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01.14.2014

UGA alumnus Tom Okie (PHD ‘12) explains the history behind “The Peach State”

The Garden State. The Big Apple. The Magnolia State - there's no question as to which states these terms relate. And the Peach State? That should be an easy one!

In his award-winning dissertation and upcoming book, Everything is Peaches Down in Georgia: Culture and Agriculture in the American South, UGA graduate Tom Okie (PHD ’12) explains why "Peach State" became synonymous with our beloved Georgia. Okie’s interest in peaches is far from random; his father was a U.S. Department of Agriculture peach breeder based in Byron, Georgia.

In his book, Okie explains that the peach represented progress 100 years ago. At the dawn of the 20th century, cotton suddenly represented poverty and carried a negative connotation, relating to the “benighted vassalage” of the South’s cotton planters. The adoption of the peach as representation of change was carried out in order to give the the agricultural economy a face-lift. In his book, Okie says “the cultural footprint of the peach is much larger than its economic impact.” Despite the fact that blueberry sales significantly surpassed the annual value of peaches, the peach icon lives on because of its historical value to Georgia.

According to the alumnus, “Growing up [in Byron], I took for granted that middle Georgia was common, even ugly. But reading the glowing descriptions of these early horticulturists gave me a new appreciation of the nuanced beauty of my home. Wendell Berry has a line in his poem How to be a Poet that captures this feeling. He wrote, ‘there are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.'”

I encourage you to read more about Okie and his dissertation, which was described as “a beautifully written, elegantly rendered tale full of surprises and profound implications for understanding America’s past” by the Society of American Historians. He even received the 2013 Allan Nevins Prize for best-written history doctoral dissertation on an American topic. The UGA Office of the Vice President for Research covered Okie's work beginning on page 27 of the Fall 2013 issue of "UGA Research."

Great work, Tom! The meaning behind "Peach State" is something that most of us should probably learn - thank you!

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04.15.2014

2014 UGA Day Tour

For the past three years, UGA Days has toured more than 26 cities, bringing administrators and coaches to cities across the southeast for evening gatherings with local alumni, friends and fans. This year's tour stops include Greenville, SC; Gainesville, GA; Dalton, GA; Orlando, FL; Savannah, GA; Albany, GA; Houston, TX; Tifton, GA; Augusta, GA; Columbus, GA; Macon, GA; and Gwinnett County, GA.

Each stop on the tour will feature one administrator and two athletic coaches. The program includes updates on UGA's upcoming sports seasons, latest research initiatives and admissions information about the Class of 2018. 

In just two days, the 2014 tour will kick off in Greenville! Put on your red and black and practice your Dawg bark, in the next few weeks, UGA will be coming to a city near you. It’s not too late to join the tradition! Click here for more information about each stop on the tour.

The UGA Day program is a collaboration between the UGA Alumni Association and UGA Athletic Association.

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04.14.2014

Thinc. at UGA Entrepreneurial Week

Successful entrepreneurs, including UGA graduates, will share their success stories and lessons learned as part of Thinc. Entrepreneurial Week, now through April 17. The Thinc. initiative is designed to help students, faculty and staff see the world of opportunities both local and global, and to start something in response.

That something might be a new for-profit company or a not-for-profit social venture. It might change something in your own neighborhood or community, or it might change the world.

In addition to the “Starting Points” entrepreneur panel, this year’s Thinc. Entrepreneurial Week will feature a “give back” hackathon; a talk on breakthrough innovation by David Butler, Coca-Cola vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship; a collaborative innovation competition; an extreme networking session, events related to social entrepreneurship, and a local arts and culture business summit.  

Please visit thinc.uga.edu for a full calendar of events, profiles of UGA students, faculty, staff and alumni entrepreneurs and all the information you need to get the most out of Thinc.

Terry Hastings
Director of Research Communications
Office of the Vice President for Research

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04.10.2014

2014 Alumni Awards Luncheon

It’s Honors Week at UGA, a time to celebrate outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni who have given so much to the university. Tomorrow, the UGA Alumni Association will host the 2014 Alumni Awards Luncheon. The event will take place this Friday, April 11, at noon at the Classic Center in downtown Athens.

At the luncheon, the Alumni Merit Award, the UGA Alumni Association's oldest honor, will be presented to Charlayne Hunter-Gault (ABJ '63), known for her award-winning journalism and work as a foreign correspondent and M. Douglas Ivester (BBA '69), who spent over 20 years working with Coca-Cola.

Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Tom Landrum (AB '72, MA '87) and Anne Sweaney, professor emerita in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, will be honored with the Faculty Service Award. The Alumni Family of the Year award will go to Francis "Abit" Massey (BBA '49) and his family, known for their commitment to the community, poultry industry and UGA.

Click here for more information about the honorees and the event.

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