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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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04.22.2014

Longtime UGA supporter hangs his “Gone Fishing” sign

William “Dink” H. NeSmith, Jr. (ABJ ’70) is one of the most passionate Bulldogs you will meet. A 1970 graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, NeSmith is co-owner and publisher of Athens-based Community Newspaper, Inc., which publishes dozens of newspapers in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. As if his professional responsibilities didn’t keep him busy enough, NeSmith, a self-admitted “joiner,” has dedicated as much (if not more) of his free time to higher education.The list of his past university volunteer roles is unparalleled:

  -  chairman of Grady's advisory board and president of its alumni board;

  -  chairman of the board of directors of the Fanning Leadership Institute;

  -  chairman of the Richard B. Russell Foundation;

  -  member of the Athletic Association Board of Directors; and

  -  trustee of the UGA Foundation

In addition, NeSmith is a past president of the UGA Alumni Association and served from 2003 to 2005. He could always be counted on to support his alma mater, and his leadership was surely a factor in UGA’s rise to a top 20 public institution of higher education.

In 2008, Gov. Sonny Perdue asked NeSmith to join the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents. Five years later, he was serving as chairman of the 18-person governing board for USG. Only the third Athenian to fill this position, NeSmith recently concluded his term as chairman.

Reflecting on a lifetime of professional and philanthropic endeavors, NeSmith recently penned a short piece about his readiness to enjoy his greatest accomplishment: his family. The alumnus is surrounded by an ever-growing swath of Bulldog Faithful: his wife, Pam (BSHE ’71); three children, Alan (BSA ’04), Emily (AB ’99) and Eric (ABJ ’02); and seven grandsons. Upon the birth of each grandchild, NeSmith proudly gave them each a lifetime membership with the UGA Alumni Association. Although the Alumni Association is no longer dues-based, the NeSmith family boasts an impressive 15 lifetime members!

Read more about NeSmith’s transition to “grandpa time” here. This is one alumnus who has certainly earned the right to hang his “Gone Fishing” sign on the door. Thank you for your continued support, Dink, and your fine leadership in many areas across campus and the state.

Dink NeSmith is a regular contributor to the Athens Banner-Herald; read more of his pieces here.

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04.21.2014

McCall Wilder Designs offers timeless clothing options for children

McCall Wilder (ABJ '92) was having trouble locating the perfect outfit for her first baby's Christening. After an usuccessful search, the alumna decided to take matters into her own hands and create her own elegant and timeless clothing pieces for children. And so, in 2001, McCall Wilder Designs was established.

Wilder grew up in Athens with dreams of designing and pursuing journalism. She attended Hollins College in Virginia before transferring to UGA to study broadcast news in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. After graduating, Wilder interned and worked for CNN in Atlanta, taking part in the launch of CNN.com, the Internet’s first news site. She remained at CNN as a writer and producer until 1999.

Wilder’s “Baby McCall line” of heirloom gowns and special occasion outfits was only available by appointment until May 2008, when the first McCall Wilder Couture for Children Boutique & Atelier opened in the heart of Atlanta. The Baby McCall and McCall Wilder Designs lines now include more than 50 different styles, from crib bedding to dresses for teens and women.

Congratulations on your successful business venture, McCall. Your clothes and other products are simply beautiful.

Stay up-to-date on news and design ideas through the McCall Wilder Designs Facebook page.

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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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