UGA Alumni Association:



40 Under 40 Spotlight: Mark Anthony Thomas (BA ’01)

Mark Anthony Thomas (BA ’01) is a tireless leader who has accomplished many goals since graduating from UGA in 2001.

While a UGA student, Thomas served as a writer and editor-in-chief for the Red & Black, writing more than 200 articles for the student newspaper.

From 2001 to 2006, Thomas was a senior coordinator for the Georgia-Pacific Corporation Foundation and was responsible for managing and representing key Georgia-Pacific philanthropic efforts in education, environment and community development causes.

Thomas then went on to serve as a public relations officer at the Medical School for International Health from 2006 to 2008. Following his time at MSIH, the alumnus became director and publisher for City Limits. He led the New York City-based nonprofit news agency for five years, growing its readership and helping the publication win more than 20 journalism awards.

Despite his busy schedule, Thomas still finds time to volunteer. From 2004 to 2010, he was president of the board of directors of Helping Teens Succeed, a project funded by the Federal Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. He has been on the UGA Honors Program Board of Directors since 2011, and has served on the board of directors for the UGA Alumni Association and West Georgia University’s Center for African American Male Research Success.

Thomas has published more than 300 poems, authored two book projects and performed at more than 200 universities and conferences across the country. In 2005, he was recognized during the Los Angeles Black Book Festival for “Poetry of the Year.” The following year, the alumnus was named one of Essence Magazine’s “50 Do-right Men of the Year.” And in 2010, he was invited to participate in the White House’s Online Summit for leading African American programming leaders in the news media.

This summer, Thomas begins a year at MIT as a Sloan Fellow for Innovation & Global Leadership.

Congratulations, Mark, on everything you have accomplished so far. We look forward to what you will dive into after leaving MIT. See you next week for the 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon in Atlanta!

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Recent Entries


Alumnus Spotlight: Joey Shonka (BS ’05)

Joey Shonka (BS ’05), a long distance hiker and mountaineer, is trying to become the first person to traverse the entire Andes mountain range on foot. He has completed the Triple Crown of Hiking, which refers to the three major U.S. long distance hiking trails: the Appalachian Trail (AT), the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). Joey has written the following books about his experiences hiking each of these trails.

"The Darkness in the Light" (about the AT)

"An American Nomad" (about the PCT)

"A Strong West Wind" (about the CDT)


In July 2013, Joey began his attempt to create the first unbroken chain of footsteps across the continent of South America. He started his trek at Cape Froward, the southernmost point on the mainland of South America. As part of his current journey, he has already hiked nearly 5,000 kilometers, crossed parts of the world's third-largest glacier network and summited seven of the highest peaks in the Americas. Joey checks in via a location tracker on his website to keep family, friends and fans updated. Recently, he was spotted near the Rio Vilcanota in Peru. Joey plans to culminate his hike in Columbia, political unrest permitting, around March 2016.

Learn more about Joey and follow his adventures around the world here.

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Adeline Kenerly ’16 Named New Miss Georgia 2015

Adeline Kenerly '16, a UGA digital and broadcast journalism major, was recently named the 2015 Miss Georgia after Betty Cantrell, the former 2015 Miss Georgia, was named Miss America on September 13.

In addition to being a member of the UGA Majorettes, Adeline was crowned Miss University of Georgia in 2014. She is involved with Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and has held leadership roles with both UGA Relay for Life and HEROs at UGA, a student organization that raises funds for pediatric HIV/AIDS. The Jesup native also served as a member of the Student Government Association's Freshman Forum.

Adeline is continuing a long Bulldog tradition in her family. Her father, Dr. J. Lex Kenerly III met his wife, Joy Bland Kenerly, when they were UGA students in the early 1980s. Her father was a walk-on member of the football team and her mother was a UGA Majorette who twirled during three Sugar Bowls and the 1980 National Championship. Today, Lex is a member of the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors and his company, Bone and Joint Institute of South Georgia, was on last year's Bulldog 100 list of fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni. The couple has raised a family of passionate and involved Bulldogs. They attend each home football game to not only cheer for the Bulldogs, but also their daughters, Adeline and Jameson. Jameson is a third-year Feature Twirler and in the Honors Program.

Adeline will be crowned Miss Georgia on Saturday, October 3 during halftime of the Georgia vs. Alabama football game. 

The Miss America Organization, at the local, state, and national levels, is the largest private scholarship foundation for women in the United States. This year, scholarship assistance totaling more than $45 million was available to contestant’s at all three levels. The organiztaion was established in 1921 and is a nonprofit civic corporation. The Miss UGA Scholarship Pageant is a program within UGA's Division of Student Affairs.

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Checking in with Marc Gorlin (ABJ ‘95), No.1 Bulldog 100 business owner

Director of Alumni Programs Frances Beusse (BS '06) sat down with Marc Gorlin (ABJ '95), serial entrepreneur and owner of Kabbage, Inc., the 2015 No. 1 Bulldog 100 business to discuss his latest venture, Roadie, the first neighbor to neighbor shipping network. 


Roadie delivers your stuff where it needs to go faster, cheaper, and friendlier. Learn more about Roadie and download the app at


Say you’re making a Roadie delivery from Atlanta to Athens. Describe your perfect day in the Classic City.

Well, the day obviously starts with me rolling into Athens with a package to deliver. I love meeting new people and the Roadie community includes more than its fare share of Bulldog fans, so that’s always fun. After that, I like to walk around campus and stop at the bookstore to get my kids something – you can never have enough UGA gear. Stopping by the Grady College is a must and Dean Charles Davis (MA ’92) usually has good stories to share. Finally, it’s hard to get me out of town without visiting The Grill. I used to enjoy that fine establishment much later in the evening during my days in Athens, but these day I go old school and drop in for a BBQ Burger platter with some feta fries and a chocolate milkshake. That always makes for a great day.

The start-up world is continuing to gain speed in the business world. As an alumnus, what advice do you have for UGA alumni or students looking to break into the start-up business?

Start early and start often. Don’t be afraid of failure. Coming out of school is your best time to take risks. Most students aren’t coming out of school with a spouse, mortgage payments or kids. Take chances and don’t be afraid to break things. My Dad always told me, “Don’t get a job, find a deal.”  Whether you’re starting a company or just figuring out the right career to begin with, it’s important to find your deal.


Executive Director Meredith G. Johnson (BSFCS '00) and Marc Gorlin (ABJ '95)

With all of your business ventures throughout your career, you’ve met and worked with some pretty accomplished people. Who is the coolest? Celebrities count, too.

The real superstars in my world are the people on my team. They’re the ones that propel the business forward and I’m fortunate to have the job where I get to talk about all the awesome stuff they’re building everyday. Outside of that, meeting Steve Case, founder of AOL, was pretty cool. We met this summer as he toured the country on his start-up tour called Rise of the Rest. What he’s doing is very exciting in our community. But, I’d have to say my favorite is Chris Bridges, better known as Ludacris in the music world, Roadie’s newest partner. This guy is a Grammy Award-winning artist, he’s about to start filming Fast & Furious 8, and he’s so down to earth, and easy to work with. Not to mention that getting to know him has been seriously great for my street cred.


Marc and Ludacris

What did it meant to you to be the owner of the No. 1 Bulldog 100 fastest growing business in 2015?

It was a huge honor. There are so many great Bulldog businesses out there, so to come out on top was an unexpected but crazy awesome honor. I love that it was the first time someone from the Grady College has won the award. That made it even more special to me, and based on his reaction, Dean Davis was pretty excited about it, too. 

As a UGA student, what impacted you the most? Any student groups, notable professors or light bulb moments that helped to launch you?

It’s not every day that a tech entrepreneur comes out of journalism school, but I think that experience had a huge impact on me. It helped develop my natural curiosity for people and for how things work in the world. That’s what being an entrepreneur is all about. Conrad Fink was one of my favorite professors in J-school. He taught me to ask great questions and narrow in on the essence of an idea or concept. He probably exhausted more than one box of red pens getting that point across, and for that I owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

Your career path has had lots of twists and turns. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Assuming Roadie’s partnership with Ludacris continues to go well, I plan to start my own hip-hop career under the stage name Lil’ Roadie and I hope to fill stadiums worldwide and make billions. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll be thankful to be running the most innovative company in the shipping industry and helping make the world a better, greener, friendlier place.

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