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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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07.28.2014

Father and son share a bond like no other

Craig Sager Jr. (ABJ '10), a member of UGA's 2008-2009 football team, and his father, legendary sartorialist and NBA and MLB sports announcer, Craig Sager Sr., have always shared a love of sports. They now share an even stronger connection - a connection that helped save Craig Sr.'s life.

On July 3, Craig Jr. donated bone marrow to his father who is battling acute myeloid leukemia.

“I was pretty confident I’d be the match,” Craig Jr. said. “But 10 out of 10? That’s pretty crazy.”

Craig Jr. was disappointed, though, to find out the surgery would take place on July 3. Like many Georgians, Craig Jr. looks forward to running the annual Peachtree Road Race each Fourth of July. The race has always served as a bonding experience for the entire Sager family. This would have been the first time in 32 years that Craig Sr. has missed the race and Craig Jr. was looking forward to running in his 10th consecutive Peachtree Road Race.

Despite warnings from his doctors that he forego the race this year, Craig Jr. opted to run the race alongside his mother and sisters - in honor of his father.

Less than 24 hours after donating 1.5 liters of bone marrow to his father, Craig Jr. lined up at the starting line with thousands of other runners.

“I wasn’t supposed to be doing this race,” Craig Jr. said. “I was supposed to stay overnight in the hospital but I left at 6:00 p.m. and then just went to bed.”

In the end, Craig Jr. completed the 2014 Peachtree Road Race in one hour and 17 minutes. He was realistic about his finishing time and did not expect to match his previous time of 42 minutes.

Congratulations to Craig Jr. for bravely helping his father's leukemia battle and for crossing the Peachtree Road Race finish line for the 10th year in a row. Best wishes to the entire Sager family for a future of good health!

Information for this blog was sourced from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and MLB.com

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07.25.2014

UGA alumna is on fire

In 2006, Disney produced a huge hit with Cars. It was a family-friendly, fun-filled animated adventure that led to a sequel and the successful spin-off Planes. This summer, a related film will grace the silver screen, Planes: Fire and Rescue, and in it, a successful UGA alumna.

Corri English (ABJ ’00) is well-known in her field as the star of numerous films, guest on iconic television shows, and lead singer for country band Brokedown Cadillac. Though her career began when she was quite young, hosting children’s shows on TBS in the 1980s, it really took off after graduating from UGA.

English has made a name for herself in horror films, winning Best Actress at the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival for her role in Unrest. She also generated quite a following for her voice-over work in popular video games such as Mass Effect 3, Dragon Age: Origins and  Star Wars: The Old Republic. These character voicing skills were brought to life during Planes: Fire and Rescue

Her character, Pinecone, along with four other smokejumpers, bravely leaps from planes to put out fires. "Working alongside actors like Dane Cook, Ed Harris, and Regina King was a great experience," said English. 

The alumna is excited about the release of the film and hopes it leads to further voice acting opportunities in the future. 

Truly, for this star Bulldog, the sky is the limit.

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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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