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01.30.2014

UGA celebrates 229th anniversary as first state-chartered institution of higher education

When the Georgia General Assembly signed the University of Georgia Charter on January 27, 1785, it not only established the first state-chartered institution of higher learning, but also created a model of public higher education that the rest of the nation would soon follow.

Each year, in honor of this historic act, the UGA Alumni Association hosts a series of events and giveaways for students, and a lecture that is open to the public.

This year's Founders Week festivities proved to be especially challenging as winter weather hit Athens at noon on Tuesday and closed the university until midday today. My fearless team here at the UGA Alumni Association marched onward, executing another successful series of events.

On Monday, students were invited to a 229th birthday party for UGA hosted by the Student Alumni Association. On Tuesday, the 12th annual Founders Day Lecture was held in the UGA Chapel - concluding just in time for the university to close at 3:30 p.m. This year's lecture was presented by Dr. Loch K. Johnson, Regents and Meigs Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs. His lecture was titled " Accountability in the Shadowy World of Intelligence." It was an honor and a pleasure to have Dr. Johnson serve as the Founder’s Day lecturer this year.

Just a few minutes prior to the lecture, the inaugural President's Medals were presented. The medal recognizes extraordinary contributions by former employees who have supported deserving students, advanced research and inspired community leaders to enhance Georgians' quality of life. The recipients of the 2014 President’s Medals were Dr. Louise McBee and the late Dr. Thomas Dyer (MA '72, PHD '75). McBee is a former state representative who served the university for 25 years as dean of women, dean of students and vice president for academic affairs. Dyer filled a number of important roles on campus throughout his time with UGA, including vice president for instruction and provost.

When classes resumed this morning, the Student Alumni Association didn't miss a beat and hosted the annual 100 Days Until Graduation event in the Tate Center Grand Hall until 3:00 p.m. This one-stop shop for commencement-related information and materials will be open again tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. I encourage graduating seniors to stop by - did I mention there are giveaways?

As I look back on the impressive history of UGA, I can't help but get excited for all that is still to come. Here's to another 229 years, UGA - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Click here to learn more about Founders Day.                                                

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07.18.2014

A Bulldog reunion 30 years in the making

With so many University of Georgia alumni and even former professors scattered around the world, you never know where two former Dawgs might run into each other, even after decades.

John Shearer (AB ’83) recently hooked up with his old Myers Hall faculty resident friend, Dr. Joe Snow, while traveling through Madrid, Spain, in a reunion that in some respects had been more than 30 years in the making. 


Dr. Joe Snow (left) and John Shearer in Madrid

The story of their friendship began when Shearer moved into Myers in January 1982 after two years of living in the now-razed McWhorter Hall as a walk-on football player and then four quarters in University Gardens Apartments off Baxter Street. In Myers, which was two-thirds male at the time, Shearer said he finally found the closely knit, small-college-like community of male and female students for which he had been longing.

Among the many people he befriended was Snow, a Spanish and Portuguese language instructor, who had an arrangement with university housing to live there at a greatly reduced rent. Snow's only job was to circulate among the students and help break down the barriers between students and faculty. 

Through Snow, Shearer found out about a 1983 spring break trip being planned to Russia, then called the Soviet Union, by then-University of Georgia Russian language professor Dr. Harold Schefski. Shearer ended up going on the trip with his mother, Dr. Snow, Dr. Snow’s sister and several other students. Upon their return to the United States in those pre-Internet days, they learned that Georgia had qualified for the Final Four in men’s and women’s basketball for the first time.

Shearer, who majored in geography, ended up keeping a journal about his trip, and that inspired him to pursue a journalism and writing career that continues 30 years later on a freelance basis from his home in Knoxville, Tenn.  In 2013, Shearer wrote a column on the 30th anniversary of his trip and through Dr. Schefski, who now teaches at California State University, Long Beach, he reconnected with Snow via email.

Snow, who became interested in Spanish while a high school student in New Jersey, had left UGA in the early 1990s to begin teaching at Michigan State University. Today, he spends most of his time in retirement in Madrid in a residence he was able to pay for in part due to his reduced rent while at Myers Hall.


Laura Shearer (ABJ '69) and Dr. Joe Snow

After realizing he would be traveling to Madrid in June with his wife, Laura Anderson Shearer (ABJ ’69), on the way to visit her son in Portugal, Shearer made plans to reconnect with Snow. And since it would be Shearer’s first overseas trip since the Russian excursion, he could say he had been with Snow on every international trip he had taken.

“It was neat reconnecting with him,” said Shearer, who had not seen Snow since the first year or two after he graduated. “He took us to an out-of-the way restaurant with which he was familiar, and it ended up being one of the best meals on our nearly two-week trip. But the conversation was even better. His engaging and warm manner that had endeared him to students became familiar again. 

“And most of all, it was neat comparing our memories of both the Russia trip and our experiences in Myers Hall, because my time in Myers was one of the happiest of my life.”

Written by freelance journalist John Shearer (AB ’83)

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07.17.2014

UGA alumnus named chairman of the Georgia Bankers Association

University of Georgia alumni continue to accomplish great fetes as they work their way into top positions across Georgia, the United States and the world. A few weeks ago another UGA alumnus did just that.

Remer Brinson III (BBA '82) was recently named the 125th chairman of the Georgia Bankers Association (GBA). As the president and CEO of Augusta-based First Bank of Georgia, Brinson was well prepared to take on this new position.

During his time at UGA, Brinson was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order and studied finance. He graduated in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Joe Brennen, president of the GBA, had this to say about Brinson's new position, "Our banks and our industry will be well-served by his experience and insightfulness about the critical issues facing our members, their customers and Georgia's communities."

Congratulations on this incredible achievement, Remer!

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07.16.2014

Five Questions with Richmond Chapter Vice President Taylor Jacobson (BS '09)

The UGA Alumni Association regional programs team had the chance to catch up with Richmond Chapter Vice President Taylor Jacobson (BS '09). Take a minute to learn a little more about Jacobson and her involvement with the Richmond Chapter.

RP: Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, what brought you to Richmond, what do you do here?

TJ: I'm originally from Albany, Georgia. After graduating from UGA, I moved to Virginia Beach and from there pursued my Masters of Surgical Assisting at Eastern Virginia Medical School. I accepted a job at St. Mary's Hospital in Richmond in June of 2013!

RP: When, and from what program, did you graduate at UGA?

TJ: I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Biology from UGA in 2009. I graduated with the minor miracle of never changing my major and finishing in four years!

RP: What are your favorite things about Athens and the University of Georgia?

TJ: I worked for the Visitors Center at school and used to give tours - that was one of the best experiences of my four years at UGA. Because of that job, I'm absolutely obsessed with my alma mater!

A few things I love(d) about Athens/UGA: Tailgating in the fall, Pauley's restaurant downtown, naps in front of the physics building, the meal plan and the forever friendships!

RP: What made you take an active role in the Richmond Chapter of the UGA Alumni Association?

TJ: I wanted to get involved in this chapter because it has led to friendships in a new place and it reminds me that I'm not alone in my fanaticism! When I moved to Richmond, I knew one person and through this chapter I have explored and experienced this city with people that are crazy, but bonded to me by our common interest in UGA.

RP: If you could describe UGA in only one word, what would it be and why?

TJ: Tradition. There is so much tradition within the university itself, but I believe that once you graduate you start to form your own traditions centered around UGA; i.e. Walk/Don't walk under the Arch, ring the Chapel Bell, call the Dawgs, network with alumni, watch games with other alumni, bleed red and black!

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