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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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07.28.2014

Father and son share a bond like no other

Craig Sager Jr. (ABJ '10), a member of UGA's 2008-2009 football team, and his father, legendary sartorialist and NBA and MLB sports announcer, Craig Sager Sr., have always shared a love of sports. They now share an even stronger connection - a connection that helped save Craig Sr.'s life.

On July 3, Craig Jr. donated bone marrow to his father who is battling acute myeloid leukemia.

“I was pretty confident I’d be the match,” Craig Jr. said. “But 10 out of 10? That’s pretty crazy.”

Craig Jr. was disappointed, though, to find out the surgery would take place on July 3. Like many Georgians, Craig Jr. looks forward to running the annual Peachtree Road Race each Fourth of July. The race has always served as a bonding experience for the entire Sager family. This would have been the first time in 32 years that Craig Sr. has missed the race and Craig Jr. was looking forward to running in his 10th consecutive Peachtree Road Race.

Despite warnings from his doctors that he forego the race this year, Craig Jr. opted to run the race alongside his mother and sisters - in honor of his father.

Less than 24 hours after donating 1.5 liters of bone marrow to his father, Craig Jr. lined up at the starting line with thousands of other runners.

“I wasn’t supposed to be doing this race,” Craig Jr. said. “I was supposed to stay overnight in the hospital but I left at 6:00 p.m. and then just went to bed.”

In the end, Craig Jr. completed the 2014 Peachtree Road Race in one hour and 17 minutes. He was realistic about his finishing time and did not expect to match his previous time of 42 minutes.

Congratulations to Craig Jr. for bravely helping his father's leukemia battle and for crossing the Peachtree Road Race finish line for the 10th year in a row. Best wishes to the entire Sager family for a future of good health!

Information for this blog was sourced from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and MLB.com

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07.25.2014

UGA alumna is on fire

In 2006, Disney produced a huge hit with Cars. It was a family-friendly, fun-filled animated adventure that led to a sequel and the successful spin-off Planes. This summer, a related film will grace the silver screen, Planes: Fire and Rescue, and in it, a successful UGA alumna.

Corri English (ABJ ’00) is well-known in her field as the star of numerous films, guest on iconic television shows, and lead singer for country band Brokedown Cadillac. Though her career began when she was quite young, hosting children’s shows on TBS in the 1980s, it really took off after graduating from UGA.

English has made a name for herself in horror films, winning Best Actress at the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival for her role in Unrest. She also generated quite a following for her voice-over work in popular video games such as Mass Effect 3, Dragon Age: Origins and  Star Wars: The Old Republic. These character voicing skills were brought to life during Planes: Fire and Rescue

Her character, Pinecone, along with four other smokejumpers, bravely leaps from planes to put out fires. "Working alongside actors like Dane Cook, Ed Harris, and Regina King was a great experience," said English. 

The alumna is excited about the release of the film and hopes it leads to further voice acting opportunities in the future. 

Truly, for this star Bulldog, the sky is the limit.

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07.23.2014

Make miracles happen with Gwinnett Braves

As an Emmy-winning reporter for CBS, Adam Murphy (ABJ ’97) spends a large amount of time in the spotlight. He works as a consumer investigative reporter, cracking down on scam artists and tracking dollars involved in large projects. Recently, the alumnus has been focusing his off-screen efforts on helping people.

In 2013, Murphy decided to use his influence to launch the nonprofit ‘Miracle for Mom’. The organization is dedicated to his own mother, Janice Murphy, who was diagnosed in 2010 with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). PSP is a progressive neurological disorder that causes complications with controlling balance, complex eye movements and upper-level thinking. Discovered in 1964, this relatively new disease has had little attention placed upon it by the scientific community due to its rarity. With no known cause, cure, or treatment procedure, the outlook for those suffering with PSP has looked bleak for the 1 in 100,000 Americans that will develop this neurological disorder. Miracle for Mom hopes to change that.

Miracle for Mom strives to find a cure for PSP and helps those living with the disease. In its four years, the charity has raised more than $10,000. This year alone, Miracle for Mom joined forces with the Atlanta Hawks to raise more than $4,000 in one night. Tonight (July 23), the charity is partnering with the Gwinnett Braves to hopefully raise even more to support the fight against PSP. 

Miracle for Mom Night with the Gwinnett Braves is being held tonight, July 23, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. A portion of ticket sales will be given to the organization. Attendees who purchase a "First Pitch Ticket," will be given and especially good seat in the stadium. And for $15, attendees can enjoy a delicious pre-game tailgate catered by Williamson Bros. BBQ.

Tonight's event is sure to be fun, but also important in the fight against PSP. 

Learn more about Miracle for Mom and/or purchase tickets for tonight's game at www.miracleformom.org

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