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07.25.2013

UGA Class of 2013 40 Under 40 spotlights

Each day for the next 40 days, I'd like to feature one of this year's 40 Under 40 honorees on the blog. The 2013 honorees are simply amazing and I know readers will enjoy learning more about these impressive young graduates.

I will continue to share news from campus and updates about other alumni, but those posts will be mixed in with these 40 Under 40 features.

Without further ado, let me begin by introducing you to Kevin Abernethy (AB ’99):

Abernethy graduated from UGA with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1999. As a sophomore, he was elected president of the Student Government Association and was a student speaker during former UGA President Michael Adams’s inauguration ceremony. He became a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Fraternity in 1999. He went on to earn his law degree from Georgia State University’s College of Law.

Today, Abernethy is a partner in Hall Booth Smith’s Atlanta office. The young alumnus has extensive litigation experience handling civil rights claims for the City of Atlanta, large complex environmental lawsuits, corporate suits, and claims involving professional negligence.

In 2010, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue appointed Abernethy to a three-year term on the board of the Superior Court Clerks Retirement Fund of Georgia, a position of fiduciary responsibility and oversight over a multimillion dollar portfolio.

That same year, Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle appointed Abernethy to a four-year term on the State Ethics Commission, a quasi-judicial body with statewide jurisdiction over ethical issues involving public officials, lobbyists, and state vendors. The following year, he was selected to serve as chairman of the Ethics Commission and then reelected in 2012. Abernethy is the youngest person to hold this role in Georgia’s history.

He credits much of his success to those who guided him at UGA – Thomas Cochran, his SGA adviser, and the late professor Dr. Eugene Miller. He credits Cochran with teaching him critical lessons in leadership during his SGA years, and credits Miller with helping expand his knowledge and skills regarding political thought and effective advocacy.

Abernethy’s friend, Bart Newman (AB ’99, JD ’03), nominated Abernethy for this honor, saying, “There is a humility in Kevin that makes him real and at odds with others in his political circles who can be consumed with their own celebrity. He remember people’s names, not to manipulate them with flattery, but because he cares.”

Truly, Kevin Abernethy exemplifies the qualities of this year’s 40 Under 40 honorees. Thank you for representing UGA – and the state of Georgia – so well, Kevin.

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10.24.2014

UGA Graduate School honors 2014 Alumni of Distinction

The University of Georgia Graduate School has honored 10 graduates with the 2014 Alumni of Distinction Award for achieving exceptional success in their professional careers and in service to their communities. The professional achievements and contributions to society made by these graduate alumni exemplify the best of UGA.

As the Director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development of Bioanalytical Chemistry, Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics Group, Richard F. Arrendale (BSEH '74, MS '80, PHD '88) has played a lead role in the preclinical and early clinical development of new treatments for tumors in tobacco users. Additionally, he co-chaired the 2012 UGA Symposium on Pharmaceutical Development.

Phillip J. Brantley (MS '77, PHD '80) is the associate executive director for scientific education at Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center. More than 30 years of research grants, mostly from the National Institutes of Health, have funded his research in weight loss and long-term weight management. Brantley is a member of the executive council of the Obesity Society and has served on the executive boards of the Louisiana Psychological Association and the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

UGA professor Perry W. Buffington (MA '73) is a bestselling author, speaker, media personality and licensed applied psychologist. He teaches clinical psychopharmacology in UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences' program on the Griffin campus and was awarded the Teaching Excellence Award by the UGA psychology department in 2014. In addition to lecturing worldwide on ways to reduce drug errors, he is also a former contributing editor to Delta Air Lines' in-flight magazine, Sky.

Christopher Francis D'Elia (PHD '74) is the dean of the School of the Coast and Environment at Louisiana State University. His research is centered on the nutrient dynamics of estuaries and coral reefs. D'Elia is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has served on numerous advisory panels to the National Science Foundation, and previously directed the International Ocean Institute-USA and the Center for Science and Policy Applications for the Coastal Environment.

Brain cancer survivor Michael Feuerstein (MS '75, PHD '77) is a professor of medical and clinical psychology and preventative medicine/biometrics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. In 1994, he developed and directed a clinical psychology Ph.D. program for the Department of Defense to train clinical providers and military leaders in behavioral health and medicine. Feurstein has dedicated his career to improving the health, health care, function and well being of other cancer survivors.

Pamela Flattau (MS '72, PHD '74) has  served as a senior staff officer and task leader in Washington, D.C. for 40 years with the National Research Council, National Science Foundation, and Institute for Defense Analyses' Science and Technology Policy Institute. This year, she launched the nonprofit business venture, The PsySiP Project, to advance behavioral measures associated with sustainable consumption for integration into the U.S. System of National Accounts for the U.N.'s post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Triple Dawg and Athens resident Kurt C. Lawrence (BSAE '85, MS '87, PHD '97) is  a supervisory research agricultural engineer and research leader of the quality and safety assessment research unit within the agricultural research service division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is recognized internationally as an expert in radio-frequency moisture sensing in cereal grains, crack detection in shell eggs, and imaging systems used to detect poultry contamination.

Roland McElroy (AB '65, MA '69) is president of McElroy & Associates, a public relations firm focused on providing strategic advice for corporate and public policy clients. In Washington, D.C. he served U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn for 15 years, first as press secretary and later as chief-of-staff. In 2001, he wrote a history of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Georgia, entitled "Georgia Blue." His next project, a political memoir of his time with Nunn, is due to be released in 2015.

Kathleen Slevin (MA '74, PHD '75) is the former vice provost for academic affairs and Chancellor Professor of Sociology at the College of William and Mary. Her scholarship centered on age and gender inequalities. In 1990, she was appointed by the Governor of Virginia to serve on the Affirmative Action Monitoring and Advisor Committee. She currently serves as the president of the Southern Sociological Society and is the faculty advisor for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Mrs. USA 1990 Deborah Williams (MS '83, PHD '85) is the president and CEO of the apparel and event productions company, Her Game 2. Through an exclusive merchandise licensing agreement with the National Basketball Association, she supplies apparel for NBA fans across the country. She is also the Founder of Behind the Bench: The National Basketball Wives Association. She was also selected as one of the 25 Most Influential African American Women in Business by The Network Journal.

The UGA Alumni Association congratulates you all on your success!

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10.22.2014

Bulldogs in the Sunshine State

Southern California is known for its beaches, beautiful weather and the glamour of Hollywood, but the Sunshine State has a touch of Bulldog, too. With more than 3,535 UGA alumni, Southern California is home to a host of alumni and alumni-owned businesses. 

A beer tap made from a Harley engine? Check. An annual Halloween party that includes a strait jacket escape contest and something called the Dead Marionette Theater? Check. A Johnny Cash shrine? Sure! All these elements and more come together to create the Gasser Lounge, a rock n’ roll bar located in Redondo Beach, California, the pride of owner Mike Bouchard (BBA ’03).

Serving as the Southern California Chapter’s game watching party venue, the Gasser Lounge hosts an energetic crew of football devotees every week for an indoor tailgating experience unlike any other, complete with a red leather interior and a special surprise after every Dawgs touchdown, served up by bartender Bouchard.

Bouchard and his bar aren’t the only ones keeping the Southern California Chapter entertained, however.

  

M. Ali Salimi (BBA ’03), president of the chapter, is an esteemed attorney who lived in Switzerland and London before beginning his own firm in Irvine.

Outside of work, Salimi opts for a hobby that’s a little less serious - gracing the stages of comedy clubs across the region. 

The UGA Alumni Association is proud of your accomplishments, Mike and Ali! Continue keeping the Southern California Chapter interesting.

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10.21.2014

2014-2015 Signature Lecture Series

Guest Blogger: Meg Amstutz, Ph.D. 
Associate Provost for Academic Programs

UGA is now highlighting a number of premier lectures through its new Signature Lectures designation, designed to help focus attention on the variety of prominent thinkers visiting campus.

When I first came to UGA in 1997, one thing I missed from my prior institution was the twice-yearly notice of its endowed lecture series. At the beginning of each semester, the arrival of the list of upcoming lectures would prompt my fellow graduate students and me to mark our calendars and chat with friends and colleagues about the topics that interested us most. Faculty across campus encouraged students to attend these lectures, and they often incorporated the work of the speakers into the classes they were teaching.    

In 2013-2014, more than 50 individual lectures were listed on UGA’s Master Calendar, signaling the strong level of intellectual activity taking place. At the same time, this long list signaled an opportunity to reframe these offerings conceptually, so that students and faculty might more easily mark the dates, participate and engage in classroom discussion together.

To that end, we have launched the UGA Signature Lectures, featuring speakers noted for their broad, multidisciplinary appeal and compelling bodies of work. This special designation recognizes a number of UGA’s endowed lectures, including the Gregory Lecture and the Mason Public Leadership Lecture, as well as lectures with historic significance on our campus, such as the Louise McBee Lecture, the Holmes-Hunter Lecture, and UGA’s Founders Day Lecture.

I am grateful to those who have chosen to endow lectures, because these Signature Lectures are one of the best ways for students to discover that they are truly part of a larger, international intellectual conversation.

For a full list of the 2014-2015 Signature Lecture, please click here.

The UGA Alumni Association will hold the 2015 Founders Day Lecture at the Chapel on Tuesday, January 27 at 1:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

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