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10.10.2012

Omaha Beach Veteran Joseph Lee Parker Jr. ‘38 Passes Away - Leaves Legacy of Serving Patients

I am saddened to hear the news of the passing of Dr. Joseph Lee Parker, Jr. He was a proud member of The University of Georgia family and the last surviving Navy doctor who landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy during the D-Day invasion of World War II. His heroism continued after the War when he established his own practice in rural Greensboro, Georgia, serving patients 24 hours a day and later as the chief of staff of the Minnie G. Boswell Hospital. Dr. Parker will be dearly missed, but the legacy of his work serving others lives on. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Parker’s family during this time.

Below you will find Dr. Parker’s obituary as provided by the McCommons Funeral Home.

Dr. Parker of Greensboro, Georgia died on Thursday, September 27, 2012 at the age of 95 at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital. He was born November 20, 1916 in Waycross, Georgia, the son of the late Joseph Lee Parker, Sr. and Vera Estelle Sweat. He was an Eagle Scout and a graduate of Waycross High School and The University of Georgia. While at The University of Georgia, he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity and lettered in swimming. He graduated from the Medical College of Georgia and married the late Martha Fleming of Augusta.

Dr. Parker served as a physician during World War II with the Navy and Marines. He was stationed in England and was part of the first wave of the Normandy Invasion during the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach with the 6th Naval Beach Battalion. He was the last surviving Navy surgeon of that invasion. He attended the wounded—both Allied and German—for twenty-one days on the beach. He received numerous awards and decorations from both the United States government and the Republic of France. Later, he served with the Marines in China and Guam.

After his military service, he established a medical practice in Greensboro, Georgia where he provided professional health care to the people of Greene and surrounding counties. In a rural practice with no hospital, 24-hour, 7-day a week house calls were an everyday event for Dr. Parker. He knew every country dirt road like the back of his hand. He was one of the founding physicians of the Minnie G. Boswell Hospital in 1949. He served as chief of staff for the hospital for twenty-five years until his retirement. Beloved and esteemed by all who had the privilege of knowing him, he was a hero to his community.

Dr. Parker married Carolyn Baugh Reynolds in 1987, and after his retirement they traveled all over the world. He also enjoyed spending time at his house on the Georgia coast as he loved being near the water. He built his first sailboat in St. Simons at the age of 14. He spent the last twenty-five years of his life on Lake Oconee.

Lee was a member of the Greensboro First Baptist Church and attended the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. He was a 60-year member of the Masons, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and American Legion.

In addition to his wife, Carolyn Reynolds Parker, he is survived by a daughter, Jane Parker '43 and a son, Joseph Lee Parker III, grandchildren, Mandy Parker and Robert Snider; Rynee and Michael Strickland; Allison and Dusty Laux; and Joely and Matt Nicholson, Great-grandchildren Hayden and Conner Strickland; Jonah and Sam Laux; and Parker and Tessa Nicholson. He was preceded in death by his brother Jack Parker and Anna Parker, and his sister Vera Parker and Cleve Mincey and a grandson Lee Whichard.

Extended family members are Frances and Gentry Strickland, Jamie and Kathy Reynolds, Marguerite and the late Troy McInteer, Harold and Lesley Reynolds, Beth and Bobby Thomas, Jim and Ellen Strickland, Bill and Tabi Strickland, Jamie Reynolds IV, Chandler Reynolds, Jackson Reynolds, Will and Jack Thomas, Carolyn, Mary Cate, Davis and Amanda Strickland, and Ella and Hal Strickland.

Funeral services were held Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. at the McCommons Funeral Chapel with Dr. David Key and The Reverend Joseph D. Greene III officiating. Interment with military honors followed in the Greenview Cemetery. Serving as pallbearers were Johnny Hester, Mike Bradley, Billy Jarrard, Herbie Thurmond, Chris Houston, Dr. Dave Ringer, Carey Williams, Jr. and Richard Maddux.

The family requests that any memorials be made to the Active Duty Rehabilitation Unit of Augusta VA, c/o Reynolds Veterans Association, Inc., 6350 Lake Oconee Parkway, Suite 102, PMB 163, Greensboro, GA 30642. McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements.

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02.10.2016

2016 TEDxUGA

Join the University of Georgia for the fourth annual TEDxUGA on Friday, March 18.

TEDxUGA 2016: Illuminate will bring UGA’s brightest minds into the spotlight to share their stories, experiences, and ideas worth spreading. Today’s ideas will illuminate tomorrow’s possibilities. The faculty, staff, student and alumni presenters of TEDxUGA 2016 know that all it takes is a single spark. Several alumni will present at this year’s event:

  • Phillip (AB ’06, ABJ ’06) and Eileen Blume – international award-winning, socially conscious photographers and owners of Blume Photography Studios, a 2016 Bulldog 100 business. The pair will be TEDxUGA’s first duo presenters.
  • Marc Gorlin (ABJ ’95) – owner of Kabbage, Inc. and the 2015 No. 1 Bulldog 100 business, Roadie.
  • Melaney Cook-Smith (BBA ’89) – founder of Books for Keeps, a grassroots effort to provide books to those children that might otherwise have none and a 2016 Bulldog 100 business.
  • Reese Hoffa (BSED ’02) – represents the United States as an Olympic shot putter in London, Athens, and Beijing. He won the bronze medal in 2012 and is currently training for the 2016 Olympics.

Registration opens tomorrow, February 11, at 8:00 a.m. to all UGA alumni, students, faculty and staff. 

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02.09.2016

Building a welcoming and supportive campus community

Launched during the 2015 Homecoming Weekend in October, UGA Black Alumni is the official affinity group for black graduates of the University of Georgia. Similar to the Women of UGA program, UGA Black Alumni exists underneath the umbrella of the UGA Alumni Association and seeks to connect black alumni and students.

Each year, UGA enrolls an increasingly diverse student population and it is important to connect alumni and students with shared experiences to continue building a welcoming and supportive campus community. 

“As a student and an alumna, one thing I felt was missing from my UGA experience was the presence and mentorship of UGA alumni who looked like me. In 2008, I saw the first Black Alumni Homecoming Tailgate on Myers Quad and was full of emotion,” said Ambre Reed (BSFCS ’09), a member of the UGA Black Alumni Leadership Council. “The creation of UGA Black Alumni and its Black Alumni Leadership Council is so important to our community. Becoming involved was a no-brainer for me.” 

The mission of UGA Black Alumni is five-fold: recruit black students, faculty and staff; support black students to completion of a degree program; engage current students and alumni by mentoring and professional development; ‘friendraising’ and fundraising for UGA needs; and serve as UGA ambassadors in the community and to fellow Bulldogs 

Raymond Phillips (BS ’12), another member of the UGA Black Alumni Leadership Council says that groups like UGA Black Alumni and Women of UGA send an important message to the university community, as well as prospective students.

“The time and resources the university is investing into UGA Black Alumni demonstrates its commitment to diversity and inclusion,” he said. “This investment shows there is a place for everyone at UGA, regardless of one’s race, gender or age.”

Reed echoed this message.

“The creation of UGA Black Alumni sends the message that the university not only sees diversity as an asset while on campus, but after graduation, too,” she said.

Serving as an ambassador for UGA, a key part of the group’s mission, involves activities like participating in Give That Dawg a Bone, a card-writing campaign in partnership with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, which invites alumni to write notes to accepted students, encouraging them to call UGA home for the next four years.

Members of UGA Black Alumni also are invited to attend information sessions and recruitment fairs throughout the year, where they can educate talented black high school students about UGA, its traditions and culture.

Reed admits that as a high school student, she never considered attending UGA. It was not until a black recruiter visited her high school in metro Atlanta and spoke about UGA with passion and pride that she realized it could be a place that she, a black student, could feel accepted and comfortable.

The services that are now a core part of UGA Black Alumni are what helped recruit Ambre and are what will help recruit more talented and diverse students in the future.

Another key component of UGA Black Alumni is raising funds for the Black Alumni Scholarship, which supports up to four students a year. Charles Orgbon III, a member of the Class of 2017 and recipient of the Black Alumni Scholarship, is CEO of Greening Forward, one of America’s largest youth-driven environmental organizations. It is talented students like Orgbon, who are supported by the important work of UGA Black Alumni, that are helping to further cement UGA’s reputation as a top-tier public institution.

The UGA Alumni Association is proud to support UGA Black Alumni as it continues to engage the university’s more than 288,000 alumni around the world.

To learn more about UGA Black Alumni, visit www.alumni.uga.edu/blackalumni.

Interested in joining Ambre and Raymond on the Black Alumni Leadership Council? Click here.

To support students like Charles Orgbon III and other recipients of the Black Alumni Scholarship, click here

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02.03.2016

Alumnus Spotlight: Peter Conlon (BBA '75)

One of the biggest attractions to the Atlanta music scene is its annual music festival, Music Midtown. From mainstream pop artists to rising rock bands, Music Midtown offers the crowds that gather performances from a wide variety of artists. For Peter Conlon (BBA '75), one of two founders of the festival and president of Peter Conlon Presents, this was the overall goal: to create an event fit for attendees of all music tastes and genres.

Conlon graduated from Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in international business in 1975. During his four years as an undergraduate student, he was a member of University Union where he first began booking rock concerts that featured artists such as Jethro Tull and the Allman Brothers. He attended law school for a short period of time after graduation, but then took a risk and dropped out to work as an intern for the Carter presidential campaign, a risk that ended up paying off through a victory.

Peter continued to work for Jimmy Carter throughout his presidential term. His position required that he help set up benefit concerts for the president. In 1982, Conlon partnered with Alex Cooley to begin his career in the music industry.

Music Midtown at Piedmont Park

After working many years booking concerts, the pair founded Music Midtown in 1994, inspired by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. After having to pull the plug on the event in 2005 due to low sales, the festival was reintroduced in 2011 and now takes up several stages across Piedmont Park, hosts more than 30 different artists, and attracts attendees from all over the nation. Moreover, since the festival’s relaunch, it has generated $50 million for the local economy each year.

Congratulations to Peter and best wishes for the continued success of Music Midtown! 

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