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08.14.2013

40 Under 40 Spotlight: Erin Hames (BSED ’02)

Erin Hames (BSED ’02) was named to the 40 Under 40 Class of 2013 because of her experience in and dedication to Georgia public policy.

After graduating from UGA in 2002, after just three years on campus, Hames began teaching sixth and eighth grade social studies at Wakefield Middle School in Raleigh, N.C.

At that time, Hames decided to change career paths. Although she earned a law degree in 2008 and then joined the Office of Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, the alumna couldn’t turn her back on the idea of improving the lives of young people through education.

From 2006 to 2010, she served as Perdue’s policy director and education policy advisor. During that time, she was the executive sponsor for Georgia’s Race to the Top team that successfully secured a $400 million grant for the state.

In 2011, Hames joined the Office of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal as deputy chief of staff for policy, a role she still fills today. As the leader of Governor Deal’s policy team and his chief policy advisor, Hames led the work to amend the Georgia Constitution to allow for state-authorized charter schools and she championed the preservation of Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K program.

When asked about her proudest achievement, Hames said, “By serving as the chief policy advisor for two of Georgia’s governors, I have had some incredible opportunities, including working to achieve passage of key pieces of legislation that will impact Georgians for years to come. I have been most passionate about those relating to the improvement of educational opportunities for Georgians.”

In the words of Tricia Chastain, a colleague and friend of Hames, “Erin has had a significant impact on the direction of this state – and we are better for it.” This is why I’m so pleased to have Erin Hames join the 40 Under 40 Class of 2013. Congratulations!

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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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07.22.2014

2014 is “Going to the Dawgs”

The 2014 fiscal year was an incredible year for the University of Georgia for a variety of reasons. For students, each semester marks one step closer to graduation. For faculty, 2014 has brought national awards, advances in research and the promise of more excitement to come.

For instance, three of the Brazilian stadiums that were used during the World Cup were outfitted with TifGrand, a shade-tolerant, wear-tolerant bermudagrass hypbrid developed by UGA and the U.S. Departement of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. Despite this (and many other) amazing accomplishments that have taken place since last July, one record-breaking event has created the possibility of an even more produtive upcoming year.

The 2014 fiscal year saw the largest number of gifts and donations in the history of the university. Between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, UGA received a staggering $126.4 million from 56,897 different contributors. This amount reflects a 4 percent increase over 2013 and the second time in the university’s history that it received more than $120 million.

"This record year is a tribute to the faith our alumni and friends have in the future of our great university," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead (JD '80).

That faith has certainly not been poorly placed. These donations will help fund the projects and plans that UGA has for the coming years. From a renovated Veterinary Medical Learning Center to updating multiple residence halls across campus, these generous gifts are making it possible for UGA undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff to thrive in a well-designed and constantly improving environment.

Beyond these larger projects, donations to the university work daily for students and alumni through the UGA Alumni Association and Student Alumni Association, two organizations that connect students and alumni to each other, to the university and to the traditions and history that make UGA special.

This year has been record-breaking, but also record-setting. The bar has been raised to $126.4 million in donations. Now it’s time for the Bulldog Nation to make sure that 2015 is an even more incredible year for the University of Georgia. Make a pledge today for a better UGA tomorrow!

To learn more about this news, click here.

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07.18.2014

A Bulldog reunion 30 years in the making

With so many University of Georgia alumni and even former professors scattered around the world, you never know where two former Dawgs might run into each other, even after decades.

John Shearer (AB ’83) recently hooked up with his old Myers Hall faculty resident friend, Dr. Joe Snow, while traveling through Madrid, Spain, in a reunion that in some respects had been more than 30 years in the making. 


Dr. Joe Snow (left) and John Shearer in Madrid

The story of their friendship began when Shearer moved into Myers in January 1982 after two years of living in the now-razed McWhorter Hall as a walk-on football player and then four quarters in University Gardens Apartments off Baxter Street. In Myers, which was two-thirds male at the time, Shearer said he finally found the closely knit, small-college-like community of male and female students for which he had been longing.

Among the many people he befriended was Snow, a Spanish and Portuguese language instructor, who had an arrangement with university housing to live there at a greatly reduced rent. Snow's only job was to circulate among the students and help break down the barriers between students and faculty. 

Through Snow, Shearer found out about a 1983 spring break trip being planned to Russia, then called the Soviet Union, by then-University of Georgia Russian language professor Dr. Harold Schefski. Shearer ended up going on the trip with his mother, Dr. Snow, Dr. Snow’s sister and several other students. Upon their return to the United States in those pre-Internet days, they learned that Georgia had qualified for the Final Four in men’s and women’s basketball for the first time.

Shearer, who majored in geography, ended up keeping a journal about his trip, and that inspired him to pursue a journalism and writing career that continues 30 years later on a freelance basis from his home in Knoxville, Tenn.  In 2013, Shearer wrote a column on the 30th anniversary of his trip and through Dr. Schefski, who now teaches at California State University, Long Beach, he reconnected with Snow via email.

Snow, who became interested in Spanish while a high school student in New Jersey, had left UGA in the early 1990s to begin teaching at Michigan State University. Today, he spends most of his time in retirement in Madrid in a residence he was able to pay for in part due to his reduced rent while at Myers Hall.


Laura Shearer (ABJ '69) and Dr. Joe Snow

After realizing he would be traveling to Madrid in June with his wife, Laura Anderson Shearer (ABJ ’69), on the way to visit her son in Portugal, Shearer made plans to reconnect with Snow. And since it would be Shearer’s first overseas trip since the Russian excursion, he could say he had been with Snow on every international trip he had taken.

“It was neat reconnecting with him,” said Shearer, who had not seen Snow since the first year or two after he graduated. “He took us to an out-of-the way restaurant with which he was familiar, and it ended up being one of the best meals on our nearly two-week trip. But the conversation was even better. His engaging and warm manner that had endeared him to students became familiar again. 

“And most of all, it was neat comparing our memories of both the Russia trip and our experiences in Myers Hall, because my time in Myers was one of the happiest of my life.”

Written by freelance journalist John Shearer (AB ’83)

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