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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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Recent Entries


04.22.2014

Longtime UGA supporter hangs his “Gone Fishing” sign

William “Dink” H. NeSmith, Jr. (ABJ ’70) is one of the most passionate Bulldogs you will meet. A 1970 graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, NeSmith is co-owner and publisher of Athens-based Community Newspaper, Inc., which publishes dozens of newspapers in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. As if his professional responsibilities didn’t keep him busy enough, NeSmith, a self-admitted “joiner,” has dedicated as much (if not more) of his free time to higher education.The list of his past university volunteer roles is unparalleled:

  -  chairman of Grady's advisory board and president of its alumni board;

  -  chairman of the board of directors of the Fanning Leadership Institute;

  -  chairman of the Richard B. Russell Foundation;

  -  member of the Athletic Association Board of Directors; and

  -  trustee of the UGA Foundation

In addition, NeSmith is a past president of the UGA Alumni Association and served from 2003 to 2005. He could always be counted on to support his alma mater, and his leadership was surely a factor in UGA’s rise to a top 20 public institution of higher education.

In 2008, Gov. Sonny Perdue asked NeSmith to join the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents. Five years later, he was serving as chairman of the 18-person governing board for USG. Only the third Athenian to fill this position, NeSmith recently concluded his term as chairman.

Reflecting on a lifetime of professional and philanthropic endeavors, NeSmith recently penned a short piece about his readiness to enjoy his greatest accomplishment: his family. The alumnus is surrounded by an ever-growing swath of Bulldog Faithful: his wife, Pam (BSHE ’71); three children, Alan (BSA ’04), Emily (AB ’99) and Eric (ABJ ’02); and seven grandsons. Upon the birth of each grandchild, NeSmith proudly gave them each a lifetime membership with the UGA Alumni Association. Although the Alumni Association is no longer dues-based, the NeSmith family boasts an impressive 15 lifetime members!

Read more about NeSmith’s transition to “grandpa time” here. This is one alumnus who has certainly earned the right to hang his “Gone Fishing” sign on the door. Thank you for your continued support, Dink, and your fine leadership in many areas across campus and the state.

Dink NeSmith is a regular contributor to the Athens Banner-Herald; read more of his pieces here.

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04.21.2014

McCall Wilder Designs offers timeless clothing options for children

McCall Wilder (ABJ '92) was having trouble locating the perfect outfit for her first baby's Christening. After an usuccessful search, the alumna decided to take matters into her own hands and create her own elegant and timeless clothing pieces for children. And so, in 2001, McCall Wilder Designs was established.

Wilder grew up in Athens with dreams of designing and pursuing journalism. She attended Hollins College in Virginia before transferring to UGA to study broadcast news in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. After graduating, Wilder interned and worked for CNN in Atlanta, taking part in the launch of CNN.com, the Internet’s first news site. She remained at CNN as a writer and producer until 1999.

Wilder’s “Baby McCall line” of heirloom gowns and special occasion outfits was only available by appointment until May 2008, when the first McCall Wilder Couture for Children Boutique & Atelier opened in the heart of Atlanta. The Baby McCall and McCall Wilder Designs lines now include more than 50 different styles, from crib bedding to dresses for teens and women.

Congratulations on your successful business venture, McCall. Your clothes and other products are simply beautiful.

Stay up-to-date on news and design ideas through the McCall Wilder Designs Facebook page.

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04.18.2014

UGA alum leads Nasa team on the precipice of discovery

Above is an illustration of UGA-1785, the first star system to be named after a university.

Roger Hunter (BS ’78) is hoping to answer one of humanity’s greatest questions: can life exist on other planets? Hunter and the NASA Kepler team aim to expand the census of planets and alter our understanding of our place in the Milky Way galaxy. In the five years the Kepler telescope has been in orbit, the team has confirmed 961 additional planets in our solar system.

Hunter has kept a strong relationship with the university over the years. While many Bulldogs show their Georgia pride with car tags and coffee mugs, Hunter honored his alma mater by naming a planetary system UGA-1785.

This year, the Kepler team was awarded with the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy by the National Space Club. The award is given annually to those who have made the most impact on space activities.

Congratulations on the award, Roger! We cannot wait to see what you and your team will find!

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