Honorable Steve Jones '78, '87 : Harold A. Black : Atasha M. Murray : Nichole Hancock : Natasha Trethewey : Jocelyn Walters-Brannon : Mary Frances Early : Luis Aguilar : Christopher Ward : Sheryl M. Merritt : Dr. Yoko Mimura : Dr. Marionette Holmes : Kenneth Dious : Enrique Carrion : Frank P. Ros : Dr. Cordell Wynn : William C. Souder, Jr. : Dr. Brian N. Williams : Joanna Maddox : Tituss Burgess : Robert Benham : Otis Johnson : Robert Harrison : Walter Kimbrough : Alonda Alloway : Mark Anthony Thomas : Donna Taylor
Honorable Steve Jones '78, '87
On January 5, 2011, Judge Jones was nominated by President Barack Obama to become a United States District Judge. Judge Jones was sworn in as a district judge on March 4, 2011. In this role, Judge Jones presides over cases that involve the United States government, the United States Constitution, federal laws, controversies between citizens of different states, and other matters.
Prior to his nomination to the district court, Judge Jones served as a Superior Court Judge in the Western Judicial Circuit (Athens-Clarke and Oconee Counties, Georgia). Judge Jones was appointed to the Superior Court in 1995. In this role, Judge Jones presided over civil and criminal cases. In addition to his regular caseload, Judge Jones also presided over the Western Judicial Circuit Felony Drug Court Program, a program that integrates alcohol and substance abuse treatment with court supervision. Prior to his 1995 Superior Court judicial appointment, Judge Jones served as a Municipal Court Judge (1992-1995), as an Assistant District Attorney (1987-1991), and as the Director of the Child Support Recovery Unit (1978-1985).
A native of Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, Judge Jones has demonstrated his commitment to the community. He has offered his time and leadership to numerous community and social organizations. He has also won many awards to this regard. For example, in 1998, he was the recipient of the Chief Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service; 2007 Junior League of Athens and Athens First Bank & Trust “Volunteer of the Year Award;” St. Mary's "2007 Heart of Gold Award" and Omega Citizen of the Year – awarded by the Zeta Beta Beta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity in appreciation of the Judge's outstanding contributions and dedicated services to his community, city, and the State of Georgia.
Judge Jones is a "Double Dawg" and earned his Bachelors degree in Management in 1978 and his Juris Doctor in 1987.
In addition to all of his accomplishments, Judges Jones has also served on the Board of Directors for the UGA Alumni Association and will soon be the next President. Judge Jones is married to Lillian Kincey.
Harold A. Black '66
A native of Atlanta and economics major at UGA, Harold A. Black '66, lectures, consults and publishes extensively in the areas of financial institutions and the monetary system.
As the James F. Smith, Jr. Professor of Financial Institutions at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), Black is loyal to UTK, but will quickly tell you: "I will root for Tennessee anytime they play, except when it is against UGA."
After earning a master's degree and PhD from Ohio State University in 1968 and 1972, respectively, he went on to serve in faculty positions at American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida.
A member of the Terry College Alumni Board, Black has served as Deputy Director of the Department of Economic Research and Analysis, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and was appointed by President Carter to serve on the board of the National Credit Union Administration.
He also served as a Director and Chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and as a public interest member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Savings Association Insurance Fund Advisory Committee, Washington, DC.
Black received the Department of Treasury's Special Achievement Award, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Georgia's College of Business Administration and the National Credit Union Administration's Exceptional Service Award. At the University of Tennessee, he has received the Chancellor's Award for Research and Creative Achievement, the Chancellor's Award for Extraordinary Community Service, the Bank of America Leadership Award and the John B. Ross Outstanding Teacher Award.
He was named by the National Association of Federal Credit Unions as one of the most influential figures in credit union history. Black served on the board of directors of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, the nation's largest real estate investment trust. He previously served on the boards of directors of Home Savings of America, one of the nation's largest consumer banking organizations and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank. He is past president of the Eastern Finance Association.
Atasha M. Murray '93
A native of Atlanta and expert in the mental health field, Murray graduated from UGA with a B.A. in Sociology in '93 and received her Masters of Social Work from Clark Atlanta University.
With over a decade of experience working with psychiatric patients, victims of domestic violence, children with special needs and forensics, Murray founded Life Evolutions Behavioral Healthcare, LLC. This organization specializes in pediatric and adult psychiatric care.
Murray advocates for social welfare and justice issues and was featured in two trade publications in 2006 with Governor Sonny Perdue & the Honorable Justice Robert Benham. She is a member of several professional social worker organizations. She has also volunteered on international social work missionary trips to Northwest Haiti, Cape Town, South Africa and Nairobi, Kenya. Murray attributes many of her accomplishments to her experiences at UGA and often states, "Never let anyone deter you from your dreams and don't be afraid to take risks."
Nichole Hancock '98
Nichole Hancock '98 is currently the President/CEO & Founder of the first-ever "Shades of Pink Breast Cancer Survivors Mass Choir" (formerly known as the Metro Atlanta Breast Cancer Survivors Mass Choir) where she is committed to "changing the face of breast cancer" and what it means to be "breast cancer survivors." The choir began as an innovative method of increasing awareness and education about the benefits of early detection. Hancock believes music transcends all barriers and has the power to heal. She also believes increasing education and awareness will ultimately assist communities in achieving optimal health and wellness.
After graduating from the University of Georgia with a bachelors of science in Education with a concentration in Health Promotion and Behavior: Corporate & Community Health, Hancock joined the Emory University Regional Training Center as a Program Development Specialist. In 2000, she joined Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University as a Health Educator, where she later became the Senior Program Associate for the Winship Cancer Institute's - Avon Foundation Comprehensive Breast Center of Grady Health System's Community Education & Outreach Initiative.
"UGA represents one of the most memorable experiences in my life for me while I was there from 1994-98. Not only did I gain a strong educational foundation for the career path that I chose; I also gained a strong network of friends who support me both personally and professionally to this very day," says Hancock.
After completing her Master's in Education from AIU in 2004, Hancock joined MAXIMUS as a Statewide Program Manager for Outreach for Georgia Healthy Families in August 2005. Hancock has nearly 10 years experience working in the public health field. Over the years Nichole has served on numerous Boards and Committees where she has given both her time and financial support to assisting other organizations. In October 2006, Hancock was recognized as one of the 2007 Who's Who for Executive and Professional Women and honored for her work in public health, women's health and her commitment to breast cancer.
A native Atlantan and proud mother of a beautiful six year-old daughter, whom she says is the reason she dedicates so much time and energy to women's health, Shades of Pink and breast cancer education and awareness.
Natasha Trethewey '89
Poet Natasha Trethewey, who graduated from the University of Georgia in 1989 with a degree in English, recently won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her recent collection "Native Guard" (Houghton Mifflin 2006). The book is about her mother and black Civil War soldiers on the Mississippi coast. The talented writer who wrote her first poetry collection in 2000, "Domestic Work," won the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize (selected by Rita Dove), a 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. Her second collection, "Bellocq's Ophelia" received the 2003 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, was a finalist for both the Academy of American Poets' James Laughlin and Lenore Marshall prizes and was named a 2003 Notable Book by the American Library Association. Her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry 2003 and 2000, and in journals such as Agni, American Poetry Review, "Callaloo," "Gettysburg Review," "Kenyon Review," "New England Review" and "The Southern Review" among others. Among her many other honors are a Guggenheim fellowship, the Grolier Poetry Prize, and a Pushcart Prize, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition to attending UGA, she also earned an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A in poetry from the University of Massachusetts.
Trethewey has taught at Auburn University, the University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill, and Duke University where she was the 2005-2006 Lehman Brady Joint Chair Professor of Documentary and American Studies. She is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jocelyn Walters-Brannon '95
Certified as an etiquette consultant by the renowned American School of Protocol, Jocelyn Walters-Brannon '95, '98 currently serves as director of the Palmetto School of Protocol, a division of her professional services firm, CHARM Communications, LLC. She has coordinated trainings for education professionals on how to effectively interact and communicate with elected officials and congressional staffers. In this capacity, she has had numerous opportunities to interact with America's Congressmen and Congresswomen.
Brannon has taught manners and etiquette for more than fifteen years. She initially began conducting manners instruction workshops while enrolled as an undergraduate at the University of Georgia and working part-time with the Athens, Georgia Boys and Girls Clubs.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the University of Georgia and made a concerted effort to involve myself in as many of the University's student activities as possible," said Brannon.
"I believe that my service to the University community as a Student Government Association Senator during my junior year sparked my interest in politics and public policy; and had a great deal to do with my decision to leave professional employment with CNN and return to Athens and UGA's School of Public and International Affairs to pursue and complete my masters degree in public administration."
Her experiences as an "army brat" provided her endless opportunities to participate in social settings where military protocol was required. These experiences continued as the wife of a U.S. Marine Corps Officer stationed at the Pentagon where she was involved in functions which included the participation of the Vice President of the United States, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and other senior Administration officials.
She earned her bachelor's degree in telecommunications from the University of Georgia College of Journalism and Mass Communications and received her master's degree in public administration from the University of Georgia Department of Public Administration and Policy.
"So often, I hear that as an African American who did not matriculate at a historically black college, I must have somehow missed out on the true college experience and the development of lifelong friendships," said Brannon. "Well, I don't find that to be true at all. I believe that by attending UGA I was very prepared for not only the corporate world, but also for life. And I have friends today that I met at UGA that I know will be my friends for life. I treasure my experiences at Georgia and only wish that I could turn back the clock and do it all again."
Mary Frances Early '62, '67
Graduating in 1962 with a Masters degree in Music Education, Mary Frances Early became the first African American student to receive a degree from the University of Georgia and was inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda National Honor Society. She returned to the university and earned an EdS degree in music in 1967. Her pioneering role in the desegregation of UGA was not acknowledged by the university until the screening of the Foot Soldiers for Equal Justice television documentary that included her story. In April of 2000, Ms. Early was invited to the campus to speak for the annual GAPS (Graduate and Professional Students) lecture. The lecture series was thereafter named for Mary Frances Early and continues to this day.
"I am happily involved in activities at my alma mater after a long period of time when I didn't feel valued. This involvement has brought joy and closure to a painful past. I am delighted that my cousin, Frankie Grooms, is now attending UGA to carry on the family legacy. Though she is not studying music as I did, she is a proud member of the Bulldog Band," says Ms. Early. She currently serves on the Executive Committee and Board of the UGA Alumni Association and is also a member of the Graduate School Advancement Board. She has served as keynote speaker for several programs on campus such as the Rite of Sankofa, the Multicultural Alumni Conference, and the Adult Education Research Conference.
In her career, Ms. Early served as Music Supervisor for the Atlanta Public Schools. In 1984 she assumed the rank of Coordinator of Music for the school system, a position that she held until an early retirement in 1994. Following retirement from the school system, Ms. Early taught at Morehouse and Spelman Colleges and in 1997 was appointed Chair of the Music Department at Clark Atlanta University. She retired from that position in 2005 and says, "My experiences at UGA prepared me for other career situations where I was challenged. I value those important life lessons."
As a lifelong music educator, Mary Frances Early continues to serve the profession as General Music Advisor for the International Association for Music Education and writes articles for its Teaching Music Journal. She has served as President of the Georgia Music Educators Association (the only African American to date); consultant and clinician for state, regional, and national music conferences; adjudicator for numerous music festivals; panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Georgia Council of the Arts, Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs; curriculum specialist for Georgia and the International Association for Music Education; consultant and writer for the Macmillan/McGraw - Hill Music textbooks series; member of the National Music Educators Journal Editorial Committee; lecturer for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's concert series; has authored articles for Fisk University and Oxford Press and a book and audiovisual method - Guitar Magic.
Ms. Early's many honors include: the Georgia Music Educators' Distinguished Educator Award; Bronze Woman of the Year in the Arts; Lexus Leader of the Arts Award; Atlanta Association of Educators Award; National Black Music Caucus Award; and in January of 2007, the Coretta Scott King Woman of Courage Award.
Luis Aguilar '79
The Mckenna Long and Aldridge partner was surprised when a friend called and informed Luis Aguilar that the Hispanic Business Magazine named him among the 100 most influential Hispanics in America. Aguilar focuses on corporate governance, public and private offerings (IPOs and secondary offerings), mergers and acquisitions, mutual funds, investment advisors, broker-dealers, and other aspects of federal and state securities laws and regulations in his profession, but he is equally as passionate about his work as president of the Latin American Association. Whether working with large donors or speaking with youth about attending college, Aguilar is committed to making a difference.
A current UGA Alumni Association Board member, Aguilar's previous experience includes serving as the general counsel, executive vice president, and corporate secretary of INVESCO and a member of its board of directors and management committee where he had responsibility for all legal and compliance matters regarding INVESCO Institutional. Previously he served as INVESCO's managing director for Latin America. His career also includes tenure as a partner at several prominent national law firms and as a staff attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Among his many awards, Aguilar was named by Atlanta Magazine and Georgia Super Lawyers Magazine as one of Georgia's Super Lawyers in 2004, 2005 and 2006. He is also listed in the 2005-06 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Georgia Hispanic Chamger of Commerces named Aguilar Member of the Year in 2005 and Atlanta Hispanic Businessman of the Year in 1994. He received Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF'S) "Excellence in Leadership" Award in April 2005. He was also named the 2005 Latino Attorney of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association. In addition to this, Aguilar is active in numerous civic and business associations.
A graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, Aguilar also received a master of laws degree in taxation from Emory University.
Christopher Ward '89
After graduating with an MBA from the Terry College of Business, Chris Ward '89 started out as a consultant and has risen to the level of executive partner with Accenture, the world's leading management consulting, technology, and outsourcing company. "I was very involved on campus and gained some very valuable skills both inside and outside of class that have served me well." says, Ward.
Based in Atlanta, Ward is a member of Accenture's Financial Services Group and has over 15 years of experience serving financial services organizations. He is responsible for delivering business and IT solutions to banking, insurance, capital markets clients, as well as several retail and government clients.
With a strong commitment to recruiting, mentoring, diversity, and professional development of Accenture's workforce, Ward currently leads a U.S. Diversity Initiative for Accenture's Financial Services Group which is focused on developing minority senior executives.
Ward was recently recognized by Black MBA magazine on its 2006 "Top 50 Under 50 Executives" list. Black MBA magazine describes the 50 individuals as "exceptional executives who have reached the pinnacle of success within the highly competitive corporate environment."
In addition to his degrees from UGA, Ward earned a Master of Education degree from Harvard University in the area of Human Development and Psychology.
Currently, Ward serves on the board for the Greater-Atlanta Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs. He is also active in the community, devoting much of his volunteer time to youth and education-based initiatives.
Ward,his wife Brenda and their two daughters live in Atlanta where they are members of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta.
Sheryl M. Merritt '88
After graduating with a bachelor of science degree in Home Economics, Sheryl M. Merritt '88 joined Macy's Executive Training Program and worked for AT&T Network Systems in Engineering and Training. Desiring to be a part of Atlanta's burgeoning entertainment industry, Merritt switched gears and began working as Executive Assistant to the GM of Radio One of Atlanta's Hot 97.5 radio station. After a few years in radio, she moved to the record label side of the business and worked as Executive Assistant to Rico Wade, CEO of Organized Noize Productions, where she learned studio management, production and A&R. Merritt also worked for four years as Marketing Director and Acting General Manager for Arrow Records (Pastor Taffi L. Dollar's label at World Changers Church International). Throughout her career, Merritt has worked with artists such as OutKast, Goodie MoB, Ludacris, Ciara, Joi, Mary Mary, Yolanda Adams, Dorinda Clark Cole, Canton Jones and many more. She has honed a bevy of skills including concert and event management, public relations and strategic planning.
In April of 2005, Merritt formed her own entertainment company, ATLast, Inc. and started operating the company full time that September. ATLast www.atlast-inc.biz is a marketing and promotions firm that also offers personal, executive and production assistant services to entertainment industry professionals and artists as well as to general business clients. She also offers event planning services. Not limited to one particular skill set, ATLast's motto is "assisting you in bringing your vision to life."
Merritt credits her degree and experiences at UGA with her ability to multi-task and manage the lifestyles of others. It also provided her with a thorough understanding of efficient home management, a skill that she transfers to her clients. In addition to her MBA in Marketing from Mercer University in 1993, Sheryl uses skills from her Fashion Merchandising background when offering personal shopping and styling services.
Dr. Yoko Mimura '94, '01
Yoko came to UGA to expand her horizon after completing a degree program in Laws in Tokyo, Japan. She is currently a research professional in the Department of Housing and Consumer Economics, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, where she received her masters and doctorate degrees. Her research primarily focuses on low-income housing and family economics. Yoko studies why some low-income families with children have less economic hardships than others, and how maternity leave affects income after retirement. Working with faculty and graduate students with similar interests has been among the most enjoyable aspects of her current job. In the past few years, she has presented research papers at annual meetings of Southern Demographic Association, Population Association of America, and International Federation of Home Economics' World Congress in Kyoto, Japan.
Dr. Marionette Holmes
Dr. Marionette Holmes earned her PhD in Agricultural Economics in 2002 from the University of Georgia and it has opened a world of opportunities for her. She is currently an assistant professor of economics at her undergraduate alma mater, Spelman College. She also currently consults with Harvard University's School of Public Health where she was formerly a Research Economist and Project Manager. Her job with Harvard has her using Cost-Benefit Analysis which she learned at UGA and Cost-effectiveness analysis to identify the best delivery approaches of antiretroviral treatment to HIV infected individuals in Botswana. Holmes continues to make regular trips to Africa for data collection and to report findings to the Botswana Ministry of Health and other National Agencies that are stakeholders of the project.
In addition to Botswana, Holmes works with a South African country, serving as a technical consultant for the development and implementation of an HIV/AIDS costing and cost-effectiveness model. This model will be used by the health care sector to efficiently track costs to determine ‘scaling up’ needs and for making resource allocation decisions.
After leaving UGA, Holmes joined other successful College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) alums, such as Dr. Anne Haddix ’93 and Dr. Mark Messonier ’95, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Holmes credits CAES with providing her solid networking connections. “Some of my professors at UGA really pushed me and helped me to be where I am today.”
Kenneth Dious '68, '73
From his youth, the importance of a strong education was instilled in Athens native Kenneth Dious ’68,’73 and his three siblings, who all attended college. Dious began his college career at Savannah State College on a basketball scholarship after being very active in sports during high school, where he served as captain of the football team his senior year. He transferred to UGA at the beginning of his sophomore year and was one of only seven African American students. Dious excelled not only in academics, but also in athletics becoming the first African American to play between the hedges on the UGA football team.
Two years after receiving his bachelors degree in Business and Finance, Dious entered the UGA law school where he earned his Juris Doctorate Degree in 1973. He began his legal career as an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in New York City, but returned to Athens after a year and a half, and opened his own law practice where he has worked over 30 years. He and his wife, Annette, have one son, Kevin Marcel, who is a current law student at UGA. Dious is the current president of the Northeast Georgia Business Council and a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Enrique Carrion '99
Born in Reus, Spain and raised in Venezuela, South America it was his passion for tennis and journalism that led Eco Latino editor Enrique Carrion '99, to move to the United States after high school. Before settling into the journalism program at UGA's Grady College of Mass Communication he attended and played tennis for both Abraham Baldwin Agricultural (ABAC) and Southern Polytechnic State University. After an internship at CNN en español the summer following graduation, Carrion returned to UGA and earned his Master's degree in Mass Communication. To earn money for school, Carrion coached tennis to children and adults. While finishing grad school Carrion started the first Spanish radio show at the UGA WUOG 90.5 FM radio station and interned at the Athens Banner-Herald, helping to proofread and edit a weekly newsletter in Spanish. Only days before graduation Carrion received the job as editor of Eco Latino, a bilingual magazine distributed by the Athens Banner-Herald. After seven years in Athens, a town he considers himself lucky to live in, Carrion still hosts the radio show along with other Hispanic students every Monday night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. He is still an active tennis player, ranking first in last year's USTA Men's Open division. Most recently Carrion hosted a UGA Alumni Association Bulldog Breakfast where he was very well received.
Frank P. Ros '82, '84
Frank P. Ros ’82, ’84, Team Captain of the University of Georgia’s 1980 National Football Champions, Academic All-SEC and past recipient of the University of Georgia Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Post-Graduate Award, currently serves as Assistant Vice President, Latin Affairs for The Coca-Cola Company where he transformed a one-market urban community relations program, Coca-Cola Presents Art of Harmony, into a nine-market, nationally recognized and award-winning property. This is one step towards his new goal and duty to make the company recognized as a leading corporate citizen within the Latino community, an area which he is no stranger.
As a member of many leadership organizations, Ros has offered his services to numerous national, state and community boards including, his appointment by Governor Roy Barnes as Chairman of the Georgia Commission on Hispanic Affairs and his 1998 selection by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on the Hispanic Task Force. Other boards served include, the Georgia Force (Arena Football), the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Council of La Raza, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Hispanic Corporate Council, Cuban American National Council, and the National Puerto Rican Coalition, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (Past Chair, Advisory Board) and the Latin American Association (Immediate Past Chairman).
Most recently selected to serve on the National Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics and to Chair the UGA Latino Advisory Council, Ros currently serves on the Boards of the Family Connections Partnership, Inc., University of Georgia Alumni Association, the University System of Georgia Foundation, Inc., the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, The Walker School (Capital Campaign Chair) and The Pinnacle Orthopedic Research Institute.
Born in Barcelona Spain, Ros lives in Kennesaw, Georgia with his wife, Jan Floyd-Ros, and sons, Frank VI and Bryce where he enjoys mountain biking, weightlifting, running and reading.
When recently asked about his time spent at UGA Ros said, “Obviously, no amount of money can payback the wonderful experience(s) of attending the U. of Georgia. However, we owe it to the next generation to give back to our great institution and make it even better than we left it.”
Dr. Cordell Wynn '71, '73
“Attending UGA was a wonderful thing!” said 78-year-old Dr. Cordell Wynn ’71, ’73. “It prepared me in a lot of ways for the positions I have held.”
One of the first African-Americans to earn Ed.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Georgia, Wynn has held many impressive titles including president of Stillman College for over 15 years until 1997 when upon retirement was named President Emeritus of the College, Trustee Emeritus of The University of Alabama System.
He has received numerous awards including the 1987 "Administrator of the Year" from Alabama Association of College Administrators, the 1991 "Distinguished Leadership Award for Four-Year Colleges and Universities," the coveted Eleanor Roosevelt Human Relations Award from George Washington University, the Human Rights Award from the Tuscaloosa County Chapter of the NAACP, and was selected by the Jaycees of the State of Georgia for the "Outstanding Young Educator's Award." Most recently Wynn was named "One of the Top 100 College Presidents of the 20th Century."
The author of an array of published articles, books, and research findings, Wynn co-chaired the writing of the Desegregation Plan for Bibb County Schools and was a consultant on desegregation for school systems throughout the South. “My dissertation was on the ‘Cross-Over’ Teacher [Blacks teaching white pupils and whites teaching black pupils],” said Wynn.
Wynn has served on many important national boards and committees including several with President Michael Adams. Under President Richard Nixon's administration he directed the White House Conference on Youth and Education and was appointed to membership on the National Advisory Committee for Public Education and to a blue-ribbon committee for the Emergency School Assistance Act by President Lyndon Johnson. Currently the immediate past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and a trustee for Columbia Theological Seminary and Marion Institute, Dr. Wynn serves as the Special Assistant to the President of Shelton State Community College, Tuscaloosa, Alabama where he continues to advise philanthropic foundations.
In addition, Wynn and his wife, the former Annie Marie Lundy of Macon, Georgia and graduate of Spelman, Teachers, and the Fort Valley State Colleges, are members and officers of Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa. The Wynns have three daughters and six grandchildren.
William C. Souder, Jr. '77
UGA Alumni Association member William Souder has over 22 years experience in the insurance and financial service industry. He specializes in working with business owners, medium size corporations, and groups in the areas of estate planning, financial planning, and business protection.
He has spent most of his career in the Atlanta area and was affiliate with the American General Financial Groups and with Prudential Insurance Company for more than 17 years.
Starting with Prudential in 1982 as a sales representative, he eventually became the managing director for Atlanta region, overseeing operations with $400 million of assets.
Souder graduated from UGA in 1977 with a bachelor degree in political science. He later attended American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, where he became a chartered life underwriter and registered investment advisor.
Dr. Brian N. Williams '88, '91, 95
Williams is a native of Thomasville, Georgia and currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Public Administration and Policy in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia after previous faculty appointments at Florida State University and Vanderbilt University. His primary areas of research explore community policing efforts within communities of color, the impact of racial profiling on the co-production of public safety and public order, and community oriented governance. He is the author of Citizen Perspectives on Community Policing: A Case Study in Athens, Georgia (State University of New York Press, 1998), among other research articles, book chapters and governmental reports. He currently serves on the editorial board of Police Quarterly and the Journal of the Professoriate and has served as a reviewer for other academic journals, including Justice System Quarterly, Public Performance and Management Review, Journal of Criminal Justice and Qualitative Sociology.
Williams is married to Dr. Carla Green Williams '89, '91, UGA Athletic Association Associate Athletic Director. They have three children: Carmen, nine; Camryn, five and Brian Joshua, ten months. Williams is also one of five brothers who are all UGA alumni: Dr. Richard Williams '95, '97, '02, Mr. Morris E. Williams '86, '89, Mr. Robert E. Williams '75, and Mr. Roddrick Williams '93, '96.
Joanna Maddox '80
A Georgia native, professional actress, singer and storyteller, Ms. Maddox received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama from the University of Georgia. She presents her "live history lessons" in Schools, universities, museums, festivals and churches nationwide. Combining her musical and acting talents, Joanna Maddox becomes the characters she portrays. She is know for her dramatic portrays of historic Black women such as Marian Anderson, Wilma Rudolph, Bessie Coleman, Dr. Mae Jemison, and Madame CJ Walker. Some of her one-woman shows include: "A Journey to Freedom with Harriet Tubman," "A Bus Ride with Rosa Parks," and "Life Lessons from the Divas," in which Ms. Maddox sings, impersonates, and plays tribute to Tina Turner, Diana Ross, and Whitney Houston.
Joanna Maddox was recently commissioned by the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site to write and perform a first person narrative of Mrs. Rachel Clark, a woman who had a profound influence on President Jimmy Carter. The play is entitled, "Raising a President, the story of Rachel Clark and Jimmy Carter." Ms. Maddox had the honor to perform for President Carter on September 29, 2004 in Plains, Georgia in celebration of his 80th birthday.
For information on how to book Maddox visit http://www.joannamaddox.com.
Tituss Burgess '02
A native of Athens, Georgia, Tituss grew up singing in his church, and was directing the choir there by the time he was a junior at Cedar Shoals High School. While attending the University of Georgia, Tituss studied music, but made time to be involved in community theater (favorite parts include Jim in Big River and Father in Children of Eden).
Burgess is classically trained, and earned the distinction of being a two-time silver medalist for the prestigious American Traditions Vocal Competition in Savannah, Georgia.
Burgess graduated in 2001 with a BA in Music. In order to begin his career, he moved to New York City in 2003. Soon after, Burgess left town for a 10-month gig in the "Festival of the Lion King" at Walt Disney World. Once back in NYC, he landed a four-month gig in a Connecticut production of La Cage aux Folles. Burgess makes his Broadway debut in Good Vibrations.
Burgess also plays piano and writes music, and hopes to combine this with singing for a life-long career.
Robert Benham '70
Robert Benham is the second African-American graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law and the first African-American to serve on Georgia's Supreme Court. Justice Benham is a life-long resident of Georgia, and was born to Jesse Knox Benham and Clarence Benham in Cartersville, Georgia. He graduated from Summer Hill High School in Cartersville in 1963, and Tuskegee University with a B.S. in Political Science in 1967, attended Harvard University, graduated from the University of Georgia, Lumpkin School of Law with a J.D. in 1970, and received his L.L.M from the University of Virginia in 1989.
After completing law school, Justice Benham served in the U.S. Army Reserve, attaining the rank of Captain. He then served briefly as a trial attorney for Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc., later returning to Cartersville, where he engaged in the private practice of law, served as Special Assistant Attorney General, and served two terms as President of the Bartow County Bar Association. Justice Benham became the first African American to establish a law practice in Bartow County.
In 1984, Justice Benham was appointed by Governor Joe Frank Harris to the Court of Appeals, where he served for five years following his statewide election to the court, distinguishing himself as the first African American to win statewide election in Georgia since reconstruction. In 1989, Justice Benham was further distinguished as the first African American to serve on the Georgia Supreme Court, following his appointment by Governor Harris. He won the statewide election to a full term on the Supreme Court in 1990, where he continues in his capacity as Chief Justice.
Justice Benham holds membership in numerous professional organizations, including eight national, state, and local bar associations, the American Judicature Society, the Lawyers' Club of Atlanta, the National Criminal Justice Association, the Georgia Bar Foundation, the Georgia Legal History Foundation (Trustee), and Scribes - The American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects. He is a former vice president of the Georgia Conference of Black Lawyers, a former board member of the Federal Lawyers Association and of the Georgia Association of Trial Lawyers. He is the former chairman of the Governor's Commission on Drug Awareness & Prevention, a member of the State Bar Task Force on the Involvement of Women & Minorities in the Profession, the Georgia Commission on Children & Youth, the National Association of Court Management, and a member of the National Conference of Chief Justices, a member of the Federal-State Jurisdiction Committee, President of the Society for Alternative Dispute Resolution, Chairman of the Judicial Council, Chairman of the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism, and a member of the Governor's Southern Business Institute.
Otis Johnson '68, Mayor of Savannah, GA
On February 7, Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson '68 talked about social issues in a inspired, motivated and educated a rapt audience of students faculty and staff. Heavily influenced by Jazz music, Dr Johnson did an improvisational lecture based on two themes: Before UGA and after UGA. He drew on his experiences of segregation, his role in the civil rights movement and his transition to the world of politics in order to emphasize the significance of celebrating Black History every day. This event was sponsored by the UGA Alumni Association, Multicultural Services and Programs, the African American Cultural Center, the Black Affairs Council, and the Office of Admissions. For more information on Otis Johnson, see http://www.savannahmagazine.com/mainstory.shtml.
Robert Harrison '74, '84, '89, Executive Director of the Institute for Community and Organizational Development, Athens, GA
Dr. Robert Harrison received three degrees from UGA: a M.Ed. in Rehabilitation-Vocational Counseling, EdS. in Student Personnel In Higher Education and an EdD. in Adult Education with an emphasis in Continuing Professional Education. He was the project direct of UGA's TRIO Programs (which include Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search) and he retired from UGA's Developmental Studies Program in 1998.
Harrison currently serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for Community and Organizational Development, Inc. (ICOD) in Athens, GA. "ICOD, Inc. is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) tax exempt educational institution which was incorporated in May 2000 in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for all through collaboration, training, education and informed dialogue. It is believed that, because community-based organizations are so widely used to address local needs and interests, they have the potential to enrich the vitality of any community. To facilitate this outcome, the Institute provides capacity-building assistance and emphasizes collaboration in all of it initiatives.
As the executive director of ICOD, Harrison spearheaded the VISTAS CENTER for the Blind and Visually Impaired, NETSPAN Community Technology Network, and the newest initiative, FRIENDS FOR LIFE Mentoring Program. "Friends For Life is dedicated to promoting healthier outcomes for children age 4-15 years with a primary focus on those of incarcerated parents. Friends For Life is a Mentoring Partnership comprised of ICOD, Inc., faith-based and other stakeholders in northeast Georgia. Currently, more than 700 of these youths reside in the counties of Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Madison and Oglethorpe". For more information of Friends For Life and how you can be involved, go to http://fflife.net/.
Alumni Association Member Walter Kimbrough '89
Congratulations to Walter Kimbrough '89, who at the young age of 37, recently assumed his seat as president of Philander Smith College. Prior to his new post, Dr. Kimbrough served as Vice President for Student Affairs at Albany State University. Kimbrough is a scholar of the culture of black fraternities and sororities. He published Black Greek 101 and pledged Alpha Phi Alpha at UGA in 1986.
Novelist and Poet, Alonda Alloway '97
Born and raised in Columbus, Georgia, Alonda began writing at age eleven. As a freshman at the University of Georgia, Alonda began working on what would later become her first and second books, Souls Sold and Just in Case. She graduated from UGA in 1997 as a Housing major with a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences.
While working on her Masters of Social Work at Howard University, Alonda started her own publishing company, Abysmal Publishing and released Souls Sold in 1999, a socially conscious collection of poems.
In 2002, Alonda published her debut novel, Just in Case, which follows four friends Taron, Jamal, Stephanie, and Lisa from their senior year of high school through college. As two of them graduate and enter the real world, the third friend is murdered and the fourth friend is accused of the crime.
In 2004, Alonda published Case Closed, the sequel and conclusion to Just in Case.
Along with writing and publishing, Alonda also works as a School Social Worker at an alternative school in Newark, New Jersey. Alonda currently lives in West Orange, NJ with her husband (whom she met at a concert on the campus of UGA) and their two children.
UGA Alumni Package deals
Just in Case & Case Closed - $20.00 (+$3.00 s/h)
Souls Sold, Just in Case & Case Closed - $30.00 (+$3.00 s/h)
Poet and Journalist, Mark Anthony Thomas '01
Music, scriptures, and mature themes take center stage in Mark Anthony Thomas' effort to bring the “unspoken word” back to the popular trends of poetry. In his second book project, The Poetic Repercussion, the 25-year-old Former Red & Black editor-in-chief and member of the Academy of American Poets describes his project as a poetic and musical narrative. The book was nationally released on Thursday, December 2, 2004.
“Poetry has integrated pop culture trends for pure performance and live delivery,” Thomas said. “With this book, I wanted to show that a young black man could write in cross-cultural forms of traditional and contemporary poetry and music, while addressing the social and generational topics that people would enjoy reading.”
Venturing through a multitude of interlinking themes, Thomas narrates through conservative subjects while exploring areas that many will find surprising. Metaphorically set in a “psychiatrist’s chair,” topics include athletics, causalities of the Iraq war, hip hop music’s influence on American culture, and the realities of love, sexuality, and social acceptance of promiscuity.
“The process of writing ‘Repercussion’ was difficult because of the nature of the issues addressed,” he said. “The initial theme of this project was to write a narrative of humanized and emotional works, but during the writing process, the depth of the issues affected me more than I realized it would.”
Heavily influenced by the artists of the Harlem Renaissance, Thomas tributes Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, and Countee Cullen in his works. All poems align to biblical scriptures, which are noted as “instruments” associated with each piece. Exceptions are those dedicated to Hip Hop, Martin Luther King, Jr., Halle Berry’s academy award, and Charlayne Hunter-Gault '63 and Hamilton Holmes '63 - the pioneers who desegregated Thomas’ college alma mater.
Thomas graduated from the University of Georgia in 2001, where he became the first African American editor-in-chief of the independent daily student newspaper, The Red & Black, in the school’s bicentennial history. He also served as the Student Chairman for the institution’s 40th Anniversary of Desegregation Commemoration in 2001. Black Issues in High Education named the event one of that year’s 10 most notable events.
“Publicly, I’ve fully focused on developing a thriving professional career,” he added. “However, behind the scenes I’ve been in the trenches studying and writing literature and musical forms to improve my craft.”
Since 2001, Thomas has worked on community initiatives with the Federal Reserve System, National Center for Black Philanthropy, Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the nonprofit, Helping Teens Succeed, Inc. Thomas chaired the planning for the Southern Regional Council’s commemoration of “Brown v. Board of Education” in April 2004. He serves on the leadership team of the Southeastern U.S. Region of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., which named him their 2001 Brother of the Year.
Thomas works for the Georgia-Pacific Corporation as a communications and community affairs professional and has been featured in National Public Radio, NBC 11-Alive, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Time Magazine.
To learn more about Mark Anthony Thomas, visit markanthonythomas.com. The Poetic Repercussion is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com or at local bookstores. To request book for review or author interview, contact Gini Zunma '03 at (678) 938-4443, or email@example.com.
Mark Anthony Thomas will perform works from The Poetic Repercussion on February 24, 12-2 in Adinkra Hall. Ten books will be raffled off to attendees. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. A reception and book signing will follow. This event is sponsored by the UGA Alumni Association, African American Cultural Center, Multicultural Services and Programs and Student Government.
Athens Area Alumni Entrepreneur: Donna Taylor '79
Donna C. Taylor '79 is President/Senior Associate of Human Capital Developers, a private consulting company that she established in 1992. The company specializes in leadership and organizational development and does so by providing consulting services, training programs/workshops, group facilitation, strategic planning, and non-profit board development.
Clients include federal, state, and local government agencies including the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Tennessee State Department of Health, and several departments within Athens-Clarke County government; colleges and universities including the University of Georgia, Tuskegee University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Pine Bluff, Langston University, and Fort Valley State University; non profit organizations, community based adult and youth leadership programs, and churches and the faith community.
Prior to starting a business, Donna was a faculty member for 12.5 years with the University of Georgia. She worked on the county level as Coordinator-Community Development in Macon/Bibb County and on state level as a Community Adult Education Specialist with the Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. As a Community Adult Education Specialist she provided daily oversight to four community and economic development projects that were funded by a $1.2 million Kellogg Foundation grant. During her final four years she assisted Georgia’s leaders as a Leadership Development Associate with the Fanning Leadership Institute.
Human Capital Developers is located at 3720 Atlanta Hwy., Suite One, Athens, GA 30606