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10.18.2013

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


04.15.2015

Alumni Spotlight: Josh Collins (BSEH '97, MS '99)

Josh Collins (BSEH '97, MS '99) is the proud owner of Athen's newest juke-joint style restaurant, Champy's Famous Fried Chicken. Located at 1120 Baxter Steet, Athen, GA, the restarunt stives to bring together traditional, southern-family recipes with an atmosphere that will attract a diverse crowd. 

The UGA Alumni Association’s Strategic Communications intern, Emilie Clarke ’15, had the opportunity to catch up with this outstanding alumnus. Read below to find out more about Josh’s entrpreneurial endeavors.

You recently opened Champy’s Famous Fried Chicken, tell me a little bit about the restaurant. What steps did you take to open your own business? What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Champy's was founded in Chattanooga in 2009 by a good friend of ours, Seth Champion, who was raised on the Mississippi Delta.  Although Champy's of Athens is the fifth ocation, which also includes Daphne, Alabaster and Muscle Shoals, AL, we are not a franchise. We refer to ourselves as a "friendchise" between buddies that enjoy great food in a fun atmosphere. The atmosphere is fun for all ages. 

My wife, Amy, and I have talked about moving to Athens for the past 10 years and I knew that Athens was a Champy's explosion waiting to happen. We worked on selling the idea of Athens to Seth for over two years then invested everything we had into opening, including having to go all the way to Mississippi to get a business loan because local banks wouldn't work with us. We cashed in our 401Ks, are still living in an RV and continue to invest all of the elbow grease we have every day.     

 

  

Interior of Chmapy's Famous Fried Chicken

Where do you see the company in five years?

For the Athens Champy's, I can see a destination spot that draws customers from all over Georgia and visiting sports rivals, a thriving catering business for everyone that wants good southern food, and a restaurant full of locals that are drawn to our bluesy atmosphere. As for expansion, I definitely see a second location in five years, maybe an hour or two from Athens. 

What chefs or types of cuisines are your biggest food influences?

Flavors from the Deep South - Mississippi Delta hot tamales, fresh fried chicken and homemade sides. Our recipes were handed down from Seth Champion's grandfather over 40 years ago.  

How did your time at UGA help you achieve your personal and professional goals? Did you have a favorite professor or class that really stuck with you? Favorite memory from your time at UGA?

My environmental health sciences degree kick-started my corporate career and provided me with 15 years of business experience that I lean on every day to run the restaurant.   

I would have to go with two professors, Dr. David MacIntosh and Dean Phil Williams of the Health Science Campus. You didn't ask, but I couldn't forget about Ms. Sandra McPeake who was the department's assistant in the late 1990s. She couldn't always keep me out of trouble, but she tried her best! 

Football Saturdays in Athens are my favorite memory.  All of them...

What advice would you give to future graduates or young alumni who aspire to own their own business?

Just do it.  No one is going to make it happen, but you. 

To learn more about Josh Collins (BSEH '97, MS '99) and Champy's Famous Fried Chicken visit ChampysChicken.com.

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04.14.2015

Alumnus Spotlight: Carlton Curtis (ABJ '72)

Former UGA Alumni Association President Carlton Curtis (ABJ '72) has been honored with the 2015 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award. Presented by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), this award goes to an individual who has shown extraordinary achievement and exemplary leadership in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

"It's a privilege to recognize Carlton and his lifetime of achievements with one of the NRAEF's and the industry's highest honors," said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of strategic operations and philanthropy of the National Restaurant Association and NRAEF. "During his tenure with Coca-Cola and as a member of the NRA and NRAEF boards, Carlton has been steadfastly passionate and committed to improving the industry. He is a tremendous industry advocate, and an exemplary role model within the nation's restaurant and foodservice sector."

Curtis spent the past 43 years with the Coca-Cola Company, while volunteering his time, resources and expertise to restaurant operators and retailers around the globe in an effort to raise the stature of the industry. He has served as chairman of the board of the NRAEF, serves on the Board of Directors of the International Franchise Association, is the current chair of IFA's Diversity Institute, and is a member of the Hall of Fame of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America. He serves his alma mater as an emeritus trustee of the UGA Foundation. He will be recognized today at the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

Continue reading this news story

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04.08.2015

Shabbat 500 creates home for UGA students

Recently, Executive Director Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS '00) had an opportunity to attend the Shabbat 500 dinner.

Thanks to generous Georgia Fund gifts, University of Georgia student organizations are able to apply for sponsorship dollars from the UGA Alumni Association. This is an important way for alumni to support the diverse student groups on campus, including UGA’s student Jewish center, The Rohr Chabad House.

Since 2011, the UGA Alumni Association has been a proud sponsor of the Shabbat 500, an annual free dinner for UGA’s Jewish community in celebration of Shabbat. As a sponsor of Shabbat 500, we help fund the 500-person event hosted by The Rohr Chabad House.

The Chabad House is located near the Spec Towns Track and is a home-away-from-home for Jewish students that offers fellowship and an opportunity to celebrate the holidays. Rabbi Refson and his wife, Chana, have five children, yet they are still able to provide unparalleled hospitality to UGA students through their work with The Chabad House. Every Friday evening, the couple welcomes approximately 60 students for a free dinner in their home. The UGA community is lucky to have individuals like Rabbi Refsen and Chana who provide such special moments for students to gather and celebrate Judaism.

I was able to attend this year’s Shabbat 500 with UGA Alumni Association Vice President Ruth Bartlett (BBA ’76). I witnessed a number of UGA’s student leaders participate, enjoyed seeing the special connections these students have with one another, and loved hearing the prayers, blessings and singing that took place! The students’ energy reminded me how wonderfully diverse the University of Georgia student body is and it made me proud that the UGA Alumni Association sponsors this program.

I greatly admire Rabbi Refson’s family and appreciate the role they play in building a welcoming community for students on campus. I am proud to call them my friends and hope the entire Athens community knows how lucky we are to have them as a resource for students. I invite students, parents and alumni to investigate Chabad of Georgia and The Chabad House to find their role in supporting Rabbi Refson and this special organization on campus.

  

Executive Director Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS '00), Student Alumni Council Member Reed Turry '17 and Vice President Ruth Bartlett (BBA '76)

I look forward to our team sponsoring this event, which promotes campus diversity and inclusiveness, again in the future. Thank you to The Chabad House for hosting Ruth and me!

Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00) is the executive director of the UGA Alumni Association. 

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