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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.

You can sing “Glory, Glory,” but can you sign it?

🎶 Glory, glory to old Georgia! Glory, glory to old Georgia! 🎶

With the start of football season, the rally song of the Bulldog Nation hums a continuous tune in the hearts and minds of every Georgia fan.

🎶 … G-E-O-R-G-I-A! 🎶

There’s nothing quite like an entire stadium joining together in perfect unison to sing “Glory, Glory,” the silence before the solo trumpeter belts the first 14 notes of the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation, or the clang of the Chapel Bell after every victory.

But, have you ever considered what a UGA football game would be like without sound?

Luke Bundrum ’19, who was born deaf and got a cochlear implant at age 3, says that the in-stadium visuals and watching the Bulldogs play keep his attention during football games.

“When I go to the UGA football game, I don’t really pay much attention to the sound,” Luke said. “The game is very visual and there is a large video board, as well as closed captioning monitors. So, I spend most of my time getting in the spirit and watching the game.”

Luke is also the president of the ASL Dawgs, an interest- and academic-based organization that seeks to provide educational opportunities for all students interested in learning about American Sign Language and Deaf culture.

“Deaf Culture on UGA’s campus is small, but vibrant,” Luke said.

In celebration of Deaf Awareness Month and Bulldog football, we’ve teamed up with the ASL Dawgs to teach alumni, fans and friends how to sign one of the most iconic Bulldog songs, “Glory, Glory.”

So, are you ready to learn? Follow along as Luke and the rest of the ASL Dawgs show us how it’s done!

 

Think you’re ready to try signing “Glory, Glory” on your own? We’ve broken down each step below.

STEP 1: Let’s start by learning the phrase “Glory, Glory to old Georgia.” First, let’s learn the sign for Glory.”
STEP 2: Now to learn the rest of the phrase, “… to ole.”
STEP 3: Let’s complete the phrase. In this case, we will sign G and A instead of Georgia.
STEP 4: Repeat steps 1-3!
STEP 5: Now, let’s sign out G-E-O-R-G-I-A. Practice each letter below.
STEP 6: You’re getting the hang of it! Repeat steps 1 through 5 one last time!

Have you mastered signing “Glory, Glory?” Show us! Share your videos with us by tagging @ugaalumni on social media.

How Computer Science became one of UGA’s most popular majors

Journalism, business administration, pharmacy, computer science: believe it or not, these majors are in ascending order of total enrollment at the University of Georgia.  

In fact, computer science has the fourth highest enrollment among all majors at UGA. And the graduate degree computer science program is the fastest growing program on campus, having seen a 60 percent enrollment increase from fall 2013 to fall 2018. 

Combine that with the undergraduate program’s 153 percent rise in enrollment in the last five years and you have, undeniably, one of UGA’s most popular departments. We talked with several CS alumni to ask them about their experience and find out more. 

Established in 1984, the Department of Computer Science in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at UGA has expanded to include more than 195 enrolled graduate students and over 1,100 undergraduates. Lori Kittle (BS ’86) was among the first graduates with a degree in computer science.  

“I simply felt like the future would be all about the computer, although I certainly did not envision all the advances that have occurred,” said Kittle. Along with the coursework, Kittle said, “One of my favorite memories at UGA is making lifelong friendships with my fellow CS classmates.” 

Kittle attributes her successful career, including a stint as the Chief Information Officer at Landry’s, Inc.—a $4 billion restaurant, hospitality, and entertainment businessto her education at UGA. She demonstrated her appreciation of the department when she created a scholarship fund for computer science students. Kittle also serves on the department’s advisory board, which provides industry input that helps guide curriculum for the program.  

Like Kittle, Maja Culum (BS ‘19) chose to study computer science because she knew “coming into the university that technology was becoming prevalent within every field,” and there was no way around interacting with it. Culum, who was hired full-time in the UI/UX department at NCR Corporation, believes studying computer science at UGA allowed her to “choose a role within the tech industry that suited her strengths and interests.” 

“That’s what I like most about Computer Science: it’s never limiting, and there’s so much to choose from,” said Culum. My experience in the Department of Computer Science at UGA was both challenging and incredibly rewarding. The professors are knowledgeable and always willing to help, which encouraged me to stick with the major despite the challenges. 

The comprehensive coursework and faculty expertise Culum credits have also led to the growing recognition of the department. Dr. Thiab Taha, UGA Computer Science department head, believes the diversity in research expertise and the increasing number of courses provides students the opportunity to choose the path they are most interested in.  

Students interested in engaging in technology-centric extracurricular activities can join one of many clubs and groups, including Data Dawgs or UGA Hacks, which hosts a hackathon every spring on campus. The UGA Computer Science department also houses the Institute for Cybersecurity and Privacy, which was designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research (CAE-R) through academic year 2022. 

Muhammed Ahmed’s (BS ‘18) passion for problem solving drew him to major in computer science at the University of Georgia, but it was the countless opportunities available within the department that he loved most about his studies.  

“Majoring in computer science helped me secure my dream job,” said Ahmed, a data scientist at Mailchimp. “The program provided me with a strong technical foundation and the soft skills I need to communicate effectively. I had the chance to learn through clubs, research projects, hackathons and many on-campus events.” 

All of the above are reasons a firm like Forrester Research calls Atlanta one of the US’ five elite tech talent markets. As businesses continue to take advantage of this rich market, UGA CS graduates are reaping the benefits, finding positions in global organizations like NCR, The Home Depot and AT&T.  

There appears to be no slowdown in the rise of computer science at UGA, either. Employers and partners of the university are finding new ways to directly engage students through career and internship fairs, UGA Hacks’ hackathon, student organizations and industry panels. And as UGA CS alumni continue their career progression and become the leaders of those employers and UGA partners, UGA’s tech talent pipeline will only become stronger.