Haunted UGA: Spooky stories from around campus

Content warning: The following post includes references to murder, suicide and of course–ghosts! 

The University of Georgia may be known for exceptional school spirit, but did you know that campus is also home to spirits of the supernatural kind? Ghost sightings have been reported around campus practically since the university’s founding, from tales of eerie moans and creaks to full-blown apparitions.  

Many of the university’s most well-known ghost stories are based on historic North Campus, where the university’s first buildings were constructed during the 19th century. In those Greek revival buildings shaded by mighty ancient oak trees, some of UGA’s spookiest tales of terror and tragedy unfolded years ago and continue to frighten visitors today. 

The Waddel Hall Haunting

Waddel Hall, an unassuming white brick building on the main library quad, is the second-oldest building on the UGA campus and currently houses the university’s Office of Special Events. The building has served many purposes since it was completed in 1821, including as a dormitory, boarding house, gymnasium, snack bar and scientific equipment storage. 

In 1918, however, a grisly crime occurred within the building’s four walls that changed its legacy forever. A young soldier returned home from World War I to find his girlfriend had fallen for another man. His friends loaned the couple their room in Waddel Hall so he could try to save the relationship, but sometime in the early morning, gunshots rang out–the soldier had shot his former love and then himself. 

According to the Red and Black, visitors to Waddel Hall over the years report unexplainable sounds and eerie lights coming from the second floor of the building. Could it be the former lovers returning to continue their quarrel? 

Joe Brown Hall’s Staircase to Nowhere

Joe Brown Hall, originally built in 1932 to serve as a men’s dormitory and later converted to an academic building, is known by students for its disorienting winding staircases and narrow hallways. Adding to the confusion is one particular staircase, which seemingly leads to nowhere–those who climb it reach nothing but a solid wall decorated with a photo of a hallway. 

The reason for this bizarre architectural feature has been investigated by popular paranormal shows and reported in the Red and Black. In the early 1970s, when the building was still a dormitory, a student mysteriously died in his dorm room over the Thanksgiving break. 

After janitors discovered the body, the entrance to the room at the top of the stairs was bricked over completely. Those who pass by the staircase today claim that the space has an eerie and unsettling aura, experiencing temperature fluctuations and other oddities. 

The Terrifying Toombs Oak

Between Demosthenian Hall and the UGA Chapel, a sundial marks the former location of the Toombs Oak tree. Robert Toombs, a famous UGA alumnus from the 19th century who served as a lawyer and congressman, is said to haunt Demosthenian Hall via a portion of the tree stump kept on the building’s first floor, according to an article from the Red and Black. 

The legend goes that Toombs was voted as class speaker but expelled for his gambling habit before he could give his speech at commencement. A skilled orator and member of the Demosthenian Literary Society, Toombs gave a rousing speech anyway under the oak tree outside the chapel while the legitimate commencement address happened inside. Years later, it’s said that lightning struck the tree at the moment of his death. 

Members of the Demosthenian Literary Society have claimed to have encountered the ghost of Toombs over the years through pacing noises and apparitions on the second floor. One student who fell asleep in the building late at night awoke to a specter of Toombs laughing menacingly at her from across the room. 

The Candler Hall Poltergeist

Candler Hall, the home of the School of Public and International Affairs, was originally built to serve as a dormitory. In 1905, a student named Willie Lloyd died in his dorm room after accidentally shooting himself while absentmindedly spinning his pistol around his finger. The university’s chancellor at the time, Walter Hill, and a group of students escorted his remains to his family’s burial plot in Atlanta–but there are signs that his spirit never left Candler Hall. 

During the building’s dormitory days, students reported waking suddenly at night to the feeling of someone hovering over them. Faculty have reported hearing unusual noises, as if someone is pacing on the wood floors. The building’s elevator and automatic doors have been known to open and close by themselves, and some claim to have seen ghostly apparitions in the staircases.  

One faculty member even felt someone tap her shoulder as she walked through the first-floor lobby. When she turned to see who it was, she discovered the lobby was empty–and then felt another tap as she left the building.  

Are all of these mysterious occurrences the work of the restless spirit of Willie Lloyd? Or have more than one of the building’s former residents returned to occupy the building in the afterlife? 

These stories may be spooky, but they are a reflection of UGA’s history as the country’s first public institution of higher education. For centuries, this campus has been a place where students’ stories unfold. Sometimes, these tales leave behind an eerie legacy, but often, they are uplifting stories of growth, service and self-discovery. What’s your UGA story?

Seasons change – so should your backgrounds

You asked, and we answered, Bulldogs!

We’ve curated a festive collection of virtual backgrounds for all your fall and winter needs—all UGA-related, of course. From bright, crunchy leaves scattered across campus sidewalks to chilly nights spent in Sanford Stadium, these backgrounds will have you feeling cozy and ready for your next virtual meeting!

So, as the world finds new ways to spruce up online meetings, don’t be afraid to wear your Bulldog pride on your sleeve – or on your screen – this holiday season!

Not a Zoom expert? We’ve got you covered

If your device is compatible with Zoom backgrounds, follow these steps to give your meetings a festive change.

  1. Select your favorite background image(s) and save them to your desktop to make it easier to find during this process.
  2. In Zoom, click your profile image in the top right corner, then click Settings. *The icon for Settings is gray and looks like a gear.
  3. On the menu to the left, click Background & Filters. *The icon is turquoise and looks like a person on a computer monitor.
  4. Click the + icon on the right side of the window. Select “Add Image,” and a window will pop up allowing you to upload a photo from your computer. Navigate to the one(s) you’ve chosen, click on it, and it will appear alongside the other virtual background images in Zoom as an option for you to choose from. *Once you have saved the image, you can delete it from your desktop, since it is now stored in Zoom.
  5. If your background looks like it’s backward, be sure to uncheck the box next to “Mirror my video” under the virtual background images in Zoom.

Want a year-round gallery to choose from?

These UGA backgrounds offer a timeless selection for any Georgia fan!

From Uga to the Arch, here are 6 UGA-themed emojis for World Emoji Day

Are you ever texting a friend on game day and wish you could show your Bulldog spirit with images? Maybe you’re posting a picture of North Campus and can’t express your thoughts with words alone. To celebrate World Emoji Day (July 17), we’ve created 6 UGA-themed emojis we wish were on our keyboards!


Heart Eyes Uga Emoji

Heart Eyes Uga

The Arch Emoji

The Arch

Super G Emoji

Super G

X Eye Gator Emoji

X Eyes Gator

Football Helmet Emoji

Georgia Football Helmet

UGA Bus Emoji


On National Picnic Day, picnic like a Bulldog

April 23 is National Picnic Day. With spring blooming in Athens, it’s time to grab a blanket, pack a meal, invite a few friends and find your favorite outdoor spot at the University of Georgia. There are 700 acres of campus to choose from, and we lined up our top campus spots to help you picnic like a Bulldog.

Founders Memorial Garden

Founders Memorial Garden

Photo: Dorothy Kozlowski, University of Georgia Marketing and Communications

You can’t go wrong with anywhere on UGA’s historic North Campus, but the Founders Memorial Garden offers a quiet escape from the usual bustle of campus. Enter on Lumpkin Street across from Morris Hall to explore the 2.5-acre garden’s network of paths, koi pond and over 300 species of plants.

UGA Horticulture Trial Gardens

UGA Horticultural Trial Gardens

Photo: Dorothy Kozlowski, University of Georgia Marketing and Communications

Whether you have a green thumb or are horticulturally hopeless, the UGA Horticulture Trial Gardens is the perfect spot for the plant lover. Tucked between Snelling Dining Hall and the College of Pharmacy’s R.C. Wilson Pharmacy Building, this spot offers a variety of blooms, shady benches and a dreamy gazebo. Bonus: you can browse the plants being tested by UGA’s horticulture department while you’re there.

Lake Herrick Pavilion and Docks

dock at Lake Herrick

Photo: Andrew Davis Tucker, University of Georgia Marketing and Communications

Located within Oconee Forest Park, the Lake Herrick pavilion and docks offer several spots to soak up the sun on a spring day. Wander the lakeside trail or bring a frisbee to toss with friends.

West End Zone Overlook

aerial shot of Sanford Stadium

Photo: Andrew Davis Tucker, University of Georgia Marketing and Communications

G-Day means we’re creeping closer to fall and football season! If you can’t wait to cheer for the Dawgs as they tee it up between the hedges, feed your anticipation with a picnic on Sanford Stadium’s west end zone overlook. If you have a speaker, queue “Baba Riley,” “Glory” and “Let the Big Dog Eat” to mimic that Saturday-in-Athens feeling.

Coca-Cola Plaza

a green courtyard between two brick buildings

Photo: Dorothy Kozlowski, University of Georgia Marketing and Communications

Nestled in the center of the Terry College Business Learning Community is the Coca-Cola Plaza. This grassy courtyard near the heart of campus is a great spot to share a Coke with a fellow Bulldog. If you forgot your beverages – or your picnic basket – the Au Bon Pain inside the BLC offers coffee and pastry treats.

Turtle Pond

sunlight coming through trees near a pond

Photo: University of Georgia Marketing and Communications

The more, the merrier, right? A picnic at the Mary KahrsWarnell Memorial Garden, also known as the turtle pond, will guarantee a few aquatic guests at your picnic. This secluded spot outside the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources is a South Campus hidden gem.

Myers Quad

a grassy area with students in front of a building

Photo: University of Georgia Marketing and Communications

For the athlete or the social butterfly, Myers Quad is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Bounded by Myers, Rutherford and Mary Lyndon halls, the quad hosts ultimate frisbee games, Spikeball matches and student gatherings big and small.

Herty Field

a fountain and green space in front of a building

Photo: Peter Frey, University of Georgia Marketing and Communications

Reconnect with UGA’s roots at the site of the first UGA football game in 1892. Before the English white bulldog was adopted as UGA’s official mascot, the Mercer Bears lost to the UGA Goats 50-0. That’s right – the UGA goats. This historic site is flanked by Moore College and the beautiful Herty Fountain.

UGA rises to No. 15 among nation’s best public universities ranked by U.S. News & World Report

This article is adapted from a piece originally written by Leigh Beeson for UGA Today.

The University of Georgia has advanced to No. 15 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 ranking of the best public universities in the nation. This marks the fifth consecutive year that UGA has placed in the Top 20, climbing from the No. 16 position last year.

“This outstanding news is yet another clear sign that the University of Georgia is strengthening its position among the very best public research universities in America,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “The consistency of our national ranking is a testament to the commitment of our talented faculty, staff and students; to the generosity and support of our loyal alumni and friends; and to the effectiveness of our vision and strategy to reach new heights of academic excellence.”

UGA is one of two institutions—along with the Georgia Institute of Technology—to make the top 20 from the state of Georgia. Georgia is one of only four states (including California, Virginia and Florida) to have more than one institution in the top 20. In addition, UGA and the University of Florida remain the only two institutions from the Southeastern Conference to be in the top 20.

The University of Georgia shares the No. 15 ranking with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is ranked behind two other institutions tied at No. 13, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Texas at Austin. UGA is just ahead of Ohio State University and Purdue University, which are tied at No. 17.

“Once again, the University finds itself in very good company in this national ranking,” said S. Jack Hu, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “I am confident that as we continue to enhance undergraduate programs, expand our research enterprise, and grow the reputation of our excellent faculty, UGA’s position in reputational assessments will only continue to rise.”

UGA did, in fact, climb in U.S. News’ reputational category this year—a peer assessment rating by presidents, provosts and deans of admissions that accounts for 20% of an institution’s score. In addition, the University continued to perform very strongly in key measures of student outcomes such as retention, degree completion and student selectivity.


A bicyclist rides beside blooming crepe myrtle trees and glowing light posts lining the North Campus sidewalk on a summer evening. (Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA)

UGA’s six-year graduation rate increased to 87%, and its retention rate rose to 96%. Graduation and retention rates comprise the largest percentage of the ranking criteria, accounting for 30% of an institution’s total score.

Another 20% is determined by faculty resources, such as class size and the student-to-faculty ratio. Almost half of all classes at UGA consist of fewer than 20 students, and the ratio of students to faculty members has remained constant at 17 to 1.

Academic quality of the student body also factors into an institution’s total score. The class of 2023, upon which this year’s ranking is based, brought an average high school GPA above 4.0, an average SAT score of 1359 and an average ACT score of a record 31. The percentage of freshmen in the top 10% of their graduating classes remained steady at 60%.

This year’s freshman class also entered the University with a GPA of over 4.0, the fourth consecutive year of the incoming freshman class meeting or exceeding that benchmark. The Class of 2024 also had an average ACT score of 31, tying the previous year’s record-breaking ACT score, and an average SAT score of 1351. As in 2019, fewer than half of 29,065 applicants were accepted.

UGA also earned high marks in several individual categories. The Terry College of Business ranked among the nation’s top 25 Undergraduate Business Programs, and its insurance/risk management program claimed the top spot in the country for insurance and risk management.

In addition, UGA was ranked as one of the top 25 best colleges for veterans.

Support by alumni also factors into UGA’s U.S. News ranking. Thirteen percent of alumni donated to UGA in the final year of the Commit to Georgia comprehensive campaign, which raised a record-setting $1.45 billion by the time it ended on June 30, 2020.

The sweetest surprise on campus: the UGA Creamery

Do you remember visiting the Creamery on campus? Maybe you stopped in for a coffee before your plant biology lab, or for an ice cream cone to celebrate the end of the week. With its convenient location and variety of goodies, the Creamery remains a notable spot on the University of Georgia’s campus.

Since 1908, students and faculty alike have enjoyed the sweet treats of the UGA Creamery. Its original purpose was to serve as a resource for teaching dairy science students about production.

Once the Creamery started serving ice cream, customers couldn’t get enough. “I can remember walking to the creamery with my friends and getting an ice cream for 10 cents,” said Stephanie Dobbins (AB ’91).

Customers checking out at the Creamery

When the Creamery moved to Conner Hall in 1941, it became the main provider of dairy products for the entire Athens area. At the time, it was the only full dairy production plant in the entire state.

Mike Hobbs (AB ’72) recalls the Creamery having “both ice cream and cheese” while he was attending UGA.

Creamery price list

The Creamery has moved around quite a bit from its original location, first to the basement of Conner Hall and then to today’s location in the Environmental Health Science Building.

Creamery to-go bag

Due to budget cuts in the 1990s, the dairy production plant closed and the Creamery began serving Edy’s soft serve and Mayfield ice cream. However, the change hasn’t affected the abundance of customers who flock to the Creamery’s shady outdoor tables to study and enjoy some ice cream.

“When I went there, it wasn’t super hot outside, so I just sat at the bench outside with one of my friends and we got to enjoy the weather,” said Kate Coriell ’21.

UGA Students enjoy an ice cream from the Creamery

Julia Strother ’20, a fellow UGA intern, joined me on a trip to the Creamery to give our Instagram followers a sneak peek at what the Creamery is like today. Watch our Instagram story from Monday, July 22, or stop by the Creamery yourself during your next visit to the Classic City!

Location and Hours:

101 Dairy Science Building
Monday-Friday // 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Click here for directions.

Top 10 picnic spots at UGA

June 18 is apparently International Picnic Day. If you’re like those of us at the UGA Alumni Association, you love a good reason to 1) get outside, 2) eat delicious food, and 3) spend time with fellow Bulldogs.

So today, we are proud to bring you our top 10 list of places to picnic on the University of Georgia campus.

1. Herty Field

Herty Field is home to Herty Fountain and is near the UGA Chapel Bell, so you’re likely to enjoy the sound of celebration as you picnic here. Lay out a blanket on the lawn in front of Moore College or snag a nearby solar-powered picnic table. And don’t forget a Frisbee or football!

2. With Bernard Ramsey

Enjoy your picnic on the bench alongside a statue of Bernard Ramsey, one of UGA’s most generous benefactors. Located on North Campus, just outside of Moore College, good ol’ Bernard is always willing to picnic with students, faculty, staff and visitors. Bonus: you can complete a tradition in the G Book, UGA’s official traditions guide, while you eat!

3. Lake Herrick

Lake Herrick is situated within Oconee Forest Park and adjacent to UGA’s Rec Sports Complex. It provides opportunities for recreation, research and experiential learning. Bring your picnic and afterward, consider taking a walk, trail running, fishing or birdwatching. You can even bring your own canoe, kayak or paddleboard to enjoy the lake. This is a true oasis within the Classic City.

4. State Botanical Garden of Georgia

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is free to visit and there’s plenty of complimentary parking. UGA Public Service and Outreach oversees the garden, which seeks to inspire an appreciation of nature in visitors of all ages. Find your ideal picnic spot in the Flower Garden, Heritage Garden, greenhouses, Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden, Hummingbird Trail, International Garden, Shade and Native Flora Gardens, and Trails and Nature Areas. Prefer to be indoors, check out the Tropical Conservatory.

5. Memorial Garden or Head Terrace

The Memorial Garden is located in the geographic heart of UGA, just outside of the Miller Learning Center, along Sanford Drive. It is an oasis of trees and stone in remembrance of those from UGA who have given their lives in service to our country. Bring a picnic or pick up a bite from the Bulldog Café in the Tate Student Center, and enjoy it while watching students pass by en route to class. Just around the corner is the Jacqueline and John Head Terrace, an outdoor amphitheater-style space on the north side of the Miller Learning Center.

6. North Campus

North Campus, a U.S. National Register of Historic Places, graces the front of many UGA brochures and directly faces downtown Athens. This grassy expanse is our version of the stereotypical “college quad” and is surrounded by numerous historical buildings, including the UGA Chapel, Old College and the Main Library. Snag a spot under a large oak tree and watch as students, faculty, staff, and visitors pass by (or through) the iconic Arch as they enter and exit campus.

7. Latin American Ethnobotanical Garden

Snag a picnic table in this garden just south of Baldwin Hall. Opened in 1998, the garden is managed by UGA’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute and emphasizes the field of ethnobotany, the study of the relationship between people and plants. Word is that there is sometimes even live music taking place in the garden.

8. Founders Memorial Garden

Nestled between Lumpkin Street and North Campus, this garden was the brainchild of Hubert Owens, the founder and first dean of UGA’s landscape architecture program. It features a variety of plants and design styles for teaching, an arboretum in remembrance of those who died in WWII, Lumpkin House, the Boxwood Garden sundial, a time capsule that will be opened in 2091, and an arbor that shades a bench. Featured on p. 36 of the Summer 2018 issue of Georgia Magazine.

9. W. Brooks Mall

The D.W. Brooks Mall is located on South Campus, near the new Science Learning Center. The open green space is perfect for a picnic—followed by a cone from the UGA Creamery (another tradition in the UGA G Book).

10. Between the Hedges

Okay, trick answer. It’s not actually possible to picnic on the (soon to be Dooley) field in Sanford Stadium … but you have to admit, it would be pretty cool.

UGA named No. 13 Best Public University by U.S. News & World Report

As University of Georgia alumni and friends strengthen their commitment to UGA year over year, the world is taking notice—U.S. News & World Report named UGA No. 13 on its list of 2019 Best Public Universities.

This ranking (up three spots from last year’s ranking) represents the power of the ever-increasing support UGA has received in the last several years, particularly from alumni—in fact, a “loyal alumni participation number” factors into the U.S. News & World Report ranking.

Our alumni’s support is critical to UGA’s success, and the stronger UGA becomes, the more accomplished and engaged our alumni become. Yvette Dupree (BBA ’03, MAT ’07, PHD ’12), a member of the Young Alumni Council, is an example of our motivated alumni who understand this well.

“The Young Alumni Council wants alumni to realize that their gifts are vitally important to the university’s ranking and our reputation around the world,” said Yvette. “The better the ranking, the better it is for alumni. It’s a win-win.”

“The Young Alumni Council wants alumni to realize that their gifts are vitally important to the university’s ranking and our reputation around the world. The better the ranking, the better it is for alumni. It’s a win-win.”

Alumni organizations like these empower our alumni and, in turn, empower the university. Our alumni chapters are ready to welcome Georgia Bulldogs all over the world, help them stay connected to UGA, and make sure they never bark alone.

To those who have made a gift to UGA in the last year, thank you for your continued commitment to your alma mater. If you have not already made a gift, please learn more about the Commit to Georgia Campaign and consider making a gift today to count in upcoming rankings.

UGA gardens recognized as some of Georgia’s most charming landscapes

One of the finest things about UGA is its breathtaking landscapes. The book “Seeking Eden: A Collection of Georgia’s Historic Gardens” features three of UGA’s most recognized green spaces — the President’s House and Garden, the Founders Memorial Garden and North Campus.

Seeking Eden Authors

“Seeking Eden,” written by Staci L. Catron and Mary Ann Eaddy, takes readers through the rich history and current appearance of 30 Georgia gardens in detail and alongside beautiful imagery, photographed by James R. Lockhart. The highlighted landscapes were first recognized in the early 20th century publication, “Historic Gardens of Georgia, 1733-1933,” published by Peachtree Garden Club.

Seeking Eden book cover

The publishing of “Seeking Eden” was supported by a $75,000 gift from the Mildred Miller Fort Foundation in Columbus, Georgia. All proceeds from the book sales will benefit the Garden Club of Georgia’s Historic Landscape Preservation grants and scholarship program.

Order your copy of “Seeking Eden: A Collection of Georgia’s Historic Gardens” on UGA Press today.

UGA names building for Sanford and Barbara Orkin

This article was originally published on UGA Today on February 15, 2018.

Writer: David Dodson, Terry College of Business (ABJ ’89)

Third and final phase of the Business Learning Community will open in 2019

The next building to become part of the University of Georgia Terry College of Business will be named for Sanford and Barbara Orkin of Atlanta.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents has approved naming one of the two buildings currently under construction in the third and final phase of the Business Learning Community for the Orkins in recognition of their longstanding support of UGA, including a $5 million gift to the Terry College of Business.

“Sanford and Barbara Orkin’s tremendous generosity will leave an enduring legacy at the University of Georgia,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Their latest gift, which will further enhance the learning environment on our campus, demonstrates their unyielding commitment to supporting the endeavors of our students, faculty and staff.”

The building to be named Sanford and Barbara Orkin Hall—located at the corner of Baxter and Hull streets—will include a large auditorium, undergraduate classrooms, a behavioral lab, a computer lab for marketing research, interview suites and faculty and administrative offices.

“Throughout this building campaign and the construction that followed, creating a modern and vibrant learning community for the Terry College of Business has been our primary goal,” said Dean Benjamin C. Ayers. “We are so grateful to the Orkins for their philanthropic investment in the college’s future, and we look forward to opening and dedicating the final two buildings of the Business Learning Community next year.”

Sanford and Barbara Orkin both attended UGA. Drafted into military service while still a student, Sanford Orkin joined his family’s pest control business after returning from the Korean War and served as president. Following the sale of Orkin Pest Control to Rollins Inc. in 1964, he maintained real estate and business interests in Atlanta and volunteered his time and support to UGA in numerous ways, including as a trustee of the UGA Foundation and UGA Real Estate Foundation.

“Barbara and I love the University of Georgia and are so pleased to continue our support of its academic mission to educate future leaders for the state and nation,” Sanford Orkin said.

The Orkins’ most recent gift extends a remarkable legacy of giving to UGA. The couple has endowed a $1 million scholarship fund for low-income students, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar position in the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases and supported the School of Law, the College of Education, the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, the College of Public Health, UGA Athletics and other academic initiatives.

Phase III of the Business Learning Community is currently under construction. Phase II was completed in 2017.

The university broke ground on Phase III construction of the Business Learning Community in October 2017 after the dedication of Amos Hall, Benson Hall and Moore-Rooker Hall. Terry College faculty and staff moved into the Phase II buildings last summer, and classes began this past fall. Phase I (Correll Hall) was funded entirely by private contributions and opened in 2015. Phase II and III are the result of a public-private partnership between the state of Georgia and hundreds of donors. The Business Learning Community represents one of the largest capital projects in the University System’s history.