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08.09.2013

40 Under 40 Spotlight: Kira Fonteneau (JD ’05)

Kira Fonteneau (JD ’05) remembers the day like it was yesterday.

“I was sitting in Professor Ron Ellington’s Civil Procedures class as a [first-year law student] at UGA when he called on several members of our class who were unprepared. When he reached the fifth unprepared student, he calmly put down his marker and dismissed the class, telling us that he could not continue unless we were prepared. The class was dumbfounded. The most intense feeling of embarrassment and shame filled the room as we realized how disappointed he was. I will never forget that day – it was the day that I learned the importance of being prepared as a lawyer.”

Fonteneau learned that lesson and hasn’t looked back. The alumna graduated in 2005 from the UGA School of Law and became a litigation associate with Constangy, Brooks and Smith, LLP, in Birmingham, Ala. In late 2006, she established The Fonteneau Firm, LLC.

According to Julie Jun, a colleague and friend of Fonteneau’s, “Kira left a comfortable job with a big law firm to open her own shop, which she ran for several years. She was not simply successful, but she made such an impression on her peers, that she was eventually nominated and appointed to the position of public defender for Jefferson County, Ala., where Birmingham is located.”

In January 2013, Fonteneau was appointed to open and run the state of Alabama’s largest public defender office. In this role, she is responsible for recruiting, managing and training 39 attorneys and 29 support staff members.

In her free time, Fonteneau gives back to the Birmingham community. She has served on the American Diabetes Association’s Board of Directors since 2007, the ACLU of Alabama Board of Directors since 2011, and the Holy Family Cristo Rey High School Junior Board of Directors since 2009. She has participated in the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program since 2006.

When asked what advice she would give to UGA students today, the alumna said, “You never know how the detours in life will prepare you for the future, so don’t feel like you have to plan your life in great detail.”

As Birmingham’s first public defender, there was no way Kira Fonteneau could have envisioned her career path to this point. But, she has obviously followed her own advice and found great success in our neighbor state to the west. Congratulations, Kira!

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04.15.2014

2014 UGA Day Tour

For the past three years, UGA Days has toured more than 26 cities, bringing administrators and coaches to cities across the southeast for evening gatherings with local alumni, friends and fans. This year's tour stops include Greenville, SC; Gainesville, GA; Dalton, GA; Orlando, FL; Savannah, GA; Albany, GA; Houston, TX; Tifton, GA; Augusta, GA; Columbus, GA; Macon, GA; and Gwinnett County, GA.

Each stop on the tour will feature one administrator and two athletic coaches. The program includes updates on UGA's upcoming sports seasons, latest research initiatives and admissions information about the Class of 2018. 

Tomorrow, the 2014 tour will kick off in Greenville! Put on your red and black and practice your Dawg bark, in the next few weeks, UGA will be coming to a city near you. It’s not too late to join the tradition! Click here for more information about each stop on the tour.

The UGA Day program is a collaboration between the UGA Alumni Association and UGA Athletic Association.

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04.14.2014

Thinc. at UGA Entrepreneurial Week

Successful entrepreneurs, including UGA graduates, will share their success stories and lessons learned as part of Thinc. Entrepreneurial Week, now through April 17. The Thinc. initiative is designed to help students, faculty and staff see the world of opportunities both local and global, and to start something in response.

That something might be a new for-profit company or a not-for-profit social venture. It might change something in your own neighborhood or community, or it might change the world.

In addition to the “Starting Points” entrepreneur panel, this year’s Thinc. Entrepreneurial Week will feature a “give back” hackathon; a talk on breakthrough innovation by David Butler, Coca-Cola vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship; a collaborative innovation competition; an extreme networking session, events related to social entrepreneurship, and a local arts and culture business summit.  

Please visit thinc.uga.edu for a full calendar of events, profiles of UGA students, faculty, staff and alumni entrepreneurs and all the information you need to get the most out of Thinc.

Terry Hastings
Director of Research Communications
Office of the Vice President for Research

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04.10.2014

2014 Alumni Awards Luncheon

It’s Honors Week at UGA, a time to celebrate outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni who have given so much to the university. Tomorrow, the UGA Alumni Association will host the 2014 Alumni Awards Luncheon. The event will take place this Friday, April 11, at noon at the Classic Center in downtown Athens.

At the luncheon, the Alumni Merit Award, the UGA Alumni Association's oldest honor, will be presented to Charlayne Hunter-Gault (ABJ '63), known for her award-winning journalism and work as a foreign correspondent and M. Douglas Ivester (BBA '69), who spent over 20 years working with Coca-Cola.

Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Tom Landrum (AB '72, MA '87) and Anne Sweaney, professor emerita in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, will be honored with the Faculty Service Award. The Alumni Family of the Year award will go to Francis "Abit" Massey (BBA '49) and his family, known for their commitment to the community, poultry industry and UGA.

Click here for more information about the honorees and the event.

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