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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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07.23.2014

Make miracles happen with Gwinnett Braves

As an Emmy-winning reporter for CBS, Adam Murphy (ABJ ’97) spends a large amount of time in the spotlight. He works as a consumer investigative reporter, cracking down on scam artists and tracking dollars involved in large projects. Recently, the alumnus has been focusing his off-screen efforts on helping people.

In 2013, Murphy decided to use his influence to launch the nonprofit ‘Miracle for Mom’. The organization is dedicated to his own mother, Janice Murphy, who was diagnosed in 2010 with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). PSP is a progressive neurological disorder that causes complications with controlling balance, complex eye movements and upper-level thinking. Discovered in 1964, this relatively new disease has had little attention placed upon it by the scientific community due to its rarity. With no known cause, cure, or treatment procedure, the outlook for those suffering with PSP has looked bleak for the 1 in 100,000 Americans that will develop this neurological disorder. Miracle for Mom hopes to change that.

Miracle for Mom strives to find a cure for PSP and helps those living with the disease. In its four years, the charity has raised more than $10,000. This year alone, Miracle for Mom joined forces with the Atlanta Hawks to raise more than $4,000 in one night. Tonight (July 23), the charity is partnering with the Gwinnett Braves to hopefully raise even more to support the fight against PSP. 

Miracle for Mom Night with the Gwinnett Braves is being held tonight, July 23, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. A portion of ticket sales will be given to the organization. Attendees who purchase a "First Pitch Ticket," will be given and especially good seat in the stadium. And for $15, attendees can enjoy a delicious pre-game tailgate catered by Williamson Bros. BBQ.

Tonight's event is sure to be fun, but also important in the fight against PSP. 

Learn more about Miracle for Mom and/or purchase tickets for tonight's game at www.miracleformom.org

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07.22.2014

2014 is “Going to the Dawgs”

The 2014 fiscal year was an incredible year for the University of Georgia for a variety of reasons. For students, each semester marks one step closer to graduation. For faculty, 2014 has brought national awards, advances in research and the promise of more excitement to come.

For instance, three of the Brazilian stadiums that were used during the World Cup were outfitted with TifGrand, a shade-tolerant, wear-tolerant bermudagrass hypbrid developed by UGA and the U.S. Departement of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. Despite this (and many other) amazing accomplishments that have taken place since last July, one record-breaking event has created the possibility of an even more produtive upcoming year.

The 2014 fiscal year saw the largest number of gifts and donations in the history of the university. Between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, UGA received a staggering $126.4 million from 56,897 different contributors. This amount reflects a 4 percent increase over 2013 and the second time in the university’s history that it received more than $120 million.

"This record year is a tribute to the faith our alumni and friends have in the future of our great university," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead (JD '80).

That faith has certainly not been poorly placed. These donations will help fund the projects and plans that UGA has for the coming years. From a renovated Veterinary Medical Learning Center to updating multiple residence halls across campus, these generous gifts are making it possible for UGA undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff to thrive in a well-designed and constantly improving environment.

Beyond these larger projects, donations to the university work daily for students and alumni through the UGA Alumni Association and Student Alumni Association, two organizations that connect students and alumni to each other, to the university and to the traditions and history that make UGA special.

This year has been record-breaking, but also record-setting. The bar has been raised to $126.4 million in donations. Now it’s time for the Bulldog Nation to make sure that 2015 is an even more incredible year for the University of Georgia. Make a pledge today for a better UGA tomorrow!

To learn more about this news, click here.

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07.18.2014

A Bulldog reunion 30 years in the making

With so many University of Georgia alumni and even former professors scattered around the world, you never know where two former Dawgs might run into each other, even after decades.

John Shearer (AB ’83) recently hooked up with his old Myers Hall faculty resident friend, Dr. Joe Snow, while traveling through Madrid, Spain, in a reunion that in some respects had been more than 30 years in the making. 


Dr. Joe Snow (left) and John Shearer in Madrid

The story of their friendship began when Shearer moved into Myers in January 1982 after two years of living in the now-razed McWhorter Hall as a walk-on football player and then four quarters in University Gardens Apartments off Baxter Street. In Myers, which was two-thirds male at the time, Shearer said he finally found the closely knit, small-college-like community of male and female students for which he had been longing.

Among the many people he befriended was Snow, a Spanish and Portuguese language instructor, who had an arrangement with university housing to live there at a greatly reduced rent. Snow's only job was to circulate among the students and help break down the barriers between students and faculty. 

Through Snow, Shearer found out about a 1983 spring break trip being planned to Russia, then called the Soviet Union, by then-University of Georgia Russian language professor Dr. Harold Schefski. Shearer ended up going on the trip with his mother, Dr. Snow, Dr. Snow’s sister and several other students. Upon their return to the United States in those pre-Internet days, they learned that Georgia had qualified for the Final Four in men’s and women’s basketball for the first time.

Shearer, who majored in geography, ended up keeping a journal about his trip, and that inspired him to pursue a journalism and writing career that continues 30 years later on a freelance basis from his home in Knoxville, Tenn.  In 2013, Shearer wrote a column on the 30th anniversary of his trip and through Dr. Schefski, who now teaches at California State University, Long Beach, he reconnected with Snow via email.

Snow, who became interested in Spanish while a high school student in New Jersey, had left UGA in the early 1990s to begin teaching at Michigan State University. Today, he spends most of his time in retirement in Madrid in a residence he was able to pay for in part due to his reduced rent while at Myers Hall.


Laura Shearer (ABJ '69) and Dr. Joe Snow

After realizing he would be traveling to Madrid in June with his wife, Laura Anderson Shearer (ABJ ’69), on the way to visit her son in Portugal, Shearer made plans to reconnect with Snow. And since it would be Shearer’s first overseas trip since the Russian excursion, he could say he had been with Snow on every international trip he had taken.

“It was neat reconnecting with him,” said Shearer, who had not seen Snow since the first year or two after he graduated. “He took us to an out-of-the way restaurant with which he was familiar, and it ended up being one of the best meals on our nearly two-week trip. But the conversation was even better. His engaging and warm manner that had endeared him to students became familiar again. 

“And most of all, it was neat comparing our memories of both the Russia trip and our experiences in Myers Hall, because my time in Myers was one of the happiest of my life.”

Written by freelance journalist John Shearer (AB ’83)

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