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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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02.10.2016

2016 TEDxUGA

Join the University of Georgia for the fourth annual TEDxUGA on Friday, March 18.

TEDxUGA 2016: Illuminate will bring UGA’s brightest minds into the spotlight to share their stories, experiences, and ideas worth spreading. Today’s ideas will illuminate tomorrow’s possibilities. The faculty, staff, student and alumni presenters of TEDxUGA 2016 know that all it takes is a single spark. Several alumni will present at this year’s event:

  • Phillip (AB ’06, ABJ ’06) and Eileen Blume – international award-winning, socially conscious photographers and owners of Blume Photography Studios, a 2016 Bulldog 100 business. The pair will be TEDxUGA’s first duo presenters.
  • Marc Gorlin (ABJ ’95) – owner of Kabbage, Inc. and the 2015 No. 1 Bulldog 100 business, Roadie.
  • Melaney Cook-Smith (BBA ’89) – founder of Books for Keeps, a grassroots effort to provide books to those children that might otherwise have none and a 2016 Bulldog 100 business.
  • Reese Hoffa (BSED ’02) – represents the United States as an Olympic shot putter in London, Athens, and Beijing. He won the bronze medal in 2012 and is currently training for the 2016 Olympics.

Registration opens tomorrow, February 11, at 8:00 a.m. to all UGA alumni, students, faculty and staff. 

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02.09.2016

Building a welcoming and supportive campus community

Launched during the 2015 Homecoming Weekend in October, UGA Black Alumni is the official affinity group for black graduates of the University of Georgia. Similar to the Women of UGA program, UGA Black Alumni exists underneath the umbrella of the UGA Alumni Association and seeks to connect black alumni and students.

Each year, UGA enrolls an increasingly diverse student population and it is important to connect alumni and students with shared experiences to continue building a welcoming and supportive campus community. 

“As a student and an alumna, one thing I felt was missing from my UGA experience was the presence and mentorship of UGA alumni who looked like me. In 2008, I saw the first Black Alumni Homecoming Tailgate on Myers Quad and was full of emotion,” said Ambre Reed (BSFCS ’09), a member of the UGA Black Alumni Leadership Council. “The creation of UGA Black Alumni and its Black Alumni Leadership Council is so important to our community. Becoming involved was a no-brainer for me.” 

The mission of UGA Black Alumni is five-fold: recruit black students, faculty and staff; support black students to completion of a degree program; engage current students and alumni by mentoring and professional development; ‘friendraising’ and fundraising for UGA needs; and serve as UGA ambassadors in the community and to fellow Bulldogs 

Raymond Phillips (BS ’12), another member of the UGA Black Alumni Leadership Council says that groups like UGA Black Alumni and Women of UGA send an important message to the university community, as well as prospective students.

“The time and resources the university is investing into UGA Black Alumni demonstrates its commitment to diversity and inclusion,” he said. “This investment shows there is a place for everyone at UGA, regardless of one’s race, gender or age.”

Reed echoed this message.

“The creation of UGA Black Alumni sends the message that the university not only sees diversity as an asset while on campus, but after graduation, too,” she said.

Serving as an ambassador for UGA, a key part of the group’s mission, involves activities like participating in Give That Dawg a Bone, a card-writing campaign in partnership with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, which invites alumni to write notes to accepted students, encouraging them to call UGA home for the next four years.

Members of UGA Black Alumni also are invited to attend information sessions and recruitment fairs throughout the year, where they can educate talented black high school students about UGA, its traditions and culture.

Reed admits that as a high school student, she never considered attending UGA. It was not until a black recruiter visited her high school in metro Atlanta and spoke about UGA with passion and pride that she realized it could be a place that she, a black student, could feel accepted and comfortable.

The services that are now a core part of UGA Black Alumni are what helped recruit Ambre and are what will help recruit more talented and diverse students in the future.

Another key component of UGA Black Alumni is raising funds for the Black Alumni Scholarship, which supports up to four students a year. Charles Orgbon III, a member of the Class of 2017 and recipient of the Black Alumni Scholarship, is CEO of Greening Forward, one of America’s largest youth-driven environmental organizations. It is talented students like Orgbon, who are supported by the important work of UGA Black Alumni, that are helping to further cement UGA’s reputation as a top-tier public institution.

The UGA Alumni Association is proud to support UGA Black Alumni as it continues to engage the university’s more than 288,000 alumni around the world.

To learn more about UGA Black Alumni, visit www.alumni.uga.edu/blackalumni.

Interested in joining Ambre and Raymond on the Black Alumni Leadership Council? Click here.

To support students like Charles Orgbon III and other recipients of the Black Alumni Scholarship, click here

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02.03.2016

Alumnus Spotlight: Peter Conlon (BBA '75)

One of the biggest attractions to the Atlanta music scene is its annual music festival, Music Midtown. From mainstream pop artists to rising rock bands, Music Midtown offers the crowds that gather performances from a wide variety of artists. For Peter Conlon (BBA '75), one of two founders of the festival and president of Peter Conlon Presents, this was the overall goal: to create an event fit for attendees of all music tastes and genres.

Conlon graduated from Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in international business in 1975. During his four years as an undergraduate student, he was a member of University Union where he first began booking rock concerts that featured artists such as Jethro Tull and the Allman Brothers. He attended law school for a short period of time after graduation, but then took a risk and dropped out to work as an intern for the Carter presidential campaign, a risk that ended up paying off through a victory.

Peter continued to work for Jimmy Carter throughout his presidential term. His position required that he help set up benefit concerts for the president. In 1982, Conlon partnered with Alex Cooley to begin his career in the music industry.

Music Midtown at Piedmont Park

After working many years booking concerts, the pair founded Music Midtown in 1994, inspired by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. After having to pull the plug on the event in 2005 due to low sales, the festival was reintroduced in 2011 and now takes up several stages across Piedmont Park, hosts more than 30 different artists, and attracts attendees from all over the nation. Moreover, since the festival’s relaunch, it has generated $50 million for the local economy each year.

Congratulations to Peter and best wishes for the continued success of Music Midtown! 

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