Posts

Bulldogs in Blazers: The History of the Arch Society

If you have spent a large sum of time at the University of Georgia, you may have asked, “who are those students wearing matching black blazers?”

The Arch Society, one of the most recognizable student organizations on campus, provides service to the university as official hosts and goodwill ambassadors. Whether cheering on the Dawgs from the front row at home football games, checking in distinguished guests at university ceremonies, or giving tours to local elementary schools, members of the Arch Society—affectionately known as POTA, People of the Arch—serve the university in many contexts.

Arch Society students walk in the centennial homecoming parade

Arch Society students walk in the centennial homecoming parade

Founded in 1992 by Tom Cochran, former assistant vice president for finance and administration within the office of the vice president for student affairs, Arch Society comprises thirty-six members who provide “humble service”—a core concept outlined in the organization’s charter—to university partners.

“Humble service is both a core value and the mission of the Arch Society,” states Sarah Burnett, current Arch Society chair and fourth-year student in the College of Public Health. “For Arch Society members, humble service means honoring the opportunity to give back to your community without an expectation of recognition or credit. Whether serving on an assignment, attending our weekly meetings, or cheering the Dawgs on in Sanford Stadium, humble service is the foundation of all that we do.”

Selected for their dedication and servant-leadership approach to service, members are deeply engaged throughout various university departments and organizations aside from their involvement in Arch Society, from Student Government to University Housing to Multicultural Services and Programs. POTA show their commitment to UGA in and out of the blazer through their various passions around campus.

“Arch Society is unique as a student organization on our campus because our members accept and honor their commitment to humble service,” said advisor and UGA Vice President for Student Affairs, Victor K. Wilson (BSW ’82, MED ’87). “The amazing student leaders who serve as a part of the Arch Society always have a strong work ethic, positive mindset, and deep desire to be dedicated to every assignment they serve on. These leaders make me and so many others on campus proud by serving as role models through their stellar service to the UGA community and so many others.”

Along with working a wide range of assignments across departments, Arch Society maintains a strong culture of bonding both within and without. From gathering for annual Arch Society social traditions to welcoming faculty, alumni and student leaders to share a meal at “Archgiving,” Arch Society is committed to its community.

Arch Society students cheer on the Dawgs at Sanford Stadium

Arch Society students cheer on the Dawgs at Sanford Stadium

This tight-knit community comes with a strong foundation: Arch Society alumni who continue to stay engaged with the organization. Among the most engaged former POTA is Kim Metcalf (BSEH ’93, MS ’96). Kim was a charter member of Arch Society, one of the first to wear the blazer, and she remains engaged with the organization and the university as a whole. Kim serves annually on Arch Society’s selection committee, which is composed of outgoing Arch Society students, university faculty, and Arch alumni, all of whom help select new Arch Society classes.

“UGA gave me so much as a student and shaped me into the woman I am today,” Kim explains. “I decided as a student to forever stay involved with UGA and share my time and treasure as possible. I have always stayed connected to Arch Society—I wanted to make sure that all of our students had an amazing experience just like I did. I’ve been so honored to sit on the selection committee to help the organization continue to flourish.”

During Arch Society’s thirty-one years, tradition and values have remained at the forefront of the organization, and humble service is simultaneously the core value of the organization and its most enduring tradition. So, the next time you see the students in the black blazers cheering at the game or handing you a nametag at a reception, be sure to say hi. There are three decades of hospitality in those jackets, and they’d love to prove it to you.

UGA wins Beat Week (again)

It’s always an exciting matchup when UGA and Auburn go head-to-head, and Beat Week 2022 was no exception.

Beat Week is the philanthropic counterpart to “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry,” and the rules are simple: the university with the most gifts raised during the week leading up to the game wins!

Following UGA’s two consecutive victories, Auburn was looking for their first win this year—and for much of the week, it appeared they might just do it.

However, the UGA community rallied late in the week to take the lead after several days of trading back and forth with Auburn. The result was a double dose of victory for UGA on and off the field. And when the dust settled in the Gift Accounting office, the final score stood:

UGA–2,984

Auburn–1,817

A good coach always acknowledges that every win is a team effort, and that’s certainly true for Beat Week. Everyone played a role: alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff and friends!

UGA’s student body had an impressive outing worthy of SportsCenter’s Top-10 performances; over 700 students flexed their philanthropic muscles and took part in the effort!

Beat Week raised over $1 million to over 300 fund designations across campus supporting scholarships, research, academic programming and a lot more; proving that UGA isn’t just No. 1 in the newest AP Poll, but also in generosity.

Thank you to everyone who made Beat Week a success! GO DAWGS!

Honor your alma mater with a UGA Ring

As the spring semester comes to an end, many seniors are preparing to graduate and begin a new phase of life. As students transition to alumni, seniors can take part in a time-honored tradition: the UGA Ring.

UGA Rings serve as a reminder of one’s achievements and memories from their time at the university. They represent the bond between students and their alma mater, allowing them to bring a piece of UGA with them wherever they may go.

While being worn as a student, the Arch on the ring should face toward the wearer. Once a student graduates, the ring should be turned around so the Arch faces away. As students make that turn, it signifies they are graduates of the University of Georgia.

Nash Davis (BBA ’19), a Terry College of Business alumnus and former Student Alumni Council president, bought a ring during his junior year in 2018. Nash wanted to have a UGA Ring to wear to the various events held by the Alumni Association during his final year at UGA. Even after graduating, Nash wears his ring often, showing it off when he returns to Athens or attends university events. He recommends that everyone consider purchasing a UGA Ring.

 photo of two hands holding UGA rings

“It is an investment for sure, but it is something that you will always be glad you have and are able to wear,” Nash said.

Just by seeing his ring, Nash remembers the hard work he put into his college career and feels a sense of pride. His ring also serves as a great conversation starter with fellow alumni as well as friends within his professional career.

“The first time that an alum recognized my signet ring, it paid for itself. The ability to build those relationships and relate to all sorts of people over a symbol like this is awesome.”

Though Nash bought his UGA Ring as an undergraduate, it’s never too late to get one. Purchasing a ring is open to juniors and seniors with 60+ credit hours as well as alumni. Juniors and seniors who purchase a ring before the end of Ring Week each February can expect to receive their rings in April prior to Commencement. All other orders are filled after Commencement.

There is a wealth of options to customize your UGA Ring. You can choose the metal, engrave a message on the inside of the band, and select the side design to display your degree.

However you choose to customize your UGA Ring, this tradition is more than an accessory. The ring and the Arch are reminders that tradition never graduates.

Family ties lead to lesson in giving

Parents’ philanthropy inspires new generation of Bulldogs

Jeff and Allison Mitchell live on a steady diet of maroon and orange in the college town of Blacksburg, Virginia, where both Jeff and Allison are Virginia Tech alumni, regularly attending football games to cheer on the Hokies. Despite this familiar connection with Virginia Tech, their daughter Elizabeth Grace (ABJ ’21) elected to forge her own path at the University of Georgia.

Elizabeth Grace’s time in Athens offered her an education needed to succeed beyond graduation and it provided valuable lessons around the importance of giving and service. So, while Jeff and Allison may have earned their degrees elsewhere, they’re now building a legacy of giving alongside their daughter at UGA.

New Colors, Same Focus

When Elizabeth Grace arrived on campus, Jeff and Allison instantly joined the Bulldog family, swapping out their Hokies’ attire for red and black. They regularly visited the Classic City during Elizabeth Grace’s four years in Athens, engaging, giving and serving, primarily through service on UGA’s Parents Leadership Council, to demonstrate what a legacy of giving looks like.

“We wanted Elizabeth Grace to understand that supporting her university is something she needed to take the long-term view on,” Jeff said. “Don’t put it off and think ‘I’ll start giving later;’ get started now.”

Giving back is as natural for Jeff and Allison as breathing; they provide ample philanthropic support to a host of institutions and organizations, including their alma mater. They lead by example to ensure those lessons of generous giving are passed on to Elizabeth Grace.

Creating a New Legacy

As graduation neared, Jeff and Allison wanted to honor their daughter’s time at UGA and illustrate why giving is important. The Mitchells decided to recognize her with a legacy gift — a philanthropic gift made in honor of her time at UGA — establishing the Elizabeth Grace Mitchell Student Support Fund.

They sought her involvement, working with her to identify what she wanted the fund to address on campus. Elizabeth Grace recommended that the fund provide financial support to students in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication who are majoring in her field of study, entertainment and media studies (EMST).

“The Mitchell family’s support of student projects will help us fuel EMST film projects – the very heart of the department’s experiential learning efforts,” said Charles Davis (MA ’92) the dean of the Grady College. “This sort of support takes on increasing importance the more hands-on work we do as a college, so we deeply appreciate the fund and what it signifies.”

photo of the Mitchell family with Grady College Dean Charles Davis

Jeff and Allison Mitchell (far left and right) with their daughter, Elizabeth Grace Mitchell (AB ’21) and Grady College Dean Charles Davis (MA ’92) in December 2021.

The fund also gives the opportunity for Elizabeth Grace to engage philanthropically with UGA right after graduation. She’ll contribute directly to it, allowing her to start her own journey of giving while building a legacy that endures long after she’s graduated.

More Opportunities with PLC

In addition to the legacy gift, the Mitchells joined the Parents Leadership Council (PLC) during Elizabeth Grace’s freshman year. Ultimately, this decision launched the couple’s philanthropic journey at UGA.

The PLC offered the chance for their family to build a meaningful connection with the university, including a social network that Jeff and Allison could trust would support Elizabeth Grace during her time in Athens. The service-oriented group provides funding through parents’ annual gifts to various student programs and initiatives on campus.

In the last decade, the group has awarded more than $3.8 million to undergraduate student organizations and is the top supporter of the President’s Venture Fund. The response to these types of needs, as well as the opportunity to help prioritize what needs should be addressed, resonated with Jeff and Allison. It allowed them to proactively help determine how their contributions improved campus—something they offered their daughter when setting up the Elizabeth Grace Mitchell Student Support Fund.

Forever Connected to the Bulldog Family

For Jeff and Allison, establishing the legacy gift for Elizabeth Grace is the culmination of a series of relationships, experiences and opportunities that ultimately will connect them to UGA for the rest of their lives.

“Everybody knows the University of Georgia, but to have your daughter attend from out-of-state and understand the brand and the legacy here, it’s just special,” Jeff said. “We’ve met many, many passionate UGA alumni, and their joy and passion are infectious. You spend any time here, and you just get it. So, we’re happy to celebrate Elizabeth Grace and support the University of Georgia.”

Jeff and Allison hope their philanthropy will inspire other Bulldog parents to establish their own legacies in honor of their students’ UGA experiences. Doing so enables the next generation to strengthen UGA by creating new avenues to success for future Bulldogs.

Want to know more? Consider being a part of parent philanthropy at UGA and establishing your own legacy gift to benefit future generations of Bulldogs! Learn more about UGA’s Parent Fund and Parent Leadership Council.

Learn More About the Parent Fund Learn More About the PLC

Written by Johnathan McGinty (ABJ ’00)

Turn up the volume and jam your way to Indianapolis

The Bulldogs are heading to Indianapolis, vying for a National Championship victory over Alabama on January 10. Whether you’re enduring the 9-hour drive to Lucas Oil Stadium or cheering on the Dawgs from Athens, a good old-fashioned playlist will help you prepare for an epic showdown in Indy.

From “Glory” and “Baba O’Riley” to “Dooley’s Junkyard Dogs” and “In the Air Tonight,” we’ve got you covered with over 140 songs in our Road to Indianapolis: National Championship Edition playlist.

Watch out, Bama. “The Boys are Back in Town” and are looking to rise up “Against the Tide.” “I Gotta Feeling” that our Dawgs are going to “Rock You Like a Hurricane” come January 10. “Don’t Stop Believin’,” Bulldog Nation!

You are the company you keep

Today, as part of the UGA Mentor Program‘s observance of National Mentoring Month, we’re celebrating “I am a UGA Mentor Day.” If you’re a mentor (or a mentee), you’re in fine company! Consider some famous mentorship pairings through time:

Henry David Thoreau was mentored by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

This happened back in the day when, apparently, everyone used three names.

Aretha Franklin mentored Mariah Carey.

The Queen of Soul taught the Songbird Supreme a few things about R-E-S-P-E-C-T in the music industry. In 1998, the two powerhouses joined forces to sing “Chain of Fools.”

Professor Albus Dumbledore mentored Harry Potter.

Potter’s guide at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry shared whimsy, humor and sage advice: “We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.”

Mahatma Gandhi mentored beyond limits.

Neither time nor geography stopped the influence of Gandhi. Even though Gandhi never met these leaders, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama cited Gandhi as an influential mentor.

Obi-Wan Kenobi mentored Luke Skywalker.

Examples of mentoring relationships are found throughout Star Wars storylines. You can’t talk about mentorship without mentioning Obi-Wan and Luke’s Jedi relationship.

With members like these, who wouldn’t want to be part of this club?

Not every famous person is mentored by a celebrity. Sure, Oprah was mentored by Maya Angelou, but she also counts Mrs. Duncan, her 4th grade teacher, as a mentor whose influence was vital to her development. Neither woman was famous at the time.

Socrates mentored Plato … and Plato mentored Aristotle.

Don’t get too philosophical about it, but these Greeks made it clear that the gift of mentorship keeps giving.

Mentorship has its privileges.

Mentorship is a two-way street. There are benefits to both sides of the relationship. Check out a few of the UGA Mentor Program’s successful pairings.

As the saying goes: “You are the company you keep.” Make sure it’s Dawg-gone good company. Join the UGA Mentor Program.

UGA Class of 2021 sets new Senior Signature participation record

The University of Georgia Class of 2021 set a Senior Signature record with 3,009 students making a gift to the university prior to graduation. This is the fifth consecutive year that the graduating class broke the preceding class’s participation record and the highest donor count in the program’s 30-year history.

Students are asked to contribute to UGA through the Senior Signature program during their final year on campus. In appreciation for giving back to the university, students’ names are included on a plaque in Tate Plaza in the heart of campus.

“This record is a true sign of the senior class’s Bulldog tenacity,” said Kevin Nwogu, Student Alumni Council president-elect who also helped lead this year’s campaign. “They managed challenges presented by the pandemic alongside preparing for graduation—and still made room to give back to their soon-to-be alma mater.”

Senior Signature allows students to select any fund on campus to receive a portion of their gift—and students often select a program or department that enhanced their college experience. This year’s minimum donation was $30 in honor of Senior Signature’s 30th anniversary.

This year, the Student Alumni Council, which educates the student body on how philanthropy at UGA improves lives, launched a new component to Senior Signature in which donors to the program vote on a student organization to receive a grant from the Senior Signature endowed fund. The hope is that this new initiative will build a ‘philanthropic cycle’ in which students donate, direct and receive funds—building an understanding of the power of private support at universities like UGA.

Senior Signature was established in 1991. Since then, more than 40,000 students have donated to UGA through the program—their names still visible on the plaques in Tate Plaza.

Learn more about Senior Signature at alumni.uga.edu/seniorsignature.

Now open: UGA Engagement Center

UGA Engagement Center Grand OpeningInnovation offers experiences for discovery. With extensive planning and partnerships, UGA’s Division of Development and Alumni Relations is discovering ways to expand and increase alumni participation and engagement.

The UGA Engagement Center is a nexus for this initiative. In its new facility located one block east of the Arch, DAR and the Engagement Center work in concert to communicate with alumni and friends about opportunities for support and participation.

By incorporating new digital technologies, the Engagement Center aims to create meaningful conversations between alumni and students, while expanding the scope of texting and video interaction. A team of 80+ student representatives shares updates from campus, opportunities to support UGA initiatives, and information relevant to alumni affinities.

After 25 years of calling alumni, the Engagement Center now offers a modern-day approach to connecting with alumni and utilizing smartphone capabilities. From visual caller ID technology to texting direct links for event registration and gift-giving, Engagement Center student representatives are enhancing UGA’s reach. You may even see a student you spoke with on the phone “face-to-face” in a video message.

The possibilities technology offers are exciting; and the Engagement Center is excited to connect you with UGA in new ways!

Write a letter to an incoming student in your old residence hall

Some of the fondest memories for UGA alumni come from living in the residence halls, and in just a few short months, the Class of 2024 will begin its journey on campus.

What if you could write a letter to the incoming residents of your old residence hall? What advice or memories would you share with them? University Housing is collecting and distributing letters written by students and alumni to deliver to residents’ mailboxes for them to open when they arrive in August. You can even see a letter counter for each dorm!

“The Class of 2024 will arrive on campus with many doubts about what the year will look like,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00, MED ’16), executive director of alumni relations. “These letters show incoming students all they have to look forward to, and that there’s a Bulldog network around the world to support them. My first-year roommate and I are best friends to this day because of the bond we formed in Brumby Hall. We can’t wait to write letters to new students.”

To write a letter, use the online form and share a short message–250 words–with an incoming resident. University Housing will print, package and deliver it for you. Here’s an example letter:

Dear resident,
Welcome to your new home! My name is Taylor and I graduated from UGA in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. During my first year at UGA, I lived in Mary Lyndon and had the best time. Some of my favorite memories included staying up late with friends to watch American Idol in the basement and Snellebrating after finishing a really difficult exam. I hope that this year brings you lots of fun memories in Mary Lyndon, it is such a special place to live. My one piece of advice for you is to not underestimate the amount of time it takes to walk to the bus stop – I spent many a morning sprinting to make it to the stop in front of Soule Hall. Also, don’t worry if it takes you a while to find your ‘people;’ I found mine later than expected, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Wishing you the absolute best year at UGA!
Go Dawgs! Taylor, Class of 2007

Long after they are sent, letters are read, appreciated and kept by recipients. These letters will leave a lasting memory for incoming students that shows that Bulldogs Never Bark Alone — especially during uncertain times.

“The residence halls have always been and will continue to be a place where memories are made, friendships are built, and communities are formed,” said Jessica Keever (BS ’18), University Housing public relations specialist. “By submitting a letter, past residents provide a physical reminder of how strong the Bulldog community is both inside and outside the halls. We’re excited to facilitate this initiative and hope all past residents will submit a letter to welcome the next generation of Bulldogs.”

Please submit letters via the Key Notes Submission Form until Wednesday, July 15. Visit University Housing for more information and contact housing@uga.edu with any questions.

UGA Greek councils create two $100K Georgia Commitment Scholarships

The University of Georgia Panhellenic Council and UGA Interfraternity Council each gave $100,000, matched by the UGA Foundation, to establish two endowed, need-based scholarships through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program.

“We are so excited by and proud of these councils and their member organizations,” said Victor K. Wilson, vice president of student affairs. “Our students understand the value of a UGA education, and to see them commit to providing that opportunity to others—in perpetuity—is inspiring.”

The Panhellenic Council governs UGA’s 19 female fraternities and sororities that are members of the National Panhellenic Conference, and the Interfraternity Council represents 26 member fraternities at the University. The two councils gave to these scholarship funds on behalf of their member organizations, and both scholarships will support an incoming freshman in the 2020 fall semester.

“The students that contributed to these gifts are among the most engaged and motivated at the University, but this goes above and beyond,” said Eric Atkinson, associate vice president of student affairs. “Their commitment to UGA will now live far beyond their years on campus and will enrich the University forever.”

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.

“The Panhellenic Council holds service among our four core values, and what better way to make an impact than serving our direct community?” said Jennings Brooks, Panhellenic Council president. “By giving to the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Fund, we are ensuring that our legacy’s impact will go beyond the Panhellenic Community, impacting the University as a whole for years to come.”

Since the matching program’s creation in 2017, over $77 million has been dedicated to need-based aid, with over 330 donors giving to the program. Scholarship recipients also benefit from academic support in the form of tutoring, workshops, academic coaching and more.

“To make the UGA experience more accessible for future generations of Bulldogs is truly special,” said Brennan Cox, UGA Interfraternity Council president. “At the onset of our term, we challenged ourselves to be campus leaders—not just fraternity leaders—and this is our commitment to doing just that.”

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.