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09.11.2013

40 Under 40 Spotlight: Logan Smalley (BS ’06)

Logan Smalley (BS ’06) is doing big things – and has been for quite some time.

The Athens native first put himself on the map as a future leader during his time as an undergraduate at UGA. Inspired by his experiences at the Cannes Film Festival, Smalley decided to create a feature-length film about his close friend and hero, Darius Weems. In 2005, he directed, edited and composed the soundtrack for Darius Goes West, which documents Weems and several friends on a cross-country quest to get Weem’s wheelchair customized on the MTV show “Pimp My Ride.”

Along the way, the film crew raises awareness about Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which led to Weems being in a wheelchair, and to test for wheelchair accessibility across the country.

Since that time, Darius Goes West has been shown in 1,000 venues and 30 film festivals. More than 100,000 DVDs are in circulation and the film has won more than 25 awards. Smalley even appeared on TV shows such as Ellen DeGeneres, The Today Show, and The CBS Early Show. He continues to serve as president of the Darius Goes West nonprofit organization, which has raised $2.3 million for Duchenne muscular dystrophy research since the film was launched. 2013 marks the ninth annual Darius Goes West Day.

Smalley has not slowed down, though, following those successes. He earned a master’s degree in technology, innovation and education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2008. That same year, he was one of 30 applicants selected to become a TED Fellow.

The alumnus capitalized on that experience and went on to create TED-Ed to push the popular TED Talks into K-12 education. Since 2010, he has served as the TED-Ed director, overseeing and managing the TED-ED team of teachers, animators and web specialists. TED-Ed recently won three Webby awards, including “Best Education Website,” and the first 150 TED-Ed lessons have been viewed more than 20 million times in the last year.

When asked about his advice for current UGA students, Smalley responded, saying, “Participate in making the world, by using every tool available to you to tell your story, and to help tell the story of others.”

Through his work with Darius Goes West and now, through TED-Ed, it’s clear that Smalley takes his own advice to heart. Thank you for continuing to inspire us, Logan, and welcome to the 40 Under 40 Class of 2013!

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04.18.2014

UGA alum leads Nasa team on the precipice of discovery

Above is an illustration of UGA-1785, the first star system to be named after a university.

Roger Hunter (BS ’78) is hoping to answer one of humanity’s greatest questions: can life exist on other planets? Hunter and the NASA Kepler team aim to expand the census of planets and alter our understanding of our place in the Milky Way galaxy. In the five years the Kepler telescope has been in orbit, the team has confirmed 961 additional planets in our solar system.

Hunter has kept a strong relationship with the university over the years. While many Bulldogs show their Georgia pride with car tags and coffee mugs, Hunter honored his alma mater by naming a planetary system UGA-1785.

This year, the Kepler team was awarded with the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy by the National Space Club. The award is given annually to those who have made the most impact on space activities.

Congratulations on the award, Roger! We cannot wait to see what you and your team will find!

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04.17.2014

Thank a Donor Day is today!

Thank A Donor Day

Did you know that UGA’s first donation was 633 acres of land from John Milledge? This land later became the site of our beloved University of Georgia. To celebrate private donations, the Office of Donor Relations and Stewardship, in partnership with the Student Alumni Council, is hosting the third annual Thank a Donor Day today from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Tate Student Center Plaza. During this annual event, students will have the opportunity to express their donor appreciation in a variety of ways.

Students are invited to write personalized thank you notes, sign a large thank you card and/or create video and photo messages of gratitude. These messages will be combined and shared in the coming weeks with donors near and far (click here to view last year's video). UGA "student celebrities" will be part of the event, too! Expect to see "Big Man on Campus" Rance Nix, Miss UGA Adeline Kenerly, the UGA Ballroom Performance Group, Hairy Dawg and more.

Thank a Donor Day educates the UGA community about the importance of private giving and offers students opportunities to thank donors for their generosity and encourage a culture of philanthropy at UGA. 

Follow along with the day's activities via the Thank a Donor Day Instagram accountFacebook page and Twitter handle. Students, be sure to stop by to express your gratitude - and receive some free giveaways. See you  there!

Update: Click here to view photos from this year's Thank a Donor Day!

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04.15.2014

2014 UGA Day Tour

The 2014 UGA Day Tour is launching tomorrow with its first stop in Greenville, S.C. For the past three years, the UGA Day Tour has brought administrators and coaches to more than 26 cities across the country. This year's stops include: Greenville, S.C.; Gainesville, Ga.; Dalton, Ga.; Orlando, Fla.; Savannah, Ga.; Albany, Ga.; Houston, Texas; Tifton, Ga.; Augusta, Ga.; Columbus, Ga.; Macon, Ga.; and Gwinnett County, Ga. Will YOU be there to join in the fun?

Each stop on the tour will feature one administrator and two athletic coaches. The program includes updates on UGA's latest research initiatives, athletic teams and the Class of 2018. On top of that, attendees will enjoy delicious food in each city and enjoy the opportunity to mix and mingle will fellow Bulldog Faithful.

Put on your red and black and practice your Dawg bark because, 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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