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07.26.2013

40 Under 40 Feature: Laurie Barron (BSED ’96)

Today’s featured 40 Under 40 honoree is Laurie Barron (BSED ’96), principal of Smokey Road Middle School in Newnan, Ga.

Barron graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1996 and went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of West Georgia in 1999, and a Doctor of Education from University of Sarasota in 2003. She is a National Board Certified Teacher, a distinction held by only one percent of teachers in the U.S., and an adjunct professor at Mercer University.

Since taking over as principal at Smokey Road in 2004, Barron has raised the bar for the school’s academic standards. Smokey Road has not only seen an improvement in test scores, but also a decline in disciplinary problems.

According to Coweta County Schools Assistant Superintendent Marc Guy, Barron “has been a dynamic, innovative and extremely successful school leader. [She] has helped teachers do great things for student success in [the] school and the school system.”

Barron’s hard work has not gone unnoticed, either. In 2011, Smokey Road was named one of only five Breakthrough Schools by the MetLife Foundation NAASP and Georgia Breakout Middle School by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals. It was also named a Georgia Governor's Office of Student Achievement Silver Award Winner for Greatest Gains for Achievement.

Due to her hard work and the support of a talented staff, the alumna was named the State of Georgia Middle School Principal of the Year and the MetLife NASSP National Middle School Principal of the Year for 2012-2013. She is a member of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s Digital Learning Task Force and numerous other professional organizations.

“My experiences at UGA prepared me not only for a successful career, but for what it means to be a well-rounded, productive citizen who gives back to the community,” said Barron. She cited organizations such as Blue Key, Mortar Board, Kappa Delta Epsilon and UGA at Oxford as being influential in her personal growth.

In her free time, Barron enjoys hiking, snow skiing, traveling, reading and UGA football. And, according to Guy, who nominated Barron for this honor, she creates some of the best tailgate dishes on Saturdays in Athens!

Congratulations and best wishes for continued success, Laurie. I fully expect to try one of your tailgate recipes in the near future!

Update: Laurie Barron has relocated to Montana, where the alumna has been named the Evergreen School District superintendent.

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08.29.2014

Official 2014 Game Watching Parties

Saturdays Between the Hedges are here and it's time to cheer for the Bulldogs with fellow alumni, friends and fans from your local chapter of the UGA Alumni Association!

UGA Alumni Association chapters will be hosting game watching parties at more than 60 official locations throughout the 2014 football season. Whether you're reuniting with old college pals, looking to get back in touch with the university, traveling or new to a city, game watching parties are the perfect way to bring a little bit of Athens into your life.

Dust off your red and black, practice your Dawg bark and get ready to cheer for the boys in the Silver Britches.

Click here for detailed information about official chapter game watching parties.

Go Dawgs!

  

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08.26.2014

Five questions with wedding planner Maren Clarke White (AB ‘09)

Maren Clarke White (AB ’09) may be Athens-bred, but she is taking the Golden Isles by storm, one wedding at a time. After growing up in Athens and graduating from UGA with a degree in English, Maren packed her bags for St. Simons Island to work with the Sea Island Company’s esteemed wedding planning team.

Maren has been with the Sea Island Company for over four years and currently serves as the company’s wedding manager. As the wedding manager at this exclusive 5-Star Resort, Maren has the opportunity to plan high-end wedding events for an elite group of clients. Throughout her time at Sea Island, Maren has planned over 200 weddings and events and has worked with celebrity planners and couples. Maren will always hold Athens and her alma mater close to her heart as she is the daughter of Rebecca White, Dean of UGA’s School of Law, and Dan White, Director of Production at UGA’s Institute of Continuing Legal Education, and sister to Brendan White (JD ’11), a 2011 graduate of UGA’s School of Law.

Recently, Margaret Sullivan (BSFCS ’11, MA ’12) had the opportunity to catch up with this outstanding alumna. Read below to find out more about Maren’s amazing career.

How did you get into the wedding planning business?  

My first job after college was at a boutique hotel, and my favorite part of the job was working on weddings and events. So when I saw the opening for a wedding coordinator at Sea Island, I knew that was the right move for me.

What advice do you have for others wanting to get into wedding planning?

Planning weddings, particularly at a resort like Sea Island, is in many ways a glamorous job. But what many people don’t realize about wedding planning is that you must be highly focused, able to pay close attention to detail, be very organized, able to adapt quickly to changes, as well as being able to think creatively and stylishly. And you need to be prepared for some blistered feet from long wedding days!

How did your time at UGA prepare you for your career?

As an English major at UGA, I learned the true strength of written and verbal communication. I have found this knowledge to be vital in communicating with my brides. Every bride has her own vision, and through words we find a way to translate her dreams into reality!

Have you planned many weddings for your friends or other fellow UGA alumni?

We do have a number of UGA alumni weddings, and that is always special to me! While I may not have known some of my UGA brides in college, they become fast friends during the planning process due to having UGA in common with one another! Sea Island’s wedding clientele comes from throughout the entire country, not just the southeast.

What’s your favorite wedding tradition?

When the groom first sees the bride.  It brings tears to my eyes every time.

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08.22.2014

Reflecting on Freshman Welcome 2014

We recently sat down with the man behind Freshman Welcome, Assistant Director of Student Programs Evan Tighe (BSED '08, MA '11). The following recounts his experience this past Sunday when UGA welcomed thousands of members of the Class of 2018 into Sanford Stadium for this special event.

Last Sunday, I stood on the field of Sanford Stadium and witnessed something incredible.

After 20 minutes of direction from members of the Redcoat Marching Band, thousands of incoming freshmen from the UGA Class of 2018 formed a single entity on the soft green turf; they had formed the revered “Super G.”

Thousands of students, from a multitude of backgrounds, hometowns, interests and intended majors gathered in one spot for the same purpose.

Thousands of students.

Thousands of futures.

Thousands of dreams.

One united display of UGA pride. 

After the official class photo was taken, I watched the students disperse and head in different directions. It was a perfect analogy, I realized. These students all have their own dreams. They will face their own challenges and realize their own successes. They will declare their own majors and they will decide their own path at UGA.

They will become our society’s next generation of doctors, veterinarians, botanists and scientists.

They will be our new businessmen and women, executives, lawyers and political leaders.

They will serve us as teachers, counselors, coaches and social workers.

They will inspire us as poets, dancers, artists and musicians.

They will build for us as engineers, architects, mechanics and designers.

And then, once UGA has prepared them for their rest of their lives, they will reunite once again on the field of Sanford Stadium to throw their caps in the air during Commencement. In a final display of solidarity, they will watch fireworks illuminate the stands of Sanford Stadium, where they cheered on the Bulldogs and sang “Glory, Glory” countless times. They will then go on to do great things in the world.

I am honored to advise a group of 35 students, the Student Alumni Council, who feel the same way. Even though they are not yet alumni, they have already made a monetary gift to UGA through the Georgia Fund.

Each freshman is just a tiny part of that “G.” It is only by coming together as a class that they can form the whole symbol. Each individual may only be able to give a little to the university. But together, small gifts build an incredible foundation which will vault the University of Georgia to even greater accomplishments.

UGA may just be one university, but it is our university.

Let’s support our students as fervently as we support our student-athletes on game day.

Let’s not allow our Georgia pride to cease at the gates of Sanford, Stegeman, or Foley.

Let’s show the world what the Red and Black is truly capable of. Make your gift today.

Go Dawgs!

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