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11.01.2012

Franklin College honors six graduates with inaugural outstanding alumni award

The University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences honored six of its alumni, who work in fields as diverse as evolutionary genetics, film, and design and space exploration, at its inaugural Alumni Awards Ceremony October 18th.

The winners of the 2012 Franklin College Outstanding Alumni Award are:

Jennifer Holloway ’00 of Athens, a mezzo-soprano vocalist, earned her bachelor’s degree in music from UGA and a specialist degree in vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music. She has performed significant leading roles in major opera houses in North America, South America and Europe, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Maggio Musicale in Florence, Italy. 

Roger Hunter ’78 of San Jose, California, is a project manager for NASA’s Kepler Project. Hunter, who earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics, is leading NASA’s mission to determine the frequency of planets that have the potential to harbor life. The mission began in 2009 and already has led to the identification of hundreds of Earth-size planet candidates.

James N. Ihle ’71 of Memphis, Tennessee, is the Edward F. Barry Endowed Chair in Biochemistry at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Ihle, who earned his doctorate from the department of biochemistry and molecular biology, is a highly cited researcher who has published more than 350 scientific articles, including a landmark paper in Nature that revealed a key step in the process the body uses to rid itself of faulty or unneeded cells.

Melissa Kirkpatrick ’89 of Hidden Hills, California, is a noted fabric designer. Kirkpatrick, who received her bachelor’s degree in printmaking, launched her MK Collection line of fabrics, rugs and wall coverings in 2011. Her work has been featured in publications such as Elle Decoration, Interior Design and House Beautiful.

Judith Mank ’06 of London, England, is a professor who holds the chair of evolutionary and comparative biology at University College London. Mank, who earned her doctorate in genetics, is working to understand how evolutionary pressures differ between females and males and how this ultimately results in the differing observable characteristics that so many animals exhibit based on sex.

Christopher Todd Wells ’10 of Playa Del Rey, California, is a filmographer known for his visual effects work. Wells, who earned his bachelor’s degree in theatre and film studies in 2010, has created visual effects for more than 50 major movies, in many cases serving as visual effects supervisor. Among his credits are “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Toy Story 3,” “Avatar,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “300” and “X-Men: The Last Stand.”

Please join me in congratulating these amazing graduates of the University. As the largest and oldest college on campus, Franklin’s far reach is illustrated by the breadth of the fields covered by the 2012 Franklin College Outstanding Alumni Award winners. Their impact can be seen everywhere from Athens to California to London. These are truly outstanding alumni and I wish them all the best. Go Dawgs!

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04.23.2014

Alumna puts passion for historic preservation into action

Catherine Garner (MHP ’13) has a passion for preserving the historic buildings of Salisbury, NC. After finishing her undergraduate degree in geography and urban planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Garner interned with preservation planners in Winston-Salem. Fulfilled by the work, she chose to pursue the path of historic preservation, eventually earning her master's degree from UGA in preservation planning.

Since then, Garner has landed her dream job as Salisbury’s newest city planner and liaison to the City’s Historic Preservation Commission. In this position, she help develop communities in which people want to live. She is involved in the city’s new "one-stop shop" for development services. The innovative program encourages local business owners to obtain city permits and a business license under the same roof. By streamlining the process, more local businesses will be involved in the city planning process.

Congratulations, Catherine! It’s great to see an alumna making a difference in her community. The work you do will impact Salisbury for generations to come.

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04.22.2014

Longtime UGA supporter hangs his “Gone Fishing” sign

William “Dink” H. NeSmith, Jr. (ABJ ’70) is one of the most passionate Bulldogs you will meet. A 1970 graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, NeSmith is co-owner and publisher of Athens-based Community Newspapers, Inc., which publishes dozens of newspapers in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. As if his professional responsibilities didn’t keep him busy enough, NeSmith, a self-admitted “joiner,” has dedicated as much (if not more) of his free time to higher education.The list of his past university volunteer roles is unparalleled:

  -  chairman of Grady's advisory board and president of its alumni board;

  -  chairman of the board of directors of the Fanning Leadership Institute;

  -  chairman of the Richard B. Russell Foundation;

  -  member of the Athletic Association Board of Directors; and

  -  trustee of the UGA Foundation

In addition, NeSmith is a past president of the UGA Alumni Association and served from 2003 to 2005. He could always be counted on to support his alma mater, and his leadership was surely a factor in UGA’s rise to a top 20 public institution of higher education.

In 2008, Gov. Sonny Perdue asked NeSmith to join the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents. Five years later, he was serving as chairman of the 18-person governing board for USG. Only the third Athenian to fill this position, NeSmith recently concluded his term as chairman.

Reflecting on a lifetime of professional and philanthropic endeavors, NeSmith recently penned a short piece about his readiness to enjoy his greatest accomplishment: his family. The alumnus is surrounded by an ever-growing swath of Bulldog Faithful: his wife, Pam (BSHE ’71); three children, Alan (BSA ’04), Emily (AB ’99) and Eric (ABJ ’02); and seven grandsons. Upon the birth of each grandchild, NeSmith proudly gave them each a lifetime membership with the UGA Alumni Association. Although the Alumni Association is no longer dues-based, the NeSmith family boasts an impressive 15 lifetime members!

Read more about NeSmith’s transition to “grandpa time” here. This is one alumnus who has certainly earned the right to hang his “Gone Fishing” sign on the door. Thank you for your continued support, Dink, and your fine leadership in many areas across campus and the state.

Dink NeSmith is a regular contributor to the Athens Banner-Herald; read more of his pieces here.

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04.21.2014

McCall Wilder Designs offers timeless clothing options for children

McCall Wilder (ABJ '92) was having trouble locating the perfect outfit for her first baby's Christening. After an usuccessful search, the alumna decided to take matters into her own hands and create her own elegant and timeless clothing pieces for children. And so, in 2001, McCall Wilder Designs was established.

Wilder grew up in Athens with dreams of designing and pursuing journalism. She attended Hollins College in Virginia before transferring to UGA to study broadcast news in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. After graduating, Wilder interned and worked for CNN in Atlanta, taking part in the launch of CNN.com, the Internet’s first news site. She remained at CNN as a writer and producer until 1999.

Wilder’s “Baby McCall line” of heirloom gowns and special occasion outfits was only available by appointment until May 2008, when the first McCall Wilder Couture for Children Boutique & Atelier opened in the heart of Atlanta. The Baby McCall and McCall Wilder Designs lines now include more than 50 different styles, from crib bedding to dresses for teens and women.

Congratulations on your successful business venture, McCall. Your clothes and other products are simply beautiful.

Stay up-to-date on news and design ideas through the McCall Wilder Designs Facebook page.

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