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02.11.2013

UGA Grads Pioneer the South’s Newest Cash Crop

Wine connoisseurs tend to be very particular when it comes to the origin and grape used to make some of the world’s fine wines. The same can be said for olive oil. While the experts will tell you the best comes from the Mediterranean region, a Georgia family has set out to prove that quality olive oil can be produced a little closer to home.

The Shaw family of Lakeland, Georgia, produced Georgia’s first certified extra-virgin olive oil through their Georgia Olive Farms cooperative. The trio of farmers responsible includes Jason Shaw (AB ’96), a Georgia state legislator, his father Jay Shaw, and his cousin Kevin Shaw (BS ’93). The deep Southeast used to be home to many olive groves until they were abandoned during the Civil War. The Shaw’s groves are the state’s first commercially grown in more than a century.

The idea began when Jason studied abroad in Verona, Italy, while attending UGA. He realized that the climate in South Georgia mirrors that of the region that produces the world’s finest olive oils The family began with an initial crop of saplings in the spring of 2009, and as of early 2012 their trees had matured and were ready for production. The Shaw’s initial reserves went to Southern chefs, including Athens’ own Peter Dale of The National.

If the olive oil takes hold, that could mean huge revenues for local farmers and the state. The Shaw’s believe that once consumers begin to see the olive oil on the tables of their favorite restaurants, it will sell itself. We hope it does just that! Congratulations and best of luck to this Bulldog family – we’ll keep our eyes peeled for your products in the future.

For more information, please visit georgiaolivefarms.com.To order olive oil from Georgia Olive Farms, go to http://georgiaolivefarms.com/store.php.

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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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02.01.2016

Alumna Spotlight: Devin Clower (BFA ’08)

Anyone family with downtown Athens and its eclectic variety of shops is surely familiar with Frontier. Since opening nearly 20 years ago, the store has connected local artists with community members by providing a venue for them to showcase and sell their work. 

UGA alumna Devin Clower (BFA '08) took ownership of the store three years ago. Her background in interior design helped her with the introduction of custom framing and redesigning the store layout.

The store’s motto, “All for the heart and home,” is reflected in the unique gifts that you can find at the store. Devin has worked hard to fulfill the motto, and through her leadership, the store has grown into a local favorite.

Congratulations on your hard work, Devin!

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01.29.2016

UGA awards the President’s Medal

On January 27, the UGA President’s Medal was awarded to Francis “Abit” Massey (BBA ’49) and the late Jane Seddon Willson. This honor recognizes extraordinary support and contributions to individuals that have made a tremendous impact in the lives of students and staff. Through them, the university is able to continue to push forward to greater heights in the realm of academia.

Francis "Abit" Massey (BBA '49)

Abit served as the president of the UGA Alumni Association’s Board of Directors from 1991-1993. Throughout his career, he served in the roles of head of the Georgia Department of Economic Development and executive director of the Georgia Poultry Federation. Currently, he is serving on the board of the UGA Real Estate Foundation, Georgia Research Foundation, and is an emeritus trustee of the UGA Foundation. Moreover, Abit has received numerous medals throughout his lifetime that include the 1986 UGA Alumni Merit Award and the Harold E. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award from the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association.

During her lifetime, Jane served as a member of on the Arts and Sciences Advisory Board, the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Council, the Franklin College Advisory Board, the UGA Research Foundation, the Honors Program and Advisory Board, the Georgia Museum of Art Board of Advisors, and she served as an emerita trustee of the UGA Research Foundation. In 2004, she endowed the William Harry Willson Distinguished Chair of Business in honor of her husband and later on, she created the Willson International Honors Scholars Program for students in the university’s Honors Program. Jane was honored with a Doctor of Laws degree in 2006, one of the highest accolades granted to any individual that is a part of the Bulldog community, and in 2008, she was inducted into the Crystal Arch Society in recognition of her passion for giving back to the university.


 

The late Jane Willson 

 “We are honored to recognize two great Georgians for helping to improve our state and strengthen the university,” said President Morehead. “Through their influential vision and tremendous generosity, both Abit Massey and the late Jane Willson have had a profound impact on UGA, and their contributions will continue to benefit the university for generations to come.”

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