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

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

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

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


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



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


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

Black Alumni Leadership Council  


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


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


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


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


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


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

Women of UGA Leadership Council  


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


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


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


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


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

Young Alumni Leadership Council  


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


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


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


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


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


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

Chloe Washington (BS ’07) is here to help

Chloe Washington (BS ’07) is a woman filled with passion. She is passionate about her work, passionate about helping children and passionate about the University of Georgia.

As a senior program manager in marketing operations at Mailchimp in Atlanta, she loves working for an organization focuses on helping small businesses be successful, and she enjoys mentoring those early in their career to help them acquire the skills to succeed and find their career passion.

Washington is equally passionate about the University of Georgia. In high school, she wanted to attend a good school with lots of team spirit, and UGA fit the bill. She still gets chills when she heads to Athens because it feels like coming home; she met some of her closest friends at UGA, and she stays in touch with former professors. She graduated in 2007 with a fashion merchandising degree from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and then found her way into project management. There’s been no stopping her since.

She makes it a habit to attend events with several alumni groups, including Women of UGA, UGA Black Alumni and UGA Young Alumni. She participates in UGA’s “Give That Dawg a Bone,” by writing letters to incoming freshmen. She finds it fulfilling to share tips and advice with these new students. She always includes her email address and some of the students keep in touch with her throughout their college career.

Washington’s best advice to college students is to find a balance between freedom and discipline, and to leave space to explore new options.

“There’s nothing wrong with changing course, and being willing to pivot can lead to new opportunities,” Washington says.

In addition to helping college students, Washington is passionate about helping children. She has spent a lot of time volunteering with a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring joy to children experiencing homelessness through the magic of birthdays. Although the organization is headquartered in Dallas, Washington saw a great need for it in Atlanta, and she was instrumental in helping to get it started there. It is now a regular program at three different shelters in Atlanta.

Washington also has had the opportunity to share her love of the Bulldogs with her cousin and uncle, who also attended UGA.

“Football season is really an exciting time for my family because red and black runs deep in our blood,” Washington says.

At home with the kids this summer?

By Frances Beusse and Jennifer Johnson, UGA Alumni Association

Summer is officially here, but it looks a little different than those past. If your traditional summer plans have been canceled, we’ve put together a few UGA-themed activities to enjoy with your kids instead.

Scroll through each section below (swipe on mobile) and have a wonderful summer, Dawgs!

Head Outdoors

State Botanical Garden of Georgia

Scavenger Hunt

Explore the great outdoors by participating in one of the many scavenger hunts available at the Botanical Gardens of Georgia.

Green Thumb

Plant a garden with tips from UGA Extension Office and 4-H.

Concrete Canvas

Grab some chalk and create your best “Go Dawgs,” Super G or Bulldog driveway art.

Get Active

UGA Cross Country Student Athlete Morgan Green Training

Dancing Shoes

Candace Haynes is teaching virtual dance classes presented by the Black Alumni Leadership Council. Check the alumni events calendar to attend the next one!

Football Ready

Get in football shape! UGA Football Director of Strength and Conditioning Scott Sinclair has posted several workouts on Twitter so you can follow along at home.

Read Together

UGA Alumni Author Books for Kids

Young Adults

Is your older child into the Young Adult Fantasy genre? Check out Rebecca Ross (AB ’12) and Jackson Pearce (AB ’07), authors who both graduated from Franklin College with degrees in English.

The Magician’s Hat

For younger readers, check out “The Magician’s Hat” by former UGA football player and Super Bowl champion, Malcolm Mitchell (AB ’15).

Virtual Camp

In addition to writing children’s books, Malcolm also provides a free summer READCamp for K-12 students through his Share the Magic Foundation.

Be A Star

Rennie Curran (BBA ’17) is a former UGA Football player and Class of 2020 40 Under 40 Honoree. He wrote the children’s book, “What Does It Take To Be A Star?” with his daughter Eleana.

Enjoy the Arts

UGA Student Playing the Trumpet

At Home Museum

Explore the Georgia Museum of Art at Home. Learn more about glass art and oil abstractions—or find toddler activities like swipe art and more.

Concerts

Watch Hodgson at Home presented by the UGA School of Music.

Coloring Time

Uga X Coloring PageGrab your crayons, markers or colored pencils and enjoy these coloring pages from the UGA Alumni Association and UGA Athletic Association—no need to stay in the lines!

Take a Virtual Trip

UGA Sanford Stadium Aerial

Alaska

Learn about Alaskan native culture and traditions by watching 2019 Peabody Nominee Molly of Denali on PBS Kids.

Sanford Stadium

Do your kids like Minecraft? Take a Minecraft virtual tour of Sanford Stadium or check out the 2020 virtual Commencement created by UGA students.

Camp

Virtually visit 4-H summer camps supported by UGA and participate in daily activities ranging from environmental education to livestock judging!

For more information and resources, please visit the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, 4-H or Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Women of UGA Leadership Council members rise to the occasion

Three members of the Women of UGA Leadership Council saw a need in their communities or workplaces during the current COVID-19 pandemic and chose to respond in big ways. We hope their stories inspire others to seek the opportunities to offer encouragement and assistance in their own communities and circles of influence. Find out more about Women of UGA.

The Power of a Picture: Caitlin Murphy Zygmont (ABJ ’02) and Devon Moore Targer (BBA ’96)

A small gesture can make a great impact. Realizing the power of a simple smile, two University of Georgia alumnae set out to boost morale in their neighborhood and making a difference in their community.

When Caitlin Murphy Zygmont (ABJ ’02) and Devon Moore Tarter (BBA ’96) became next-door neighbors, they became friends too. Both began to search for a way to help when the pandemic arose, while keeping themselves and their children safe. Caitlin reach out to Devon when she came across The Front Steps Project, in which photographer travel to people’s homes to photography them on their front steps, from a distance, to raise money for charity. They raised more than $9,000 for The Giving Kitchen and Table & Aid. To date, the pair has safely photographed and edited more than 170 family portraits!

Caitlin

Devon (left) and Caitlin (right)

Caring for the Caregivers: Laura Jalbert (BSW ’99, MSW ’00)

While many support efforts are focused on the front-line workers in hospitals, we know that caregivers and family members within Assisted or Independent Living communities around Metro Atlanta also find themselves on the front lines. Laura Jalbert (BSW ’99, MSW ’00) saw a need in those groups, so she and her staff at Mindful Transitions designed and volunteer in support groups to aid the unique needs of caregivers affected by separation from loved ones due to social distancing measures. Participants for the groups include resident caregivers (often spouses) living within the community as well as loved ones who live outside of the community. The groups are being conducted online via Google Meet and are each limited to ten participants.

In the Caregiver Support Group, Mindful Transitions staff facilitates supportive discussion of the unique challenges of being a caregiver right now. The group allows the participants to meet with other community members who are also seeking support and growth as they navigate this new frontier. This group is designed to support caregivers who are providing care both in their homes and those who, because of social distancing, currently provide care from afar. The group focuses on supporting the experience of members, helping them understand they are not alone, and providing tools for healthy coping.

Mindful Transitions Logo

The team at Mindful Transitions is also offering volunteer support group services to staff and professional caregivers in congregate living environments like Assisted Living, Independent Living, and Skilled Nursing. These Professional Caregiver Support Groups are for professional staff who care for older adults as an effort to help them cope with the extreme stress levels and grief associated with caring for the daily needs of older adults, while they manage taking care of themselves and their own families. The group focuses on supporting the experience of members, helping them understand that they are not alone, and providing tools for healthy coping.

If you know someone who is interested in joining these confidential groups, please contact Janie at jmardis@mindfultransitions.com or (802) 777-8232. These services are provided at no charge.

Mindful Transition Volunteer Project Team

Janie Mardis, LCSW-Coordinating the Volunteer Project
Maria Walker, LCSW-Volunteer (UGA-BSW ’91)
Denise Greenberger, LCSW-Volunteer (UGA-BSW ’83, MSW ’85)
Irit Lantzman, LCSW-Volunteer (UGA-MSW ’08)
Amy McWilliams, LCSW-Volunteer (UGA-MSW ’04)

Being a Guide During Uncertain Times: Quanza Griffin (ABJ ’01)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently has 4,367 staff members dedicating time to prevent and control the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many of them stepped up to work nonstop on these goals, including Quanza Griffin (ABJ ’01), a member of the 2018 UGA 40 Under 40 class.

Quanza and CDC director Robert Redfield.

Quanza and CDC director Robert Redfield.

Quanza is a public health advisor with 20 years of public health experience at the federal and state level, and put that to use when she answered the call and to deploy to the CDC Emergency Operations Center as the lead operations coordinator for the Community Intervention Task Force (CITF). The CITF creates guidance documents to help public and private sectors ensure they are able to operate and adapt during the pandemic. Quanza put in long hours during this time, working more than 16 hours a day for seven days a week to ensure the task force had the necessary staff, budget, systems, and policies in place to meet key deadlines.

“As the lead operations coordinator, my goal was to provide excellent customer service to the hundreds of staff on the task force. Many of our scientists worked on developing guidance documents that sometimes required a very short turn-around to be shared with CDC and other federal leaders,” said Quanza. “My goal was to make their jobs less stressful by focusing on other important functions needed to keep the team operating.”

Quanza managed a team of 10 people with a variety of roles. Daily activities included leadership decisions related to function and operations of the task force, development of policies and spend plans, forecasting, and last, but probably most important, keeping office space exciting with snacks and fun.

“There would be times we would be in deep conversations and hear a random, silly noise coming from someone’s computer as they played with noise makers. As anyone could imagine, there were some tense days and nights, but we found ways to keep the atmosphere light and fun. Before my deployment ended, many of the team sent great pictures of their fur babies and children. Keeping a nice ambiance amongst our task force helped us get the work done.”

Quanza says the most challenging part of being deployed was the time away from her kids, Kylah (age 6) and Christopher (age 4). “I had to sacrifice a lot of quality time with them to focus on the response. I am thankful for supportive family who stepped up and helped out during this time,” she said.

Quanza and her kids

Quanza and her kids

During Public Service Recognition Week (May 3-9), Quanza was nominated by fellow public health professional for outstanding contributions to public service and the mission of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She received an HHS virtual Star Card Award.

Quanza is not alone in her dedication to the health and safety of the American public, as there are thousands of CDC staff working nonstop in response to this pandemic. The Bulldog community is thankful to everyone who is helping to make our world healthier and safer. Learn more about staying safe and healthy on the CDC’s coronavirus website. Follow the CDC on social media Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Keep up-to-date with UGA Alumni and ways you can help during this time on our COVID-19 news and resources page.

Accomplished alumnae mentor series goes virtual

This post was written by Rachel Webster (ABJ ’08), member of the Women of UGA Council.

Early on a recent Monday morning, a cohort of UGA alumnae prepared their breakfasts, poured their coffee into their favorite mugs, and got together for an inspiring panel discussion. Virtually, of course, each participant joining from their personal computer. It was the Women of UGA Leadership Council’s first Mentorship Monday hosted remotely in this time of social distancing.

The Mentorship Monday series is a unique opportunity for women in the metro-Atlanta area to discuss professional development topics and grow their professional network. Each cohort of approximately 50 participants meets six times, normally in-person, for a breakfast and discussion on leadership and career topics featuring other illustrious UGA alumnae. For this session, the Women of UGA Leadership Council’s Mentorship Committee decided to continue the discussion while keeping all the participants safe by moving the whole event online.

Mentorship Mondays Online

Virtual Mentorship Monday panel: moderator Women of UGA Council Member Laura Jalbert (BSW ’99, MSW ’00) and panelists Robbin Steed (ABJ ’85), Jennifer Bellamy (ABJ ’08), Christie Diez (ABJ ’12), and Amanda White (MBA ’16)

The latest event featured a panel of women who have built their careers at 11Alive and TEGNA in Atlanta. Jennifer Bellamy (ABJ ’08), Christie Diez (ABJ ’12), and Amanda White (MBA ’16) were featured in a panel discussion moderated by Robbin Steed (ABJ ’85) and hosted by Women of UGA Council Member Laura Jalbert (BSW ’99, MSW ’00).

With this dynamic group, topics ranged from the importance of mentorship in building and advancing a career, how COVID-19 has affected the work and professional schedules of the panelists, and stories and tips from inside the television and media worlds. Mentorship Monday participants were able to submit their questions to the panel real-time via the ZOOM meeting interface.

Women of UGA Council Member Crystal Filiberto (AB ’07) attended the virtual session and noted that while the usual in-person fellowship was lacking, she appreciated how personal the session still felt. “In a time that we are being asked to cancel events, keep distance between us and our loved ones, and shelter in place, I think people are yearning to find some sense of normalcy and comfort. Connection looks different these days.”

As often happens in Mentorship Monday sessions, Crystal also distilled a valuable takeaway from the speakers: “Don’t wait for a title. You can be a leader from any position.” To her, that meant tapping into compassion and kindness as every person works through the effects of the virus on our communities. “Be a leader from any position, including from my makeshift desk during a pandemic,” she summarized.

The Women of UGA Leadership Committee is committed to creating other opportunities for alums to connect, virtually until in-person meetings are viable and safe. Find out more at the Women of UGA webpage or on their social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

2020 Bulldog 100 Spotlight: A Network of Loyal Bulldogs

Written by: Maggie Griffin of Maggie Griffin Designs

I grew up in the small, tight-knit community of Hawkinsville, Georgia. The kind of welcoming small-town where you know everyone, and where you’re related to half the county. And the neighboring county too! When I began my freshman year at the University of Georgia in 2002, I was so comforted to see some of those familiar faces from our small town, right there on the big campus of the University of Georgia.

This past fall, when the Bulldog 100 list was announced, I was proud to again see several of those names sharing the honor with me. Hardy’s Peanuts is interwoven into my life, as we grew up on neighboring farms where Ken Hardy (BSA ’93) and Brad Hardy (BSA ’96), along with their family, now run their family farm. I sure wish our grandparents were here to celebrate this achievement with us; they would be so proud! Robert Moore (BSAE ’04), of Moore Civil, is a childhood friend from home, and his wife, Courtney, and I have been great friends since we were kids. He and his brother, Michael Azzolin (PHARMD ’02) (also from Hawkinsville), of PharmD on Demand, get to share this honor together this year, too. It’s been a joy to be included on this list alongside hometown friends and to share that same entrepreneurial spirit with them that we’ve inherited from generations before us.

My husband, David, and I now call Gainesville, Georgia, “home.” We’ve loved getting to know the amazing people who also call this charming “big” small-town “home,” and we are proud to be raising our two boys here as well. The close proximity to Athens is one of our favorite things about the city. Gainesville has been great in supporting my small business and David’s too.

The city has a fantastic community of women business owners, and I am thrilled to see two of my friends on this year’s Bulldog 100 list. Amanda Wilbanks (BBA ’09), of Southern Baked Pie Company, fed me pie in her home kitchen while I was pregnant with my oldest child (who is now almost 7!), before opening her first shop. I am proud of her incredible vision and I sure do love her pies too! Katie Dubnik (BBA ’03), another fellow female business owner and entrepreneur in Gainesville, shares the list with Amanda and me. Her extraordinary business brings invaluable marketing strategies to companies across the Southeast, and she manages a smart, energetic group of creatives at her company, Forum Communications.

I will be forever indebted to the University of Georgia for my education and for the opportunities that this wonderful university has afforded to me and to my family. The network of loyal Bulldogs never ceases to amaze me, and I am so proud to be among this incredible group this year.

Employee engagement a key to success, says nonprofit leader

This story was originally posted to the UGA School of Social Work website on Oct. 24, 2019, and was written by Adelia Henderson.

When it comes to running a successful organization, concepts like determination and loyalty often come to mind. But sometimes, a key to success can be something as small as switching out flooring.

Pamela Landwirth (AB ’73), found this out during the bi-annual ‘Cookies and Conversation’ meetings she holds with her staff at Give Kids the World Village, a nonprofit retreat in central Florida for children with critical illnesses and their families.

Landwirth, president and CEO of the organization, spoke about nonprofit leadership and management on Oct. 11 at Studio 225, the new University of Georgia Student Center for Entrepreneurship. The event was sponsored by the UGA School of Social Work. She said when she first started at Give Kids the World Village in 1992, there were only 32 villas and less than 40 employees, so interaction with all the employees was easy.

However, as the Village began to grow, Landwirth said she started “Cookies and Conversation” to stay engaged with employees on that micro level.

“Money is not a motivator,” she said. “But when you ask a housekeeper how you can make their job easier, and they say ‘take out the carpet’, and you put in tile, that’s when you get them more engaged.”

“They feel like you value them; you’re listening to them, and you’re doing something about it.”

Currently, Give Kids the World Village has 166 villas and more than 7,000 families that visit each year from 76 different countries. In Landwirth’s new book, “On Purpose: How Engagement Drives Success,” she outlines how practicing engagement is a key component to maintaining a successful organization.

“The beauty of engagement is that it doesn’t cost any money. It’s not the big parties, it’s not going out and giving raises,” Landwirth said. “Engagement boils down to leadership. There are very few things that have the impact that leadership does.”

Prior to working at Give Kids the World Village, Landwirth spent 16 years with the Walt Disney Company, working in various areas such as casting, attractions sales and park operations. She was then a consultant to the president and CEO of Hard Rock Café.

Give Kids the World Village provides children with life-threatening illnesses and their families a cost-free, week-long vacation to enjoy Orlando’s theme parks. Of each dollar they spend, about 93.1 cents goes directly to programs for the families such as accommodations, meals, tickets and transportation.

Landwirth said she employs a certain formula at the Village in order to maximize success.

“Quality staff experience, plus quality guest experience, plus quality stakeholder experience, plus quality business practices is what we have to focus on for success,” she said. “If any of those legs on the stool are not in sync, the whole thing will fall apart.”

Landwirth advised students interested in the nonprofit sector to take as many business classes as possible, to gain experience that will help them succeed when partnering with corporations, as when Landwirth spearheaded a partnership with the company Hasbro that brought the world’s largest game of Candyland to Give Kids the World Village.

She believes that, in a time where differences tend to pull people apart, it is vital for businesses to appreciate their employees for who they are and give them the resources needed to develop their individual gifts.

“Imagine if you worked for a company that not only helped you define your gifts, but then gave you outlets internally and externally to give those gifts away, how much more engagement we would have in the world,” Landwirth said.

“Our staff and volunteers come together for a common purpose because they want to be a part of something bigger,” she said.

“That’s what I’m hoping the book and discussions like this will do, to help us focus on those things that pull us together, and less on the things that pull us apart.”

UGA hosts ‘An Evening with Pat Mitchell’ on Nov. 4

Pat Mitchell HeadshotPat Mitchell (AB ’65, MA ’67), a renowned journalist who broke barriers as the first female president of PBS and the first president of CNN Productions, will discuss her career at an event launching her new book, hosted by the UGA Libraries.

The UGA alumna, who is originally from South Georgia, has earned 37 Emmy Awards and five Peabody Awards. Her book, Becoming a Dangerous Woman: Embracing Risk to Change the World, explores what it means to be a “dangerous woman” today and offers insight from her life and career.

During the event, scheduled for 6 p.m., Monday, Nov. 4 at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries auditorium, Mitchell will read from her book and then be in conversation with fellow Bulldog Tom Johnson (ABJ ’63), former president of CNN and chairman emeritus of the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation Board of Trustees. Tickets are $25 and will include a signed copy of Mitchell’s new book.

 

During a reception following the discussion, attendees can view an exhibition of Mitchell’s memorabilia, including several of her Peabody Awards, her first Emmy Award and selected documents and photos from her career in media as well as from her time as a student at UGA. The exhibit, A Dangerous Woman: The Life and Career of Pat Mitchell, will remain on display in the Brown Media Archive and Peabody Awards Gallery marquee until May 10, 2020.

For more information, contact Leandra Nessel at lnessel@uga.edu or 706-542-3879.

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.”

Show off your red and black in style thanks to artist Melissa Mahoney (BFA ’87)

This article was written by Leigh Raynor Arndt.

All Bulldogs know that Saturdays in Athens are not for sweatpants. For those seeking a more refined gameday look, alumna Melissa Mahoney (BFA ’87) has designed a particularly stylish way to don your red and black. Her beautiful silk scarves have landed in the UGA Bookstore and embody Melissa’s love for her alma mater. The scarves’ combined artistry and practicality reflect the story of Melissa’s career–a path she began as a UGA student.

Melissa

Portrait of Melissa Mahoney (BFA ’87)

With several artists in her family, Melissa comes by her creative streak honestly. An Atlanta native, she now lives in Palo Alto, California. She’s led her own graphic design firm, Indigo Creative, since 1993. The success of her business now allows her to spend more time on another passion: painting.

Melissa’s scarf design uses high-energy swirls that run throughout her latest “Vortices” series, which is a collection of paintings and textiles. In addition to designing for UGA, she’s created scarves for Stanford and tech-juggernaut Google. And she’s been her own boss for more than 25 years. She attributes much of this success to the knowledge and skills she gained at UGA.

The Google scarf Melissa designed.

The Google scarf Melissa designed.

 

Melissa’s graphic design major and fine arts minor gave her practical know-how while allowing her to explore her artistic side. “Not all graphic designers can draw and paint, but these are great skills to have,” said Melissa. “They have helped me stand out in my field.”

After graduation, Melissa pursued graduate studies through UGA Cortona, a program that just celebrated its 50th anniversary. In Italy, Melissa was inspired by seeing in person the art that she’d studied for years. The trip also emboldened her. “Going to Italy gave me the courage to try new things and venture out,” said Melissa. Ultimately, her experience abroad led her to follow her dream of living in California.

After a few years working in Atlanta, Melissa packed up her belongings and drove across the country to the West Coast. With no job offer in tow, the move was risky. But the reward for her bravery has been a long career in California, the state that now “feels like home.”

Melissa continues to exhibit the courage she developed at UGA. A cold call and months of determination led to her Google scarf. A scarf for another tech giant will soon be on the way, too.

“There are so many ways to make a living as an artist,” Melissa said. “I’m lucky to do what I love. And I love sharing my passion. Seeing others enjoy my art brings me so much joy.”

UGA scarf

Melissa’s UGA scarf and more will be available at her pop-up shop at the UGA Bookstore in November.

 

Visit Melissa in Athens on November 22 and 23 for a “Scarf Pop-up” at the UGA Bookstore! Learn more.

And on Sunday, October 20, San Francisco Bulldogs can let their creative side loose during a workshop Melissa will lead at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara.