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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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01.30.2015

Happy New Year, Bulldogs!

The UGA Alumni Association and the University of Georgia well on the way to a great 2015. 26,882 undergraduate students have returned to campus for the spring academic semester, 1,113 whom are calling UGA their “home” for the first time. It is impressive to have such competitive students choosing UGA to further their educations.

This year marks the 230th celebration as the nation’s first state-chartered institution of higher education. In honor of the signing of UGA’s Charter on January 27, 1795, the UGA Alumni Association hosted the annual Founders Day Lecture. This lecture was held in the UGA Chapel and featured Paul Kurtz, UGA School of Law J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law and Associate Dean Emeritus.

The New Year brings opportunities to get more involved with the university and your local alumni chapter. Check out our upcoming events calendar online. If you are interested in chapter leadership, several chapters will be holding interest meetings in coming weeks and months.

Bulldog 100 is right around the corner! This event will take place on Saturday, February 7 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. If you were unable to nominate someone this year, the nominations for 40 Under 40 and next year’s Bulldog 100 open in mid-February.

Also, be on the lookout for UGA Days. The tour will visit 7 cities throughout Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina.

The UGA Alumni Association will keep you informed about UGA events and happenings. Simply keep your contact information up-to-date so that we include you in all the exciting things planned for 2015. You can also stay informed of events and news on Facebook and Twitter

This year holds great potential for growth on campus and within our Alumni chapters. Let us come together as the Bulldog nation in embracing all that 2015 has to offer.

Sincerely,

Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS ’00)
Executive Director
UGA Alumni Association 

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01.29.2015

Alumna Spotlight: Amy Robach (ABJ '95) receives Distinguished Achievement Award from UGA

Journalist Amy Robach received the Distinguished Achievement in Broadcasting and Cable Award from the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication's national broadcast society, DiGamma Kappa.

The award was presented on January 23 at DiGamma Kappa's annual awards banquet at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

Robach, a 1995 Grady graduate, serves as the news anchor for "Good Morning America" on ABC.

"Amy follows an American and Grady tradition of news anchors who are also great journalists, who care about what they report and how their stories influence audiences," said David Hazinski, an associate professor in the Grady College and one of Robach's instructors when she was in school. "They insist that information is factual and balanced. We're proud to have her as an influential graduate."

Since joining ABC News in 2012, Robach has traveled nationally and internationally to cover major news events ranging from the campaign to free captive school girls in Africa and reporting on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, to covering the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. She has also anchored "ABC News" and "20/20" on multiple occasions.

  

Prior to joining ABC, Robach worked at NBC News as the co-anchor of Saturday TODAY and an NBC national news correspondent. She was an anchor for MSNBC from 2003 to 2007 following her start at local news stations WTTG in Washington, D.C., and WCBD in Charleston, South Carolina. 

Robach was last in Athens in October when she was the featured speaker for the Suits and Sneakers fundraiser, which generates awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society, a cause of special significance since she fought her own battle with breast cancer in 2013.

The Distinguished Achievement in Broadcasting and Cable Award is presented by DiGamma Kappa and co-sponsored by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters and Grady. Previous winners include Steve Koonin (M '79), Gale Anne Hurd and Monica Pearson (MA '14).

View more photos from the awards banquet

Source

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01.28.2015

Student Alumni Association celebrates UGA’s birthday

UGA students, including members of the Student Alumni Association, have been wishing UGA a happy birthday throughout the week as the university community celebrates Founders Week and the 230th anniversary of the university's establishment as the first state-chartered institution of public higher education.

On Tuesday, students gathered in Tate Plaza to receive 2015 Founders Week T-shirts, enjoy a few birthday treats and learn more about the university's founding and what it means to be the first state-chartered institution. Even the guide dogs got into the Founders Week spirit!

That evening, students watched the men's basketball team defeat the Vanderbilt Commodores 70-62 at Stegeman Coliseum. Other Founders Week activities taking place this week include a Greek Life banner contest, the Spring Career Fair and a special Dawgs After Dark on Friday night.

 

 

Another exciting part of Founders Week is the annual 100 Days Until Graduation Celebration. This one-stop-shop provides seniors with an opportunity to meet with alumni representatives from their schools and colleges, learn more about the Young Alumni Football Ticket Program, order a UGA ring, make their mark on the Senior Signature plaque, and order caps and gowns for commencement. All members of the Class of 2015 are invited to attend this special event.

  

And if you haven't seen it, be sure to check out the video of UGA students wishing UGA a happy 230th birthday.

Thank you to the Student Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Council for making Founders Week another exciting time for students on campus.

It's not too late to send UGA your own happy birthday message. Simply use #UGATurns230 on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

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