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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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10.21.2014

2014-2015 Signature Lecture Series

Guest Blogger: Meg Amstutz, Ph.D. 
Associate Provost for Academic Programs

UGA is now highlighting a number of premier lectures through its new Signature Lectures designation, designed to help focus attention on the variety of prominent thinkers visiting campus.

When I first came to UGA in 1997, one thing I missed from my prior institution was the twice-yearly notice of its endowed lecture series. At the beginning of each semester, the arrival of the list of upcoming lectures would prompt my fellow graduate students and me to mark our calendars and chat with friends and colleagues about the topics that interested us most. Faculty across campus encouraged students to attend these lectures, and they often incorporated the work of the speakers into the classes they were teaching.    

In 2013-2014, more than 50 individual lectures were listed on UGA’s Master Calendar, signaling the strong level of intellectual activity taking place. At the same time, this long list signaled an opportunity to reframe these offerings conceptually, so that students and faculty might more easily mark the dates, participate and engage in classroom discussion together.

To that end, we have launched the UGA Signature Lectures, featuring speakers noted for their broad, multidisciplinary appeal and compelling bodies of work. This special designation recognizes a number of UGA’s endowed lectures, including the Gregory Lecture and the Mason Public Leadership Lecture, as well as lectures with historic significance on our campus, such as the Louise McBee Lecture, the Holmes-Hunter Lecture, and UGA’s Founders Day Lecture.

I am grateful to those who have chosen to endow lectures, because these Signature Lectures are one of the best ways for students to discover that they are truly part of a larger, international intellectual conversation.

For a full list of the 2014-2015 Signature Lecture, please click here.

The UGA Alumni Association will hold the 2015 Founders Day Lecture at the Chapel on Tuesday, January 27 at 1:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

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10.20.2014

Alumna Spotlight: Christy Hulsey (ABJ '98)

Bulldog 100 and 40 Under 40 honoree Christy Hulsey (ABJ ’98) lives a busy life as owner and creative director of Colonial House of Flowers in Statesboro, Georgia. 

Hulsey’s work, inspired by her grandmother, is self-described as “timeless elegance that is ethereal and moody.” The majority of her designs feature unusual materials, such as pinecones and berries - something that caught the attention of both Pottery Barn and White House staff. Hulsey’s shop was selected to launch Pottery Barn's 2014 summer brand, and her floral designs were displayed at the White House in 2013.

A regular on Pottery Barn’s Have and Hold wedding blog, Hulsey informs brides-to-be on the art of creating flower girl halos, cake stand centerpieces and seashore-inspired tablescapes.

Hulsey enjoys opportunitues to work with fellow UGA alumni. She began her relationship with Pottery Barn after the floral arrangements she designed for friend and fellow Grady graduate Linsay Cheney Rudd’s (ABJ ’08) wedding were noticed by the blog. Hulsey also uses her friends in various photo shoots for Pottery Barn, including one for a driftwood lantern centerpiece tutorial that features Lea Lanier (BSED ’99).

  

In 2013, Colonial House of Flowers, generously donated flowers to UGA Day in Statesboro. She also gifted each 2014 40 Under 40 honorees with a red rose after the awards ceremony.

Congratulations on your success, Christy! The UGA Alumni Association looks forward to many more years of your beautiful designs.

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10.15.2014

Pulaski County students experienced life at UGA

Guest Blogger: Michelle Wilder Rivers (MA '10)
Program Coordinator
Archway Partnership

To demonstrate the possibilities available through higher education, the Hawkinsville LIFE League worked with the UGA Archway Partnership and the Office of Institutional Diversity to bring students to campus in July. The goal of the trip was to increase the awareness of postsecondary education opportunities, and to provide direct access to college admissions information. 

LIFE League teaches life skills and encourages excellence through basketball and other programs for at-risk youth in Pulaski County.

The day started with a UGA police escort for the students similar to that given to the football team on game day. Basketball games at the Ramsey Student Center were preceded by a reception during which numerous UGA administrators welcomed students.

Throughout the day, students participated in events including tours of the Ramsey Student Center and Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall (where they met student-athletes Nasheema Oliver, Kenny Gaines, Marcus Thornton and Chris Conley). Students had lunch at the Village Commons dining hall and emjoyed an interactive session with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. LIFE Leaguers ended their day with pictures in front of Sanford Stadium before heading home.

Units across campus made the day possible including: Office of the President, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, Terry College of Business, Mary Frances Early, UGA Athletic Association, Recreational Sports, Parking Services, Food Services, UGA Police Department and Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

  

Those involved hope that providing these students with a day on the UGA campus illustrated the possibilities that exist through post-secondary education. It was a great day for the Bulldog Nation and I felt lucky to be part of such a life-changing event for so many young people.

Click here to view more photos from the students' visit to UGA. 

More information about the Archway Partnership, a unit of Public Service and Outreach at UGA, can be found at www.archwaypartnership.uga.edu.

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