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Alumna Amanda Anderson (BSFCS '97) named Wellhouse director at Blackberry Farm

Congratulations to Amanda Anderson (BSFCS ’97) on being named wellness director at Blackberry Farm's Wellhouse.

Wellhouse will promote and execute Blackberry Farm's wellness philosophy that emphasizes a balanced, sustainable lifestyle with room to embrace and enjoy the pleasures of fine living, the exhilaration of physical activity and the necessity for restoration of both the mind and body.

Anderson's experiences at Red Door Spas, The Ritz-Carlton in Miami, and Golden Door at the Boulders Resort make Blackberry Farm a perfect fit for her. She will oversee all Wellhouse operations including programming, products, retail, fitness programs, events and conceptual development.

Wellhouse is expected to open in June. Congratulations Amands - we are excited to see you succeed in Tennessee! 

To learn more about Anderson and Wellhouse, please click here.

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Drumroll, please ... announcing the 2016 Bulldog 100!

The UGA Alumni Association is pleased to reveal the 2016 Bulldog 100! Bulldog 100 celebrates the 100 fastest-growing Bulldog businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni. This year, the university is excited to not only unveil a new group of honorees, but a new logo for the Bulldog 100 program - check it out!

The 2016 Bulldog 100 includes businesses of all sizes and from industries such as veterinary medicine, IT consulting and pest control. Several areas of the country are represented, including companies from as far north as New York and as far west as California. Of the 100 businesses, 80 are located within the state of Georgia, and only two business have made the list all seven years: Mom Corps and Vino Venue/Atlanta Wine School.

The ranked Bulldog 100 list will be revealed at the awards celebration on Saturday, January 30 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Registration for this event will open soon.

The awards ceremony will feature a keynote address by Jeff Dunn, CEO and president of C-Fresh, a division of Campbell Soup Company that includes Bolthouse Farms, Campbell’s retail fresh soup unit, and Garden Fresh Gourmet. Dunn earned a bachelor’s degree in 1980 from UGA’s Terry College of Business.

Please view the complete list and congratulate the honorees on social media using #Bulldog100

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UGA to launch inclusive, post-secondary education program in 2017

Students with intellectual or developmental disabilities will soon be able to enjoy the full UGA experience with the launch of a new inclusive post-secondary education program, Destination Dawgs, beginning in spring 2017.

The program, housed within the College of Family and Consumer Sciences' Institute on Human Development and Disability, aims to assist those students' transition into adulthood by fully immersing them in UGA life.

Destination Dawgs, still in development, aspires to have students reside in on-campus housing, audit classes and be supported by peer mentors who will assist the students in courses and on campus to improve their independent living skills.

"The goal is for Destination Dawgs participants to come out of the program with a platform for getting a good job and for leading a good adult life," said Carol Britton Laws, an assistant clinical professor and coordinator of UGA's Disability Studies Certificate program within the institute. "The unemployment rate for people with disabilities nationally is about 75 percent, and we're trying to help students build skills and gain experiences that are marketable."

Laws envisions a five-semester model with a small cohort of five students enrolling in the program in spring 2017.

Because students won't enter the program through the regular admissions process, they will receive a certificate of completion rather than a degree.

The emphasis on developing and expanding post-secondary education opportunities in the state can be traced back to the founding of the Georgia Inclusive Postsecondary Education Consortium in 2011, which seeks to create opportunities for students who historically have not had access to postsecondary educational opportunities. The consortium is partly funded by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities.

"What's changing is that the students we have here now are what we call the ADA generation," she said. "They're the first generation of Americans born after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, and due to that and other legislation, they grew up with peers with intellectual differences in their classrooms to a greater extent than any of us did."

Acknowledging disability is really about understanding diversity, Laws said.

"Disability is just one characteristic that is possible in human beings, but it is often a characteristic that is used to discriminate against a person or to limit their opportunities," Laws said. "FACS has created a plan to increase the diversity of students within the college, and this program will fit with that."

Continue reading this story.

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Alumna recognized by L’Oreal Paris’ Women of Worth Program

In May of 2009, Books for Keeps founder Melaney Smith (BBA ’89) met an Alps Road Elementary second-grader who was disappointed that school was breaking for summer. Why? When school ended, so did her access to books.

Smith wanted to help, and learned that many of the student’s classmates were in a similar situation. Without books, the reading skills some of these second graders had developed during the school year could decline over the summer, a circumstance recognized by educators as “summer slide”.

“I thought, ‘why doesn’t somebody do something about this?’  And then I thought, ‘I am somebody,’” said Smith.

Research led her to Dr. Jennifer Graff, a professor at the University of Georgia College of Education who co-authored a study on the topic.

Adopting the methods used in the study, Smith started Books for Keeps’ primary program: Stop Summer Slide! This flagship initiative provides 12 books to every child in the elementary schools served by Books for Keeps. In 2015, Stop Summer Slide! was offered to students in ten elementary schools, eight in Athens elementary schools and one each in Atlanta and Warrenton.  

At the end of each school year, Books for Keeps hosts mock book fairs where the children come to their respective schools’ media center and select the books they would most like to own.

“If we expect them to read at home during the summer with no encouragement from adults, they have to have something they like to read,” Smith said.

Volunteers help children find the books they want, and ask the students questions to align book-collection needs for the following year. All schools in the program have been designated as Title 1 schools, which means 90 to 100 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch, Smith said.


This month, her efforts were rewarded with at $10,000 grant from the L’Oreal Paris’ Women of Worth program. Now Smith is in the running for an additional $25,000 to be determined by public vote and awarded at a ceremony in New York on December 1.

Click here to vote once per day for Smith to help Books for Keeps win $25,000.

Books for Keeps recently completed a plan to expand to all elementary Clarke County schools in Athens and at least five more in Atlanta.

“We don’t add a school until we have community support that we know will last,” she said. “Our expansion funds are seed money, but there has to be community support.”

She hopes exposure from the L’Oreal honor will help spread the word about Books for Keeps, particularly in Atlanta. And she hopes to meet and network with her fellow Women of Worth winners next month in New York.

If you would like to help, consider joining the Books for Keeps initiative by volunteering, donating books, offering a monetary gift, hosting a book drive, or spreading the word through social media and your daily personal interaction with others. Your contributions could make a difference in the life of a child. 

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