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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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03.04.2015

Alumnus Spotlight: Alex Crevar (AB '93)

The University of Georgia, which ranks among the top 20 public universities by U.S. News & World Report, has a student body of more than 34,000. While many students arrive at UGA right out of high school, many do not. For example, consider journalist Alex Crevar (AB '93). After graduating from UGA in the early 1990s, Alex spent nearly 20 years traveling abroad and working as a freelance journalist, contributing to The New York Times, Men's Journal, National Geographic and more.

Alex has returned to UGA to pursue a masters degree from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. He still works full time as a travel editor for Paste Magazine and part time as a spin instructor at the Ramsey Student Center. Assistant Director of Communications Jamie Lewis (AB '12, AB '12) sat down with Alex to discuss the biggest changes he's noticed at UGA since his undergraduate years and what it's like to return as a non-traditional student. 

What prompted you to first attend UGA? What was your major and were you involved in any students activities?

UGA was one of the only schools I applied to and it was where all my friends were. Frankly, in those days, it was not a hard place to be accepted. I knew I would have fun. As a student, I was a communications major. I ran triathalons and played ultimate frisbee for UGA. I took a semester off to ski. I had a great time and still graduated with fairly good grades. 

What did you do between graduating from UGA the first time and returning to earn your masters? How did your time at UGA prepare you for your career?

For the last 18, I have been a journalist. I lived between Europe and the U.S., covering travel for a variety of newspapers and magazines. 

During my time at UGA, I became an adult -- of sorts -- and someone who was confident that he could try new things and visit new places. UGA and Athens have always been comfortable for me and because of those roots, I could live elsewhere knowing I always had a place to return, which is no small thing for any person. 

  

Alex during his undergraduate years at UGA in the early 1990s

What made you want to return to Athens and UGA?

I came back to earn a masters in journalism. I want to eventually teach journalism at the college level while continuing to freelance. 

Briefly discuss some of the biggest differences between your first time at UGA and now? How has campus changed, biggest difference in the student body, etc.

The biggest difference, without question, is technology. There was no Internet when I attended UGA. Now, of course, people are on their phones and laptops all the time. I find myself a little frustrated by the constant need to be in touch by device and the Internet.

The students today seem to be much more focused on school than I was ... or my friends were. But again, UGA wasn't the kind of place you had to fight to get into back then. Having said that, my generation loved Athens for Athens. Largely we were here because of the town. It seems that students are here now more for the school, which is appropriate, of course.

Are you interested in returning to UGA to earn a graduate degree? Click here to learn more about opportunities with UGA's Graduate School, which has many nationally ranked programs.

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02.25.2015

Alumna Spotlight: Sara Alread (BFA ’09)

Sara Alread (BFA '09) of Saint Simons Island, Georgia successfully launched her business, Little River Designs, in April 2013. The web-based business features rustic hand-crafted, wooden designs for the Southern home. Litter River Designs is a family business in every sense of the word. Sara's father is a carpenter, while her mother and sister serve as constant inspirations for new designs. The idea to create Little River Designs came in the form of a new family member. 

Sara shares how Litter River Designs got its name, "On November 30, 2011, my nephew, River, was born. He became our inspiration and official mascot. We were already making signs, planning weddings and building furniture for ourselves when friends became interested in what we were creating. Soon after River was born, Little River Designs began."

Little River Designs centers around a timeless family tradition: tracking grandchildrens' growth-spurts on the wall at grandma's house. Little River Designs' most popular item is the wooden Grow Chart Rulers.

      

Grow Chart Rulers by Litter River Designs

Today, Little River Designs continues to develop its online business and clientele. A recent expansion includes a line of wedding signs and the personalization of all Litter River Design products. As Sara and her team grow the Little River Designs line, they have gained the attention of a few big crafting and design websites. The business has been featured on SwissMiss, Sweet Peach, 100 Layer Cake, Rustic Wedding Chic, Golden Isles Magazine, and in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

To learn more about Sara and Little River Designs, check out the website and Facebook page.

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02.23.2015

Sisters Rethink “Something Borrowed”

Sisters Ashley Steele (ABJ ’06), of Charlottesville, Virginia., and Cali Brutz (AB ’08), of Athens, Georgia., own and operate two businesses that are modernizing the wedding industry. Steele and Brutz began working together in 2008 at the ages of 24 and 22, respectively. At the time, Steele was planning her own wedding and Brutz was a photographer. During the wedding planning process, the pair identified a number of issues that arise for the soon-to-be brides. Looking to solve those issues sparked several entrepreneurial projects.

The duo's latest venture, Borrowing Magnolia, uses a concept similar to that of Rent the Runway and Warby Parker in that brides will be able to rent wedding dresses for their big day directly from Borrowing Magnolia. The dresses available for rental will be provided by former brides who are interested in earning extra cash by lending their gown to another individual. Borrowing Magnolia ensures that the dresses are in good quality by limiting each dress to three rentals annually and five total. Sizes range from 0 to 24 and alterations are available as long as the changes are reversible

Borrowing Magnolia lives to serve the bride. The sisters ensure the brides-to-be that, "Borrowing Magnolia is committed to helping you find your dream gown, the way the modern bride does the dress. We make it easy for you to buy or borrow a designer gorgeous gown at a fraction of the retail cost, while still having a white-glove personalized boutique experience from start-to-finish. Look fabulous in your dream dress, save some cash, go green, and focus on what really matters on your wedding day. That’s what we’re all about."

The sisters have obviously been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and show no signs of stopping. This year, Borrowing Magnolia is expected to have over 800 dresses in their collection by the end of the year; the business was featured in the New York Times’ Style Section; and reality show producers are in talks of covering their business endeavors.

Congratulation to Ashley and Cali on their stellar sucess and best wishes as they continue to help women live their dream weddings. 

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