proud of being a part of the rich legacy of courage and determination that belongs to all African American alumni. That legacy began on January 9, 1961, with our founders, Charlayne Hunter-Gault (ABJ ’63), Hamilton Holmes (BS ’63), and Mary Frances Early (MMED ’62, EDS ’71). The doors they opened for us is a debt that I feel I could never repay and am morally obligated to do my part to pay it forward. That’s how the 1961 Club began. It’s a tribute to the sacrifice those three made and a reminder that the sacrifice, nor the purpose behind it, should be forgotten or taken lightly. We have one unifying goal: to keep the Arch open to all.

As the incoming president of the Black Alumni Leadership Council (BALC), I am committed to that goal and to being an advocate for UGA. I have been honored to work with the “Originals,” the pioneering members of the BALC during the last 3 years. The strides we made have been phenomenal, but there is still work to be done. This council is committed and passionate. Within their first week of service, they took immediate action to fund an additional student scholarship, bringing our total to nine students receiving scholarship funding for four years while attending UGA.

Please know that we can’t do this great work alone. Your help is critical to continuing the legacy. We need your gifts, your time, and your talent. We look forward to having you join us in our goal to keep the Arch open. Charlayne, Hamilton, and Mary would expect no less of us.

Go Dawgs,

Ericka

ABC’s Deborah Roberts pledges $100K to UGA

Deborah Roberts

ABC’s Deborah Roberts pledges $100K to UGA for scholarship

Award-winning correspondent and University of Georgia alumna Deborah Roberts has committed $100,000, matched by the UGA Foundation, to establish a need-based scholarship through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program.

“We are thrilled that such a distinguished alumna has committed to supporting need-based aid at UGA,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Her generosity is an example of the tremendous alumni support that continues to move our university into the future. Deborah’s gift will open the door to higher education for students today, tomorrow and in perpetuity.”

Roberts has risen through the ranks of television news, received numerous awards and been a regular reporter and contributor for programs such as “Dateline NBC,” “20/20,” “Nightline” and “Good Morning America” to name a few.

“I feel honored, privileged and, indeed, blessed to be able to offer a student who’s dreaming of success the opportunity to make those dreams come true,” said Roberts. “Growing up in small-town Georgia, I know the value of education and embrace this opportunity to change lives and futures.”

Roberts’ scholarship will provide aid to graduates of Perry High School, which she attended, as well as other high schools in middle Georgia.

Through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program, the UGA Foundation matches—dollar for dollar—any gift in the amount of $50,000, $75,000 or $100,000 to establish an endowed, need-based scholarship for undergraduate students. The scholarship is awarded within a year of the donor making their gift, and from that point forward, the endowment grows—increasing the size of the scholarship award over time and helping student after student earn a UGA degree.

Since the matching program’s creation in 2017, over $54 million has been dedicated to new need-based scholarships, with over 265 donors giving to the program. Scholarship recipients also benefit from academic support in the form of tutoring, workshops, academic coaching and more.

Born in Perry, Georgia, Roberts began her post-UGA career at WTVM-TV in Columbus, Georgia, and her connection to the university has remained through her many positions since then. In 1993, she received the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award, presented annually to high-achieving young alumni.

In 2006, Roberts delivered UGA’s Holmes-Hunter lecture, and in 2016 she presented an Alumni Seminar. Earlier this year, she participated in a panel discussion entitled “Grady Greats: A Conversation on the Enduring Values and Power of Journalism.” She will deliver UGA’s spring undergraduate Commencement address on May 10.

As a major component of the Commit to Georgia Campaign’s effort to remove barriers for students, the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program has been a critical element of UGA’s fundraising success over the past two years. To find out how you can contribute to that success, visit give.uga.edu/georgia-commitment.

Father, daughter share in graduation celebrations

Jacksons

Jenna Jackson has a law degree from UGA. Her father John Jackson has a business degree from UGA. (Photo by Chad Osburn/UGA)

Originally posted on UGA Today on May 2, 2019. Written by Sara Freeland.

When John W. Jackson gives the address at Terry College of Business Convocation May 10, it will be an event almost 50 years in the making.

Jackson first stepped onto campus in 1972. He was one of the first 10 African Americans to play football for the University of Georgia. He walked on to the football team as a free safety the year after the team was desegregated (in 1971) when UGA was a different place.

The same day he is giving his convocation speech, Jackson’s daughter, Jenna Jackson, will be graduating with a Master of Public Administration and Policy in the Graduate Commencement ceremony.

“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for people like my dad,” Jenna Jackson said. “There’s no me getting a degree if there’s no John Jackson in the ’70s who will brave hostile conditions.”

John Jackson

John Jackson, front row, third from left, played J.V. football for UGA in 1972. (Photo from 1973 Pandora)

1972-1976

John Jackson was one of around 600 African American students who earned UGA degrees between 1972 and 1976. “I had an incredible learning experience,” he said. “There were so many acts of kindness from professors.”

When there was a fire in his residence hall, Payne Hall, and his books were water damaged, one of his professors offered up his own book for Jackson to use to study.

“The environment at Georgia was very encouraging to me. More people wanted me to succeed than fail,” he said. “The problems I had at Georgia were so insignificant I discarded them. It prepared me for life after college—the barriers you had to overcome, that you had to be prepared. I left Georgia ready to compete in the corporate world.”

Why UGA?

John Jackson, who graduated from UGA with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1976, was the youngest of eight children. His father had a sixth-grade education and worked in the mailroom of a prominent Atlanta law firm staffed by many UGA-educated attorneys. His father saw the value of an education and encouraged his children to attend college.

“When you’re growing up, parents want you to be the very best that you can. They want you to be far better than them,” he said. “The best way to do that was to become educated.”

Two of John Jackson’s older brothers attended Morris Brown College, and Jackson was the first to attend the University of Georgia.

After his first year of college, his father encouraged him to give up football in order to more fully focus on his education. He even received a scholarship from his father’s law firm.

For extra spending money, Jackson worked the morning shift at McDonald’s. He’d come in at 4 a.m. and then go to his 8 a.m. business policy class with William Tate, now namesake of UGA’s Tate Student Center. Tate was a notoriously tough professor who took an interest in Jackson. He remembers Tate asking him, “Have you thought about going to banking? I would give you a recommendation.”

John Jackson went on to raise $60 million to co-found Bank of Atlanta. It’s the accomplishment he’s most proud of—founding the bank and keeping it profitable during the Great Recession.

Second-generation Bulldog

Jenna Jackson attended law school at UGA not because of her father’s influence, but partly because of her mom. She was looking at area law schools and wanted to stay close enough to check on her mother, who was battling breast cancer in Atlanta. She went on to work in football recruitment for UGA during and after law school and was named Miss UGA in 2013. In 2015, she was named Miss Georgia, but said Miss UGA was her favorite title.

Jenna Jackson

Jenna Jackson at the School of Law. (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

“I got to see how the University of Georgia makes positive changes for all different types of people,” she said.

Jenna Jackson was also the third black Miss UGA. She said that like her father before her, there was some pressure that came with the role.“He was very quietly in the background,” she said.

“He had been through it. He was under immense pressure. You have to be twice as good to go half as far—he taught me that so subtly that it wasn’t a burden.”

Now, she’s finishing her second UGA degree—this time from the School of Public and International Affairs. “I really want to help people be the best version of themselves, and I thought the Master of Public Administration would help me to do that.

“It’s an honor to be graduating the same day he speaks. To hear him, to see him,” she said. “I understand the sacrifice he made for his family.”

Convocation speech

Jackson has spent more than 30 years working in banking, including 15 years at Bank South. At SunTrust, he had an $800 million loan portfolio. He co-founded Bank of Atlanta in 2004, which was acquired for $3 billion by State Bank and Trust in 2014. He currently serves on the UGA Terry College of Business’ Dean’s Advisory Council.

He also started the Emerson W. Jackson Scholarship Foundation to honor his father. He’s given out 10 or 11 small grants to students who embrace some of his father’s core values of respect, integrity and kindness.

When he received the offer to be the Terry Convocationn speaker, the timing was right.

“Sometimes you wonder if you’ve made a difference,” he said. “My name is not widely known outside the banking arena. But it reenergized me, reaffirmed that what I was doing was right, that I was making difference.”

Meet Shontel Solomon, Outreach Chair of the Black Alumni Leadership Council

In October 2015, the UGA Alumni Association launched the UGA Black Alumni Affinity Group, which is led by the Black Alumni Leadership Council. The council seeks to connect with black alumni and students through shared experiences, and to continue building a welcoming and supporting campus community. Shontel Solomon (BS ’10) is outreach chair of the Black Alumni Leadership Council, and we recently interviewed her to learn more about her UGA experience and what drives her to stay connected to the university.

Shontel SolomonWhen did you graduate from UGA and what did you do after graduation?

I graduated from UGA in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. I knew that I wanted to become a therapist, so I ended up attending Valdosta State University for 3 years in their American family therapy program. I received my Master of Science in marriage and family therapy from there and went on to become a licensed MFT. I am currently working as the Clinical Supervisor at the Walk of Life Counseling Center, LLC with a fellow UGA alumnus, Damaris Solomon Johnson (BS ’08).

How did you get involved with the UGA Alumni Association?

I had been working with the Black Alumni Affinity Group before they were official in 2015. In 2014, I helped with homecoming.  We wanted homecoming to be a staple. We wanted it to be something where black alumni could really feel connected to UGA. We wanted students to see the alumni and be like, “They look like me, and we can connect that way to the university.” Ambré Reed (BSFCS ’09) another member of the Black Alumni Leadership Council, helped me get involved and get connected with the Black Alumni Affinity Group.

What excites you the most about serving on the Black Alumni Leadership Council?

Everything about it excites me. I get to connect with alumni. There are thousands of UGA graduates around the United States. Homecoming is my favorite event, and I look forward to it every year. I’m on the Black Alumni Retention and Engagement Committee, which hosts the homecoming every year. I get so excited to see alumni come back, support and link up with their friends. You get to see the “old school” people coming back, sororities, fraternities and everyone gets to see each other. It’s that ultimate black experience. It’s such a beautiful thing to see at the University of Georgia. The Black Alumni Leadership Council has such a great vision for the black alumni council. We are a minority at this institution, but our alumni need to be highlighted.  It just excites me every year to be more involved and help create more events that our black alumni can participate in.

What was the most important experience you had as a student?

Being part of Pamoja Dance Company my freshman year really helped connect me with other black students. I was one of the only black students from my high school to attend UGA in my class. Pamoja not only helped me get connect with other students, but black students in particular. That was a really important experience for me because I was able to speak with them [other black students], get connected with them, foster relationships with different people, join black organizations on campus and just network with people like me who were interested in doing what I wanted to do. It was helpful for me to feel connected and make friends. It helped me join organizations such as Black Affairs Council, NCNW and the NAACP.

Black Alumni Leadership Council

What is your favorite thing to do when you visit Athens?

When I come with my friends for Homecoming, we enjoy moments that remind of when we were students. We really love to go eat and have a great time. Last year, we went to Choo Choo just to have some nostalgia. Another time we went to Kelly’s on Lumpkin Street. We also go downtown to the bars. Those nostalgic moments remind us of the great times that we had at UGA.

What advice would you give to a current student?

Join the amazing organizations on campus. Whatever your niche is, you should join and do something to give back, get connected and network. I think too many people assume that you only network to get a job, but that’s not true. You can network with your peers on campus and get to know them. It helps you feel like you’re not by yourself. There are people out there who want to help you, but to do that you have to have some type of hub in the form of those organizations. But, don’t overdo it because you are still a student. Joining organizations is part of the experience of college, and it’s a resume builder.

Finish this statement. I am most proud to be a Bulldog when_______?

I am most proud to be a Bulldog when I can help students or a fellow alumni get connected to the institution, help them to launch their careers or be a mentor to them. I love helping them to feel proud of being a student at UGA and encouraging them to remain involved with the institution after graduation.

Have you heard about the 1961 Club?

The 1961 Club is a giving society for donors who support the Black Alumni Scholarship Fund. The 1961 Club was created to engage more than 14,000 living African-American alumni from UGA. The name of the society comes from the year when Hamilton E. Holmes (AB ’63) and Charlayne Hunter-Gault (ABJ ’63) arrived on campus. Click here to learn more.

Groundbreaking broadcaster Monica Kaufman Pearson delivers 2019 Holmes-Hunter Lecture

Monica Kaufman Pearson

Monica Kaufman Pearson delivers the 2019 Holmes-Hunter Lecture in the Chapel. (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

The UGA Chapel was filled with joy, anger, sadness, and, ultimately, hope when the University of Georgia welcomed back alumna Monica Kaufman Pearson (MA ’14) to deliver the annual Holmes-Hunter Signature Lecture on Thursday, Feb. 7.

Named for Dr. Hamilton Holmes (BS ’63) and Charlayne Hunter-Gault (ABJ ’63), UGA’s first African-American students, the lecture series began in 1985 and, each year, invites a distinguished scholar or public figure to speak on race relations, aspects of higher education with implications for race relations and black history.

“We recognize that our collective backgrounds and experiences unite us and they enrich the living and learning environment for our students and for the entire campus community,” said Arthur Tripp, Assistant to the President, introducing Pearson.

“It is our goal to continue to foster a vibrant exchange of ideas by bringing speakers to campus who champion a diversity of thought, ideas and who challenge us to think critically about the pressing issues of the day.”

Pearson’s illustrious career includes being Atlanta’s first woman and first minority to anchor daily news programs. Her reporting has garnered over 30 local and regional Emmys, her long-running “Close-Ups” series has profiled national celebrities and world leaders and she was named a UGA Distinguished Alumni last year, having graduated magna cum laude following her retirement in 2012.

Pearson opened the lecture with several bars of an old spiritual song, then laid bare the history of black oppression in no uncertain terms—a history that stretches into the present day.

“The seed planted was slavery, fertilized by the Civil War, watered during Reconstruction with Jim Crow laws, then pruned and reshaped after the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” said Pearson. “And then finally, with the election of the first black president in 2008, some claimed the roots of racism were uprooted and destroyed. That was a lie.”

Monica Kauffman Pearson with Mary Frances Early

Monica Kaufman Pearson (center) speaks with Mary Frances Early prior to the lecture (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

Pearson documented abuse after abuse, asking “how do the roots of racism continue to grow like kudzu and how do we change that?” At the heart of her solution was action rooted in honesty.

“We must educate people, awaken their sensibilities,” said Pearson. “Speak up, ladies and gentlemen, when you see racism and when you hear racist conversations and you hear horrible jokes from your coworkers, your family and your friends. Speak up.”

Pearson noted that although conversations around race can be uncomfortable, they are necessary. Those in positions of power must examine their prejudices, Pearson said, and those who have been victim to oppression can’t let their ambitions suffer as a result.

“Don’t be afraid to be the first person in your family to do anything,” said Pearson. “Don’t be afraid of being the best you can be. Don’t let other people define you. You define you. Build up your self-esteem. Be the first in your family to go to college, to get a master’s degree, to get a doctorate. Become the first woman president of the University of Georgia.”

Pearson closed with a message of hope, quoting from remarks made by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and positing that prosperity for all relies on intersection, cooperation and communication.

Honored guests at the event included family members of the late Dr. Holmes, UGA’s first African-American graduate, Mary Frances Early, and students from Athens-area and metro Atlanta middle and high schools.

———-

The hope in Pearson’s message lives at the heart of the Holmes-Hunter Lecture and was the driving force in the creation of the Black Alumni Scholarship Fund. Give today to honor the memory of trailblazers like Early, Holmes, Hunter-Gault and Pearson by opening doors for tomorrow’s scholars.

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