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06.24.2013

Adam Bowling (BSEH ’13) delivers remarks to fellow graduates

May is always a busy time in Athens. I am disappointed I am unable to attend all of the graduation festivities that take place, but I often receive updates about them from colleagues on campus.

For instance, Kate O’Reilly, the director of development for the College of Public Health, reached out last month to share an update about the College of Public Health Graduation Celebration. She praised student speaker Adam Bowling (BSEH ’13), who delivered a powerful speech to his fellow graduates.

Instead of attempting to summarize Bowling’s address, I will let you enjoy his words in their original form:

Good afternoon. I am extremely humbled and excited to speak on behalf of the 2013 graduates of the College of Public Health.

First, I would like to say thank you to the faculty and staff who have guided us through these past few years. I would also like to say a big thank you to my family, who has been a constant source of encouragement, especially during the trials of organic chemistry. I know I’m probably not the only one. To my fellow graduates: Graduation! We made it! Though it hasn’t been easy to get here.

They say that the average college student will change their major at least 3 times and I know that I and many others were certainly in that group, but I’m so glad that I found public health.  As I look back on my four years, I now consider that choice one of the best decisions I made while at UGA.

One thing about public health that appealed to me was the opportunity to get out and see the world. Athens is a special place, but it wasn’t until I traveled away from here that I began to see the larger reach of this university and that no matter where I went, UGA went with me.

During the summer of 2010, I studied abroad in China to examine the use of traditional Chinese medicines and their health care system. One day, I set out to explore the tourist sites and went to climb the Great Wall of China. I was wearing a Georgia T-shirt and surprisingly ran into an alum from the class of ’97. She was working in Beijing and stopped me to wish me good luck and Go Dawgs!

That following winter, I participated in the study abroad program in Australia. While studying climate change and strategies for sustainable development, a friend and I decided to complete the climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  The whole thing felt crazy and we were both nervously awaiting the safety briefing to begin when a family of four in our climbing group started to suddenly sing “Glory, Glory to Old Georgia.” It turns out the parents were both Georgia alumni and we all made the climb together.  It seemed that wherever I went, there was a Georgia grad.

I’m sure that every graduate here has a story or two about their internship. It is the capstone experience of a Public Health degree and ties together academic and practical experience. From August to December of the past year, I worked in D.C. at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. My team focused on federal sustainability efforts within the government. This was an incredible learning experience with a steep learning curve and I was very thankful to meet a Georgia grad on another team who helped me to get settled. It seems UGA alumni truly are everywhere.

There is a Kurt Vonnegut quote that says “True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.” That may be so, but having spent the past four years among this group of incredible graduates, I am not afraid. I have seen the strength of my peers, their varied interests, and their passion, and I am confident and excited for our future.

In one of my favorite movies, Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams plays a new teacher at a stuffy private school. On the first day, instead of drilling all the students on Latin or history, he calls them all into the hall to gaze on the photos of past students, of alumni. He says to them, “Lean in real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you… Carpe Diem, seize the day… make your lives extraordinary.” Graduates, this is what I wish for all of us as we now become those alumni. That we will go on to do great things all around the world. Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary.  Congratulations 2013 graduates! God Bless and Go Dawgs!

Bowling is a National Merit Scholar and recipient of the UGA Charter Scholarship and the Zell Miller Scholarship. He received the John J. Sheuring Award for academic excellence and campus involvement, and was recognized at UGA’s Honors Day for being in the top five percent of his class.

As Bowling mentioned during his address, there are UGA alumni living in all corners of the world. As Bowling heads to Stanford Law School this fall, he will become one of those alumni who ‘calls the Dawgs” or sings a UGA cheer when he sees a visitor on campus in a UGA T-shirt or takes a class with a fellow grad.

Thank you for all that you did on campus, Adam, and for sending your fellow College of Public Health graduates into the “real world” with these words. Best of luck as you head to California this fall!

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07.23.2014

Make miracles happen with Gwinnett Braves

As an Emmy-winning reporter for CBS, Adam Murphy (ABJ ’97) spends a large amount of time in the spotlight. He works as a consumer investigative reporter, cracking down on scam artists and tracking dollars involved in large projects. Recently, the alumnus has been focusing his off-screen efforts on helping people.

In 2013, Murphy decided to use his influence to launch the nonprofit ‘Miracle for Mom’. The organization is dedicated to his own mother, Janice Murphy, who was diagnosed in 2010 with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). PSP is a progressive neurological disorder that causes complications with controlling balance, complex eye movements and upper-level thinking. Discovered in 1964, this relatively new disease has had little attention placed upon it by the scientific community due to its rarity. With no known cause, cure, or treatment procedure, the outlook for those suffering with PSP has looked bleak for the 1 in 100,000 Americans that will develop this neurological disorder. Miracle for Mom hopes to change that.

Miracle for Mom strives to find a cure for PSP and helps those living with the disease. In its four years, the charity has raised more than $10,000. This year alone, Miracle for Mom joined forces with the Atlanta Hawks to raise more than $4,000 in one night. Tonight (July 23), the charity is partnering with the Gwinnett Braves to hopefully raise even more to support the fight against PSP. 

Miracle for Mom Night with the Gwinnett Braves is being held tonight, July 23, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. A portion of ticket sales will be given to the organization. Attendees who purchase a "First Pitch Ticket," will be given and especially good seat in the stadium. And for $15, attendees can enjoy a delicious pre-game tailgate catered by Williamson Bros. BBQ.

Tonight's event is sure to be fun, but also important in the fight against PSP. 

Learn more about Miracle for Mom and/or purchase tickets for tonight's game at www.miracleformom.org

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07.22.2014

2014 is “Going to the Dawgs”

The 2014 fiscal year was an incredible year for the University of Georgia for a variety of reasons. For students, each semester marks one step closer to graduation. For faculty, 2014 has brought national awards, advances in research and the promise of more excitement to come.

For instance, three of the Brazilian stadiums that were used during the World Cup were outfitted with TifGrand, a shade-tolerant, wear-tolerant bermudagrass hypbrid developed by UGA and the U.S. Departement of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. Despite this (and many other) amazing accomplishments that have taken place since last July, one record-breaking event has created the possibility of an even more produtive upcoming year.

The 2014 fiscal year saw the largest number of gifts and donations in the history of the university. Between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, UGA received a staggering $126.4 million from 56,897 different contributors. This amount reflects a 4 percent increase over 2013 and the second time in the university’s history that it received more than $120 million.

"This record year is a tribute to the faith our alumni and friends have in the future of our great university," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead (JD '80).

That faith has certainly not been poorly placed. These donations will help fund the projects and plans that UGA has for the coming years. From a renovated Veterinary Medical Learning Center to updating multiple residence halls across campus, these generous gifts are making it possible for UGA undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff to thrive in a well-designed and constantly improving environment.

Beyond these larger projects, donations to the university work daily for students and alumni through the UGA Alumni Association and Student Alumni Association, two organizations that connect students and alumni to each other, to the university and to the traditions and history that make UGA special.

This year has been record-breaking, but also record-setting. The bar has been raised to $126.4 million in donations. Now it’s time for the Bulldog Nation to make sure that 2015 is an even more incredible year for the University of Georgia. Make a pledge today for a better UGA tomorrow!

To learn more about this news, click here.

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07.18.2014

A Bulldog reunion 30 years in the making

With so many University of Georgia alumni and even former professors scattered around the world, you never know where two former Dawgs might run into each other, even after decades.

John Shearer (AB ’83) recently hooked up with his old Myers Hall faculty resident friend, Dr. Joe Snow, while traveling through Madrid, Spain, in a reunion that in some respects had been more than 30 years in the making. 


Dr. Joe Snow (left) and John Shearer in Madrid

The story of their friendship began when Shearer moved into Myers in January 1982 after two years of living in the now-razed McWhorter Hall as a walk-on football player and then four quarters in University Gardens Apartments off Baxter Street. In Myers, which was two-thirds male at the time, Shearer said he finally found the closely knit, small-college-like community of male and female students for which he had been longing.

Among the many people he befriended was Snow, a Spanish and Portuguese language instructor, who had an arrangement with university housing to live there at a greatly reduced rent. Snow's only job was to circulate among the students and help break down the barriers between students and faculty. 

Through Snow, Shearer found out about a 1983 spring break trip being planned to Russia, then called the Soviet Union, by then-University of Georgia Russian language professor Dr. Harold Schefski. Shearer ended up going on the trip with his mother, Dr. Snow, Dr. Snow’s sister and several other students. Upon their return to the United States in those pre-Internet days, they learned that Georgia had qualified for the Final Four in men’s and women’s basketball for the first time.

Shearer, who majored in geography, ended up keeping a journal about his trip, and that inspired him to pursue a journalism and writing career that continues 30 years later on a freelance basis from his home in Knoxville, Tenn.  In 2013, Shearer wrote a column on the 30th anniversary of his trip and through Dr. Schefski, who now teaches at California State University, Long Beach, he reconnected with Snow via email.

Snow, who became interested in Spanish while a high school student in New Jersey, had left UGA in the early 1990s to begin teaching at Michigan State University. Today, he spends most of his time in retirement in Madrid in a residence he was able to pay for in part due to his reduced rent while at Myers Hall.


Laura Shearer (ABJ '69) and Dr. Joe Snow

After realizing he would be traveling to Madrid in June with his wife, Laura Anderson Shearer (ABJ ’69), on the way to visit her son in Portugal, Shearer made plans to reconnect with Snow. And since it would be Shearer’s first overseas trip since the Russian excursion, he could say he had been with Snow on every international trip he had taken.

“It was neat reconnecting with him,” said Shearer, who had not seen Snow since the first year or two after he graduated. “He took us to an out-of-the way restaurant with which he was familiar, and it ended up being one of the best meals on our nearly two-week trip. But the conversation was even better. His engaging and warm manner that had endeared him to students became familiar again. 

“And most of all, it was neat comparing our memories of both the Russia trip and our experiences in Myers Hall, because my time in Myers was one of the happiest of my life.”

Written by freelance journalist John Shearer (AB ’83)

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