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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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04.22.2014

Longtime UGA supporter hangs his “Gone Fishing” sign

William “Dink” H. NeSmith, Jr. (ABJ ’70) is one of the most passionate Bulldogs you will meet. A 1970 graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, NeSmith is co-owner and publisher of Athens-based Community Newspaper, Inc., which publishes dozens of newspapers in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. As if his professional responsibilities didn’t keep him busy enough, NeSmith, a self-admitted “joiner,” has dedicated as much (if not more) of his free time to higher education.The list of his past university volunteer roles is unparalleled:

  -  chairman of Grady's advisory board and president of its alumni board;

  -  chairman of the board of directors of the Fanning Leadership Institute;

  -  chairman of the Richard B. Russell Foundation;

  -  member of the Athletic Association Board of Directors; and

  -  trustee of the UGA Foundation

In addition, NeSmith is a past president of the UGA Alumni Association and served from 2003 to 2005. He could always be counted on to support his alma mater, and his leadership was surely a factor in UGA’s rise to a top 20 public institution of higher education.

In 2008, Gov. Sonny Perdue asked NeSmith to join the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents. Five years later, he was serving as chairman of the 18-person governing board for USG. Only the third Athenian to fill this position, NeSmith recently concluded his term as chairman.

Reflecting on a lifetime of professional and philanthropic endeavors, NeSmith recently penned a short piece about his readiness to enjoy his greatest accomplishment: his family. The alumnus is surrounded by an ever-growing swath of Bulldog Faithful: his wife, Pam (BSHE ’71); three children, Alan (BSA ’04), Emily (AB ’99) and Eric (ABJ ’02); and seven grandsons. Upon the birth of each grandchild, NeSmith proudly gave them each a lifetime membership with the UGA Alumni Association. Although the Alumni Association is no longer dues-based, the NeSmith family boasts an impressive 15 lifetime members!

Read more about NeSmith’s transition to “grandpa time” here. This is one alumnus who has certainly earned the right to hang his “Gone Fishing” sign on the door. Thank you for your continued support, Dink, and your fine leadership in many areas across campus and the state.

Dink NeSmith is a regular contributor to the Athens Banner-Herald; read more of his pieces here.

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04.21.2014

McCall Wilder Designs offers timeless clothing options for children

McCall Wilder (ABJ '92) was having trouble locating the perfect outfit for her first baby's Christening. After an usuccessful search, the alumna decided to take matters into her own hands and create her own elegant and timeless clothing pieces for children. And so, in 2001, McCall Wilder Designs was established.

Wilder grew up in Athens with dreams of designing and pursuing journalism. She attended Hollins College in Virginia before transferring to UGA to study broadcast news in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. After graduating, Wilder interned and worked for CNN in Atlanta, taking part in the launch of CNN.com, the Internet’s first news site. She remained at CNN as a writer and producer until 1999.

Wilder’s “Baby McCall line” of heirloom gowns and special occasion outfits was only available by appointment until May 2008, when the first McCall Wilder Couture for Children Boutique & Atelier opened in the heart of Atlanta. The Baby McCall and McCall Wilder Designs lines now include more than 50 different styles, from crib bedding to dresses for teens and women.

Congratulations on your successful business venture, McCall. Your clothes and other products are simply beautiful.

Stay up-to-date on news and design ideas through the McCall Wilder Designs Facebook page.

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04.18.2014

UGA alum leads Nasa team on the precipice of discovery

Above is an illustration of UGA-1785, the first star system to be named after a university.

Roger Hunter (BS ’78) is hoping to answer one of humanity’s greatest questions: can life exist on other planets? Hunter and the NASA Kepler team aim to expand the census of planets and alter our understanding of our place in the Milky Way galaxy. In the five years the Kepler telescope has been in orbit, the team has confirmed 961 additional planets in our solar system.

Hunter has kept a strong relationship with the university over the years. While many Bulldogs show their Georgia pride with car tags and coffee mugs, Hunter honored his alma mater by naming a planetary system UGA-1785.

This year, the Kepler team was awarded with the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy by the National Space Club. The award is given annually to those who have made the most impact on space activities.

Congratulations on the award, Roger! We cannot wait to see what you and your team will find!

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