Earlier today, the University of Georgia conferred degrees on 2,176 students during the 2013 fall semester Commencement ceremonies that were held in Stegeman Coliseum on campus. This morning's undergraduate ceremony featured the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's first female publisher, UGA alumna Amy Glennon (ABJ '90), while the afternoon graduate ceremony boasted an address by former Grady College Dean Cully Clark. Both shared wonderful words of wisdom with the students, wishing them the best as they head out into the world.
UGA Alumni Association President Tim Keadle (BBA '78) was on hand as the last speaker during both ceremonies. As always, he did a great job welcoming the students as members of the UGA Alumni Association. He encouraged them to locate their local alumni chapter and take advantage of the alumni awaiting their arrival with open arms.
Although I was unable to attend the festivities today, I know these new alumni will continue to represent the University of Georgia as one of the top public institutions in the country. During the past four years, I've seen what they can do as students - I look forward to seeing their successes as alumni. Might there be a future Bulldog 100 business owner or 40 Under 40 honoree among them? I expect so.
I encourage recent graduates to spend some time on our website to learn more about what our organization offers. My staff plans programs across the country, assists with more than 115 alumni chapters around the world, offers career services, shares news from campus, connects alumni to each other, among other activities. Then, be sure to connect with the UGA Alumni Association on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Once again, congratulations to the Fall Class of 2013 - I look forward to meeting each of you at a future UGA Alumni Association event. Go Dawgs!
Last night, UGA Alumni Association staff members were treated to a special dinner hosted by Alumni Association President Tim Keadle (BBA '78) and his wife, Kitty (BBA '78), at their beautiful home in Statham, Ga. While holiday gatherings are certainly about delicious food and festive attire, I find that such gatherings are more important as a reminder of a year spent in the presence of good friends, family members and co-workers. Although I was unable to attend last night's festivities, I understand it was a lovely affair, filled with fond memories from the year's alumni activities. In this holiday season, I hope that you take a moment to stop and think back on the people and events in your life that have made 2013 (hopefully) a spectacular year.
In the spirit of celebrating Bulldog camaraderie, a number of UGA Alumni Association chapters across the country are hosting holiday parties for local UGA alumni, friends and fans. Please click on the event names below for more information.
• Miami Holiday Dinner – Dec. 12
• Northern Colorado Holiday Party – Dec. 13
• Charleston Hunkerin’ Down for the Holidays – Dec. 13
• Upstate South Carolina Bulldog Holiday Social – Dec. 14
• Baltimore Dinner with a Dozen Dawgs – Dec. 15
• Baltimore Bulldog Breakfast Club – Dec. 16
• D.C. Women of UGA Lunch with Lorraine Hawley – Dec. 17
• Athens Chapter Holiday Celebration at The Hill – Dec. 18
• Charlotte Holiday Party – Dec. 18
• Asheville Bulldogs After Business Hours - Dec. 19
• Toombs-Montgomery Tacky Holiday Sweater Party – Dec. 19
If you live in one of the cities above, I hope you will participate in the chapter's party. If not, there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved next year.
To locate your local alumni chapter and learn about activities taking place in your area, please click here.
I have a number of vegan and vegetarian acquaintances and have heard the struggle they endure when it comes to eating out with their dietary restrictions. A member of our board recently emailed me about a new restaurant in Athens that caters to vegans - and it's owned by UGA alumni!
Vanessa Molina (M ‘84) and her husband, Juan Molina (AB ’82), are the owners of Athens’s only vegan restaurant, Echo. Echo was originally called Broad Street Coffee, but when the business moved to Washington Street in downtown Athens in August, it was renamed.
Although the location has changed, the Molinas dedication to veganism has not. Echo only uses organic food in its dishes. If high-quality produce is unavailable, the menu is simply updated to reflect that.
Echo offers late-night live music on the weekends. Since it opened in August, Echo has hosted bands such as Of Montreal’s Calvin Love to Brooklyn-based Air Waves.
On behalf of Athens-area vegans (and non-vegans), thank you for adding Echo to the Athens food scene. I look forward to hearing more about your restaurant and its success!
I imagine many of you are planning to give a few gifts this year. While gift giving is a fun holiday task that brings a smile to the face of a friend or family member, gift wrapping is another story.
Ashley Edmonds (AB '05, ABJ '05, MBA '11) understands this frustration - the roll of tape runs out, boxes can be hard to come by and, of course, wrapping is a time-intensive process. The alumna thus decided to develop a cure for our “wrapping blues.”
Edmonds is the founder of Lilywrap, an eco-friendly (and easy-to-use) gift wrap alternative. She says her “ah-ha moment” came after the holidays when she and her family filled three large garbage bags with wrapping paper. She later learned that 4 million tons of gift wrapping paper is wasted each year. On top of that, the average American spends three hours wrapping holiday gifts alone.
Her answer was simple: reusable gift wrap. Lilywrap offers a patent-pending stretchy fabric wrap that is durable and simple for even novice wrappers to use. Plus - it’s cute!
For her savvy business idea, SPANX recently named Edmonds the November 2013 Leg Up Winner. According to SPANX, the Leg Up awards provide female business owners with great exposure and a well-deserved "leg up."
On behalf of stressed holiday wrappers everywhere, thank you, Ashley, and best of luck as your business continues to grow.
You can learn more about Ashley Edmonds's Leg Up Award here.
As many of you are probably aware, the Bulldogs will take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl in Jacksonville on January 1. If you are as excited as our staff members for one last battle on the gridiron this season, I imagine you might have already started planning your trip down to Florida. As you plan your chilly, winter tailgate menu, you might find this alumni news particularly interesting.
Mike Proctor (BBA '96), CEO of Old Mill Kettle Corn, found a way to combine his love for the Georgia Bulldogs with a successful business endeavor.
Old Mill Kettle Corn was established in 2002, when Proctor and his team began popping the kettle corn at festivals. The recipe was popular among the thousands of festival attendees, leading Proctor to perfect the all-natural recipe and then sell it in stores in 2009. One year later, Old Mill Kettle Corn was among the top 10 most popular snack items in several grocery store chains across the South. Old Mill Kettle Corn now offers flavored popcorn, holiday tins and, of particular interest to all you tailgaters, collegiate packages! In addition to our beloved Bulldogs, Old Mill Kettle Corn offers popcorn for Clemson, FSU, Georgia Tech, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee fans. Yum.
Whether you take a bag of Mike's popcorn with you to Jacksonville or not, I hope you travel safely and have a wonderful trip.
Congratulations, Mike, on this fun popcorn creation. Go Dawgs!