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05.03.2013

UGA students receive Udall, Truman and Goldwater scholarships

When I meet with alumni and friends, I am always pleased to share updates on the quality of students attending UGA. This year, for the first time, more than 20,000 young people applied for 5,000 slots in UGA’s freshman class. This is impressive and shows just how much the University’s quality of education has improved over the past few decades.

While the overall quality of UGA students is very high, there are still a few that rise above the rest. Today, I’d like to acknowledge several UGA students who rival even the top Ivy Leaguers and have been awarded Udall, Truman and Goldwater scholarships for 2013.

2013 Udall Scholars

Congratulations to both Sara Black and Ian Karra for being awarded 2013 Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation Scholarships. Each scholarship, accompanied by up to $5,000, is awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors pursuing careers focused on environmental or Native American public policy. Sara and Ian bring the University’s total number of Udall Scholars to 12 in the past ten years.

Sara is a junior in the UGA Foundation Fellows Program from Birmingham, Ala. who is pursuing degrees in anthropology from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and in ecology from the Odum School of Ecology. She plans to pursue a career in the environmental or food justice nonprofit sector.

Ian is a junior from Roswell who is pursuing degrees in economics and finance from the Terry College of Business. He plans to pursue a career in grassroots environmental advocacy, influencing renewable energy policy at the state level and at institutions of higher education. He and Sara co-lead Georgia YES, a network of more than 75 student environmental leaders on more than a dozen campuses in Georgia. The organization promotes clean energy infrastructure and policy on college campuses throughout the state.

Matthew Tyler, a junior Honors student and Foundation Fellow from Atlanta received an honorable mention.

2013 Truman Scholar

Smitha Ganeshan, an Honors student majoring in anthropology, has received a 2013 Harry S. Truman Scholarship, which recognizes juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government and elsewhere in public service.

She was one of 62 students to receive the scholarship, which offers up to $30,000 for graduate study. The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences student is the 18th UGA recipient of the scholarship since 1982 and the only recipient in Georgia this year.

Smitha, who aims to pursue a dual M.D. and Master in Public Policy degree, is active in health care and health policy issues in Athens and around the globe. She has been involved with UGA’s Roosevelt Institute, a student-run think tank, since her freshman year and currently directs its health policy center and its environmental policy center. Through the Roosevelt Institute, she developed a policy proposal to improve access to primary care services for low income and uninsured patients.

2013 Goldwater Scholar

Philip Grayeski, a junior Honors student majoring in genetics and chemistry, has been named a 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar. The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation provides up to $7,500 per year for university expenses such as tuition, fees, books and room and board. UGA students have received the Goldwater Scholarship almost every year since the mid-1990s. Philip brings the University's total of Goldwater Scholars to 44.

Philip is among 271 recipients of the scholarship that recognizes exceptional sophomores and juniors in engineering, mathematics and the natural sciences. He intends to pursue a combined M.D. / Ph.D. degree with a focus on gene therapy and translating academic research into treatments for cancer and hereditary disorders.

Philip spent three months at Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany researching genetic approaches for targeting melanoma treatments. He has presented his research findings at the UGA Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Symposium and at a meeting of the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy in France. He is the co-founder and executive director of Whatever It Takes at UGA, where he coordinates a network of more than 300 student volunteers for educational and health and wellness programs targeting families in Athens Clarke-County.

Tuan Nguyen, a sophomore from Douglasville, Ga. earned an honorable mention.

I am proud of these amazing students’ outstanding academic and extracurricular achievements. Congratulations to Sara, Ian and Smitha on receiving these scholarships. Congratulations are also in order for Matthew and Tuan on their honorable mentions. You’ve all made the Bulldog Nation proud!

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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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