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UGA Mourns the Loss of Three Great Members of the Bulldog Family

Although I never look forward to featuring the passing of UGA alumni on this blog, I do enjoy looking back on the lives of the University’s great graduates and celebrating their lives and accomplishments. January marked the passing of three storied members of the Bulldog family and I’d like to take a moment to recognize them.

Curtis “Coot” Beall (BSA ’47), of Dublin, Georgia, passed away surrounded by family members on January 10. Beal was born in 1922 in Brewton, Georgia, and graduated from UGA. While in Athens, he was active in campus activities including Gridiron, Omicron Delta Kappa, Aghon, and Blue Key Honor Society. Having been on the 1942 cheering squad when UGA played in the Rose Bowl, Beall held the distinction of being UGA’s oldest living male cheerleader. He led Sanford Stadium in cheers at the annual Homecoming game until 2011. Proceeds from Beall’s book, Memoirs of a Marine Dawg: From the Rose Bowl to the Pacific Theatre, will be donated to UGA Cheerleading. Curtis will be remembered as one of the most devoted fans in Georgia history.

James “Jim” Colvert, 91, died in Athens on January 13. Colvert came to UGA in 1968 as editor of The Georgia Review, and was a full professor until he retired in 1988. He was also head of the English Department for seven years. Before arriving in Athens, Colvert served in the United States Army Air Corps in World War II. His family and friends enjoyed his stories, often humorous, about his experiences and observations from a life well-lived.

Former Alabama Senator Hinton Mitchem (BSED ’61) was born in 1938 in Georgia. After graduating from UGA, where he lettered in baseball, he took a job in Oconee County that soon transferred him to Albertville, Alabama. He became involved with the city’s Chamber of Commerce, was elected to the city council and eventually made his way to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1975. Mitchem became a state senator four years later and served in the Alabama State Senate until he retired in 2011. He is remembered by friends and family for his loyalty to UGA despite living in a state filled with SEC foes. Mitchem passed away in his home on January 22 surrounded by family.

Although I am saddened by the passing of these men, we are fortunately left with lasting memories of their time with us. UGA alumni and friends have the families of Jim Colvert, Coot Beall, and Hinton Mitchem in their thoughts and prayers, and we celebrate the part they played in the University of Georgia story.

Information or this blog post was sourced from the following links: Colvert, Beall, and Mitchem.

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Alumnus Spotlight: Jack B. Hood (AB ’69, JD ’71)

Jack B. Hood (AB ’69, JD ’71) is a Georgia Bulldog fan, lawyer, author and banjo player.

Proud to be a Double Dawg, he received a degree in international law from the University of Cambridge (Darwin College) in 1972. Jack currently serves as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham. He is currently a member of the Georgia, Alabama and District of Columbia bars. 

Recently, Jack returned from an American Bar Association (ABA) sponsored trip to Ireland and the United Kingdom to attend the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede. Jack is descended from Saer de Quincey, the first Early of Winchester and one of the 25 barons that forced King John to seal the document in 1215. Saer de Quincey was also a Templar Knight who “took the Cross” and later died on November 3, 1219, while on the Fifth Crusade at the siege of Damietta in Egypt. 

The ceremonies at Runnymede on June 15, 2015, were attended by British royalty and dignitaries from around the world including: Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip; William, Duke of Cambridge, Princess Anne; Prime Minister David Cameron; the Archbishop of Canterbury; William Hubbard, President of the ABA; and Loretta Lynch, attorney general of the United States.

Jack and his grandson Walkin 

Jack, his daughter, and grandson attended exclusive events for ABA members at the U.S. Ambassador (Kevin O’Malley) to Ireland’s residence at Deerfield in Phoenix Park, Dublin, and at the U.S. Ambassador (David Barzun) to the UK’s residence at Winfield House in Regent’s Park, London.


England's Prince William 

They visited Darwin College at the University of Cambridge and attended formal dinners and Darwin’s annual formal ball. They also managed to tour Royal Air Force Bases at Duxford, Mildenhall, and Lakenheath with the assistance of a current USAF JAG officer living in Cambridge.

Jack's time at UGA opened many doors for his career as a lawyer, professor, and author. Several of his undergraduate and law professors took a personal interest in his education and motivated Jack to work hard as a member of the legal profession. This ultimately allowed him to make this trip a memorable family event. Those inspirational professors at Georgia included Ed Best in undergraduate school, and Perry Sentell and Dean Rusk at law school.

Learn more about Jack Hood

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Alumnus and longtime supporter brings NASA to campus

Roger Hunter’s (BS ’78, Mathematics) passion for UGA is unmatched by most, and despite living thousands of miles from Athens, his veins are still filled with red and black.

In 2014, the associate director for programs at NASA Ames Research Center in California gave the fall commencement address and a TEDxUGA Talk. This past summer, he hosted UGA President Jere W. Morehead (JD ’80) and other university representatives on a tour of Ames, even surprising them with an image of Uga IX on Mars – the first “earth-being” to visit the surface of the Red Planet.

His commitment to UGA continued this fall when Roger brought two of his NASA colleagues, Roberto Carlino and Jasper Wolfe, to campus to present to and mentor students and faculty on the Friday prior to the UGA vs. South Carolina football game.

(left to right): NASA scientists Jasper Wolfe from Australia, Roberto Carlino from Italy and UGA’s own Roger Hunter from California.

Malcolm Adams, a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Math, arranged for an afternoon lecture in the Miller Learning Center that was open to all students and promoted in STEM classes on campus. The presentation focused on the history and future of the use of Cube-Sats (mini satellites used for space research) from the perspective of the NASA Ames Research Center.

Earlier that day, though, the NASA representatives participated in a seminar/workshop for a group of faculty and students who are planning to build the first UGA CubeSat to gather spectral data off the Georgia coast. The group includes faculty from geography, marine science, physics and math, and 25 to 30 undergraduate students.


Both the students and faculty in attendance were inspired by the exciting, breakthrough technology presented by the visitors, and were appreciative of the first-hand mentoring offered.

Roger Hunter continues to contribute to UGA through his time, expertise and financial support. His involvement is greatly appreciated and can be seen as a stellar example of alumni enriching the learning experience on campus through volunteerism.

If you are interested in mentoring on campus or bringing a special project to UGA students, please email and indicate your interest.

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Alumnus Spotlight: Joey Shonka (BS ’05)

Joey Shonka (BS ’05), a long distance hiker and mountaineer, is trying to become the first person to traverse the entire Andes mountain range on foot. He has completed the Triple Crown of Hiking, which refers to the three major U.S. long distance hiking trails: the Appalachian Trail (AT), the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). Joey has written the following books about his experiences hiking each of these trails.

"The Darkness in the Light" (about the AT)

"An American Nomad" (about the PCT)

"A Strong West Wind" (about the CDT)


In July 2013, Joey began his attempt to create the first unbroken chain of footsteps across the continent of South America. He started his trek at Cape Froward, the southernmost point on the mainland of South America. As part of his current journey, he has already hiked nearly 5,000 kilometers, crossed parts of the world's third-largest glacier network and summited seven of the highest peaks in the Americas. Joey checks in via a location tracker on his website to keep family, friends and fans updated. Recently, he was spotted near the Rio Vilcanota in Peru. Joey plans to culminate his hike in Columbia, political unrest permitting, around March 2016.

Learn more about Joey and follow his adventures around the world here.

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