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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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03.27.2015

Alumnae Work to Save our Hearing

Athens, a town where music flourishes, is packed with venues and sold-out shows. However, two of Athens’ biggest music-goers, alumnae Katie Carmody (BSED ’08) and Caroline DeCelles (BSED ’08, MED ’10), realized that most people were unaware of the long-term, damaging effects concerts can have on hearing.

Inspired by their undergraduate studies in music business and communication sciences and disorders and by their passion for music, the two graduates started We’re hEAR for You, a non-profit organization that raises awareness for hearing conservation. We’re hEAR for You supplies free earbuds in music venues all over Athens as well as communities across the nation.

Earbuds provided by We're hEAR for You

In an interview with the Red & Black, Carmody and DeCelles shared their passion for hearing protection.

“We’re trying to break the stigma of hearing protection. People think that hearing protection will decrease the quality of a show, but it actually filters out damaging frequencies. We’re hEAR for You focuses on education. Once people understand the science on why they need to protect their hearing, they are so much more likely to use hearing protection,” said Carmody.

We’re hEAR for You has established chapters in Atlanta, Nashville, Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins, but the group’s largest chapter is in the Classic City.

Locally, the organization’s major effort is to supply music venues, bars and other music related operations in the Athens area, such as Nuci's Space, with free ear buds and hearing protection resources. The public takes full advantage of the earbuds which have to be restocked quite frequently.

DeCelles and Carmody are in collaboration with the UGA Huge Hodges School of Music and strongly encourage students to get involved in advocating hearing protection. The organization takes part in the annual International Hearing Awareness Day on campus as well.

As the organization continues to grow, they work with musicians nationwide to promote hearing conservation. Currently, We’re hEAR for You has 25 bands that carry their earbuds on tour. Carmody operates as a liaison with these artists and makes sure the bands stay stocked. The organization even coordinates with music festivals to provide the earbuds to fellow music lovers.


 

Alumnae Katie Carmody (BSED ’08) and Caroline DeCelles (BSED ’08, MED ’10) at AthenFest 2014

 

Visit We’re hEAR for You at their website to partner with them or learn more about their cause.

This was originally published in the Red and Black

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03.25.2015

3rd Annual TEDxUGA is Friday, March 27

UGA is hosting its 3rd Annual TEDxUGA event in Tate Grand Hall on Friday, March 27 from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. What is TEDx? TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxUGA, where x = independently organized TED event. At the TEDxUGA event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized. Several UGA alumni will present at this year's TEDxUGA event:

  • Lemuel LaRoche (BSW '02, MSW '03)
  • Michelle Blue (BBA '13)
  • Julie Rushmore (PHD '13, DVM '17)
  • Chris Dixon (ABJ '89, MMC '95)
  • Lisa Taylor (JD '01)

Won't be in Athens or missed out on tickets for the event? TEDxUGA will be livestreamed begining at 2:00 p.m. on Friday. This will be a great opportunity for alumni and friends to participate and engage from across the country. You can also interact with the event on Twitter.

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03.19.2015

2015 Alumni Seminar: Food for Thought

The University of Georgia will host its second annual Return to the Arch Alumni Seminar, a three-day educational gathering for UGA alumni and friends, from May 1-3, 2015. This year's theme is "Food for Thought" and will feature lectures, tours and interactive seminars that showcase the best that UGA has to offer. Come prepared with open minds and empty stomachs as you experience a fun, food-filled weekend on campus.

Seminar highlights include:

  • A reception and dinner with Food Network star and alumnus Alton Brown (AB '04)
  • Exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of campus
  • Presentations from leading UGA faculty members
  • Address by Peter Dale (ABJ '99), owner/chef of The National in Athens, 2012 Food & Wine's "People's Best New Chef-Southeast"
  • A farm-to-table dinner under the stars on Herty Field

View the complete seminar schedule

The registration fee for this three-day seminar is $290 per person, which includes all meals, beverages, transportation, seminars and special activities. It does not include hotel accommodations.

A supplemental dining package for non-attendee spouses/guests may be purchased for $115. This includes the Friday reception and dinner with Alton Brown, the Saturday reception and Ffarm-to-table dinner on Herty Field, and a local lunch market on Sunday.

Register today!

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