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09.12.2013

40 Under 40 Spotlight: Irving Steel (AB ’08)

Irving Steel (AB ’08) has been described as one of the most “globally competent” UGA graduates. I would add that he is also one of the most committed alumni when it comes to giving back to the University of Georgia.

Steel graduated from UGA in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and a certificate in global studies. Steel traveled to China in 2007 through the International Center for Democratic Governance and the Carl Vinson Institute at UGA, and credits that experience for opening career paths for him.

Steel’s experience abroad at UGA led him to move to Shanghai after graduation. From 2009 to 2011, he served as an environmental champion and corporate account coordinator for Tandus. The alumnus was responsible for leading the company’s sustainability efforts in China and managing more than 40 design, architecture, construction and project management company accounts.

While Steel was with Tandus, he also founded Green Drinks China, which aims to bridge the gap between organizations, students and communities in order to take action on environmental issues in China. What began as a monthly networking event has grown into an eight-city organization hosting more than 75 events and planting hundreds of trees across China.

At the same time Steel was working for Tandus and founding Green Drinks China, he also found time to establish and lead the UGA Alumni Association China Chapter. As the China Chapter president, Steel coordinates events and programs for alumni across China. In addition, he hosts events and functions for undergraduate and MBA students, professors and other campus departments.

In 2012, Steel, who is now fluent in Mandarin, founded and became CEO of Original Life, Ltd., which strives to create a deeper impact on the attitude toward food and life via aquaponics. He facilitates training sessions and partnerships with educational institutions, and trains undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students in the University of Virginia’s SEED program. Original Life’s mission is very simple – clean, affordable food for all.

Kavita Pandit, associate provost in UGA’s Office of International Affairs, nominated Steel for the 40 Under 40 Class of 2013, saying, “What impresses me most about Irving is his truly international outlook and vision. He has identified a very promising business niche which is consistent with his personal commitment to environmental responsibility.”

Steel’s entrepreneurial spirit and international outlook is taking him great places.  He was awarded the Rotary International Leadership Award for Community Development by Rotary Shanghai last year and has won a number of other awards, including Environmental Performer for Asia from Asia’s top real estate media.

Congratulations to Irving on being named to the 40 Under 40 Class of 2013 – he is truly deserving of this honor and we are glad to have the opportunity to recognize him for his commitment to UGA.

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10.22.2014

Bulldogs in the Sunshine State

Southern California is known for its beaches, beautiful weather and the glamour of Hollywood, but the Sunshine State has a touch of Bulldog, topo. With more than 3,535 UGA alumni, Southern California is home to a host of alumni and alumni-owned businesses. 

A beer tap made from a Harley engine? Check. An annual Halloween party that includes a strait jacket escape contest and something called the Dead Marionette Theater? Check. A Johnny Cash shrine? Sure! All these elements and more come together to create the Gasser Lounge, a rock n’ roll bar located in Redondo Beach, California, the pride of owner Mike Bouchard (BBA ’03).

Serving as the Southern California Chapter’s game watching party venue, the Gasser Lounge hosts an energetic crew of football devotees every week for an indoor tailgating experience unlike any other, complete with a red leather interior and a special surprise after every Dawgs touchdown, served up by bartender Bouchard.

Bouchard and his bar aren’t the only ones keeping the Southern California Chapter entertained, however.

  

M. Ali Salimi (BBA ’03), president of the chapter, is an esteemed attorney who lived in Switzerland and London before beginning his own firm in Irvine.

Outside of work, Salimi opts for a hobby that’s a little less serious - gracing the stages of comedy clubs across the region. 

The UGA Alumni Association is proud of your accomplishments, Mike and Ali! Continue keeping the Southern California Chapter interesting.

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10.21.2014

2014-2015 Signature Lecture Series

Guest Blogger: Meg Amstutz, Ph.D. 
Associate Provost for Academic Programs

UGA is now highlighting a number of premier lectures through its new Signature Lectures designation, designed to help focus attention on the variety of prominent thinkers visiting campus.

When I first came to UGA in 1997, one thing I missed from my prior institution was the twice-yearly notice of its endowed lecture series. At the beginning of each semester, the arrival of the list of upcoming lectures would prompt my fellow graduate students and me to mark our calendars and chat with friends and colleagues about the topics that interested us most. Faculty across campus encouraged students to attend these lectures, and they often incorporated the work of the speakers into the classes they were teaching.    

In 2013-2014, more than 50 individual lectures were listed on UGA’s Master Calendar, signaling the strong level of intellectual activity taking place. At the same time, this long list signaled an opportunity to reframe these offerings conceptually, so that students and faculty might more easily mark the dates, participate and engage in classroom discussion together.

To that end, we have launched the UGA Signature Lectures, featuring speakers noted for their broad, multidisciplinary appeal and compelling bodies of work. This special designation recognizes a number of UGA’s endowed lectures, including the Gregory Lecture and the Mason Public Leadership Lecture, as well as lectures with historic significance on our campus, such as the Louise McBee Lecture, the Holmes-Hunter Lecture, and UGA’s Founders Day Lecture.

I am grateful to those who have chosen to endow lectures, because these Signature Lectures are one of the best ways for students to discover that they are truly part of a larger, international intellectual conversation.

For a full list of the 2014-2015 Signature Lecture, please click here.

The UGA Alumni Association will hold the 2015 Founders Day Lecture at the Chapel on Tuesday, January 27 at 1:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

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10.20.2014

Alumna Spotlight: Christy Hulsey (ABJ '98)

Bulldog 100 and 40 Under 40 honoree Christy Hulsey (ABJ ’98) lives a busy life as owner and creative director of Colonial House of Flowers in Statesboro, Georgia. 

Hulsey’s work, inspired by her grandmother, is self-described as “timeless elegance that is ethereal and moody.” The majority of her designs feature unusual materials, such as pinecones and berries - something that caught the attention of both Pottery Barn and White House staff. Hulsey’s shop was selected to launch Pottery Barn's 2014 summer brand, and her floral designs were displayed at the White House in 2013.

A regular on Pottery Barn’s Have and Hold wedding blog, Hulsey informs brides-to-be on the art of creating flower girl halos, cake stand centerpieces and seashore-inspired tablescapes.

Hulsey enjoys opportunitues to work with fellow UGA alumni. She began her relationship with Pottery Barn after the floral arrangements she designed for friend and fellow Grady graduate Linsay Cheney Rudd’s (ABJ ’08) wedding were noticed by the blog. Hulsey also uses her friends in various photo shoots for Pottery Barn, including one for a driftwood lantern centerpiece tutorial that features Lea Lanier (BSED ’99).

  

In 2013, Colonial House of Flowers, generously donated flowers to UGA Day in Statesboro. She also gifted each 2014 40 Under 40 honorees with a red rose after the awards ceremony.

Congratulations on your success, Christy! The UGA Alumni Association looks forward to many more years of your beautiful designs.

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