UGA Alumni Association:



Sixteen alumni honored by UGA Graduate School

The UGA Graduate School is honoring 16 graduates with the 2013 Alumni of Distinction Award for achieving exceptional success in their professional careers and in service to their communities. The Alumni of Distinction Award was established last year and the first recipients were named this year. Recipients have enjoyed success in their professional field, exemplified themselves as a mentor and served as a role model for others. All graduate-level UGA alumni are eligible to be considered for the annual award. I’m pleased to share that this year’s recipients are:

N. Kirby Alton (BS '74, PHD '81), of Thousand Oaks, Calif., was the founding scientist and former senior vice president of development for AmGen Inc., a biotechnology company that was the first to produce a successful human biopharmaceutical for treating human disease. He was the founder and director of Ascent Air LLC and is the current chairman of the board of directors of Abeome Corp. Alton currently serves on the UGA Research Foundation board of directors.

Devron R. Averett (BS '71, MS '74), of Cardiff By The Sea, Calif., is the current chief scientific officer at EcoActive Surfaces Inc., and provides consulting services in the discovery and development of human medicines. He has been instrumental in developing technologies that have resulted in the development of medicines for both HIV and hepatitis B and is the inventor on more than 17 issued and nine pending patents.

Phillip G. Bartley (PHD '04), of Athens, is the CEO, president and co-founder of Innovative Measurement Solutions Inc. His work has focused on the development and improvement of techniques used for measuring the electromagnetic properties of materials, which have become industry standards and have been utilized by the U.S. military, NASA and medical researchers.

James Eugene Bottoms (BSED '60, EDD '65), of Tucker, is the senior vice president of the Southern Regional Education Board and is the founder and director of the “High Schools that Work" program, which is used in more than 1,100 high schools in 26 states. He was appointed to the National Commission on the Senior Year, a U.S. Department of Education initiative that studies students’ final year in high school. Bottoms is the former executive director at the American Vocational Association and served as director of educational improvement for the Georgia Department of Education for 13 years.

Maxine Hubbard Burton (BSED '72, MED '78), of Athens, is the founder and president of burton + BURTON, a supplier of balloons and related gift items with a worldwide customer base. She was appointed to the Georgia Council of the Arts in 2013 by Gov. Nathan Deal. She received the Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the retail/wholesale category and the Spirit of Georgia Award from the Georgia Industrial Development Association.

Richard J. Cebula (MA '68), of Jupiter, Fla., is the Walker/Wachovia Bank Professor of Finance in the Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University and the author of 13 books and almost 500 articles concerning finance, economics, business, management and statistics. He is ranked among the world’s leading economists by Research Papers in Economics and is the president-elect of the Mid-Continent Regional Science Association.

Richard T. Cupitt (AB '74, MA '78, PHD '85), of Washington, D.C., served as an expert to the 1540 Committee of the United Nations Security Council, which dealt with ways to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the activities of terrorists and other criminals. Cupitt was instrumental in developing UGA’s Center for International Trade and Security into a global research center for the study of security export controls.

Peter C. Griffith (PHD '88), of Baltimore, Md., is the founding director of NASA’s Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office, which supports the North American Carbon Program and is a component of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Griffith is currently the chief support scientist for Sigma Space Corp. As a result of his efforts with the Large Scale Biosphere Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia, NASA presented him with a Group Achievement Award in 2003.

Joel D. Haber (MS '81, PHD '83), of Golden Bridge, N.Y., is a clinical psychologist and parenting expert who focuses on bullying prevention. He authored “Bullyproof Your Child for Life,” co-authored “The Resilience Formula” and founded the Respect U Program, a bully prevention and management curriculum used in schools, camps, organizations, sports teams and families. He serves as a leading expert for the LG Text Education Council and is an adviser to Cartoon Network’s “Stop Bullying: Speak Up” campaign. As a recipient of a U.S State Department grant, he was able to start a national dialogue in South Korea, which allowed him to meet with government officials, teachers, counselors, and universities that train leaders in education.

Charles E. Hamner Jr(DMV '60,  MS '62, PHD '64), of Chapel Hill, N.C., is the founder and chair of the board of directors of the Hamner Institute for Health Sciences. He previously served as the president and CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center while also teaching in the obstetrics and gynecology department at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. In 2011 he received the North Carolina Award for Public Service, the highest honor a civilian can be awarded.

Donald K. Ingram (MS '77, PHD '78), of Baton Rouge, La., is a professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University. He founded the Laboratory of Experimental Gerontology at the National Institute on Aging and previously was the chief of the Behavioral Neuroscience Section of the National Institutes of Health. He has developed and patented four drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease and authored more than 300 scientific publications.

William B. Jones (BBA '66, MED '70), of Jackson, Ga., is the founder and president of Jones Petroleum Company Inc. As a former superintendent of the Butts County School System, he established the first fully funded public kindergarten program in a rural Georgia school system. Jones served four terms as a Georgia state representative during which time he was instrumental in passing legislation that required prospective teachers to undergo professional testing prior to receiving a teaching certificate.

Thomas L. Lyons (AB '71, MS '71), of Atlanta, is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis and currently works as an OB-GYN. His career has focused not only on women’s health care, but also on the education and training of gynecologists, developing specialized surgical procedures. Previously, Lyons was a team physician for UGA’s women’s athletic teams. He played football for UGA and was selected in the 1971 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos, for whom he played for six seasons.

Carl E. Swearingen (ABJ  '67, MA '69), of Atlanta, is the former senior vice president of BellSouth Corp. and the president of BellSouth Telecommunications in Georgia. He serves on the University of Georgia Foundation Board and the board of directors for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Swearingen was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to the Commission for a New Georgia and has served as chairman of the Technical College System of Georgia Board. He was the UGA Alumni Association president from 1997 to 1999.

Ronald L. Vaughn (PHD '75), of Tampa, Fla., has been the president of the University of Tampa since 1995. Prior to becoming president, Vaughn was the coordinator of the marketing department and was the Max H. Hollingsworth Endowed Chair of American Enterprise. He was director of the M.B.A. program, dean of the College of Business and Graduate Studies, and co-chief academic officer.

Karl E. Wycoff (AB '75, MA '77), of Herndon, Va., is the senior policy adviser to the Corporate Council on Africa. He previously served in a variety of roles at the U.S. Department of State that included deputy assistant secretary for African Affairs, director for Central African Affairs, head of the Action Against Terrorism Unit and deputy coordinator for counterterrorism.

Congratulations to these great alumni. It never ceases to amaze me the caliber of graduates UGA is sending into the world and this set of individuals is no exception. Go Dawgs!

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Recent Entries


Alumnus Spotlight: John Christopher “Kit” Cummings (BBA ’89)

Assistant Director of Communications Jamie Lewis (AB '12, AB '12) recently interviewed alumnus Kit Cummings about his career and time at UGA. Kit is an international author, speaker and human rights and peace activist. After a lengthy career in ministry, Kit began working as a motivational speaker and was invited to speak inside a maximum security prison. This event was the catalyst for what Kit calls the "Power of Peace Program." Kit recently published Peace Behind the Wire, which raises funds for that program. 

Tell me a little bit about your background. What pushed you to attend UGA and what did you study?

I have been in the Atlanta area for my entire life and never plan to relocate. I've traveled the world for work, but every time I get off the plane in Atlanta, I am happy to be home. My father played basketball at UGA in the 1950s and I was raised a Bulldog—I always planned to go to school in Athens. I graduated from Walton High School in 1982, played soccer at Georgia Southern University in 1982-1983 and transferred to UGA in 1984. I graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from the Terry College of Business. 

What was the inspiration for your book and what do you hope to accomplish with it?

I have been a public speaker for 25 years, and in the last 10 years or so, I began to get more involved in corporate motivational training. I was invited into a prison environment and that changed my life forever. I began to work with individuals who had made some of the worst choices and were experiencing some of the most drastic consequences. My mind change principles worked powerfully among this population and led to the creation of my organization, the Power of Peace Project, Inc. My new book, Peace Behind the Wire, tells the fascinating story of how 12 convicts in a dangerous maximum security prison, in the midst of a gang war, unknowingly started a peace movement that is now spreading to schools and prisons across the country. I intend to use this model, and the curriculum that was created from it, to spread peace throughout schools and communities around the world. I figure if it can work in the most dangerous places, which it has, then it can interrupt and redirect our at-risk youth, too. 

What is next for you? Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?

I continue to go where I’m invited and that has taken me on speaking tours around the country and even overseas into prisons in South Africa, Honduras, Ukraine and Mexico. At the end of this year, I will be going to India to plant seeds for the Power of Peace Project. I have connected with both the Gandhi and Mandela Foundations abroad, as well as the King Center here. Going forward, I see my organization and its volunteers working with states and foreign governments to create peace and help heal our wounded world. My dreams are BIG and the future is bright.


How did your time at UGA lead you to where you are now and did you have any particularly inspiring courses or professors? 

I had the time of my life at UGA. Athens was a place I never wanted to leave! The nightlife, the music scene, the culture of a small town combined with a large thriving university probably did more to shape me than I realize. I lived right downtown at University Towers and experienced all that college life had to offer. I have always been able to relate well to different cultures, and ethnic/socioeconomic backgrounds and I believe my time at UGA only helped to strengthen that—which has had a huge impact on my work. I loved my marketing courses and professors and believe that I have carried what I learned there into many areas of my calling.

What is your fondest memory of UGA?

My fondest memory was when the Bulldogs beat the No.1 ranked Florida Gators in Jacksonville 24-3 in 1985. We rushed the field and attempted (unsuccessfully) to tear down the goal posts. My friends and I were photographed coming over the fence and put on the front page of the Jacksonville Times! Classic.

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Alumnus Spotlight: Jack B. Hood (AB ’69, JD ’71)

Jack B. Hood (AB ’69, JD ’71) is a Georgia Bulldog fan, lawyer, author and banjo player - and a proud Double Dawg. After graduating from Georgia Law, he went on to earn a degree in international law from the University of Cambridge (Darwin College) in 1972. He is an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham, and is a member of the Georgia, Alabama and District of Columbia bars.

Earlier this year, Jack returned from an American Bar Association (ABA)-sponsored trip to Ireland and the United Kingdom to attend the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede. Jack is descended from Saer de Quincey, the first Earl of Winchester and one of the 25 barons that forced King John to seal the document in 1215. Saer de Quincey was also a Templar Knight who “took the Cross” and later died on November 3, 1219, while on the Fifth Crusade at the siege of Damietta in Egypt. 

The ceremonies at Runnymede on June 15, 2015, were attended by British royalty and dignitaries from around the world, including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, William, the Duke of Cambridge, Princess Anne, Prime Minister David Cameron, the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Hubbard, president of the ABA, and Loretta Lynch, attorney general of the United States.

Jack and his grandson Walkin 

Jack, his daughter, and grandson attended exclusive events for ABA members at the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O'Malley at Deerfield in Phoenix Park, Dublin, and at U.S. Ambassador to the UK David Barzun's residence at Winfield House in London.


England's Prince William 

They visited Darwin College at the University of Cambridge, attended formal dinners and enjoyed Darwin’s annual formal ball. They also managed to tour Royal Air Force Bases at Duxford, Mildenhall, and Lakenheath with the assistance of a current USAF JAG officer living in Cambridge.

Jack's time at UGA led to his successful career as a lawyer, professor and author. Several of his undergraduate and law professors took a personal interest in his education and motivated Jack to become a productive member of the legal profession. Those inspirational professors at Georgia included Ed Best, Perry Sentell and Dean Rusk.

Learn more about Jack Hood

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Alumnus and longtime supporter brings NASA to campus

Roger Hunter’s (BS ’78, Mathematics) passion for UGA is unmatched by most, and despite living thousands of miles from Athens, his veins are still filled with red and black.

In 2014, the associate director for programs at NASA Ames Research Center in California gave the fall commencement address and a TEDxUGA Talk. This past summer, he hosted UGA President Jere W. Morehead (JD ’80) and other university representatives on a tour of Ames, even surprising them with an image of Uga IX on Mars – the first “earth-being” to visit the surface of the Red Planet.

His commitment to UGA continued this fall when Roger brought two of his NASA colleagues, Roberto Carlino and Jasper Wolfe, to campus to present to and mentor students and faculty on the Friday prior to the UGA vs. South Carolina football game.

(left to right): NASA scientists Jasper Wolfe from Australia, Roberto Carlino from Italy and UGA’s own Roger Hunter from California.

Malcolm Adams, a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Math, arranged for an afternoon lecture in the Miller Learning Center that was open to all students and promoted in STEM classes on campus. The presentation focused on the history and future of the use of Cube-Sats (mini satellites used for space research) from the perspective of the NASA Ames Research Center.

Earlier that day, though, the NASA representatives participated in a seminar/workshop for a group of faculty and students who are planning to build the first UGA CubeSat to gather spectral data off the Georgia coast. The group includes faculty from geography, marine science, physics and math, and 25 to 30 undergraduate students.


Both the students and faculty in attendance were inspired by the exciting, breakthrough technology presented by the visitors, and were appreciative of the first-hand mentoring offered.

Roger Hunter continues to contribute to UGA through his time, expertise and financial support. His involvement is greatly appreciated and can be seen as a stellar example of alumni enriching the learning experience on campus through volunteerism.

If you are interested in mentoring on campus or bringing a special project to UGA students, please email and indicate your interest.

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