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03.20.2014

Wisdom from Athens

This past February, the Athens Area Chapter of the UGA Alumni Association won Chapter of the Year during the Alumni Leadership Assembly. I had the opportunity to interview some of the chapter leaders following their impressive win. Here is what they had to say:

What did your chapter do to win this award?

"It certainly wasn't easy, but we had a core group full of ideas and energy that stuck together! We worked to gain interest and exposure by hosting different types of events and meetings to attract a diverse group. We couldn't have done it without the leadership of the team at the Alumni Association." -Theresa Silcox (BBA '08), Athens Chapter Communications and Events Coordinator

Do you think you have an advantage by being located in Athens?

"In many ways, being in Athens is actually a disadvantage. Typical programming such as game watching parties are not possible here. Also, everyone is local and feels an immediate tie to UGA; they don't feel the need to connect via the Alumni Association. We have had to determine how we fit into the community." -Kim Metcalf (BSEH '93, MS '96), Athens Chapter Vice President

What was the most unique event your chapter hosted this year?

"Our holiday event was awesome! Lee Epting (BBA '67) was gracious enough to host our event a The Hill and it was a perfect evening. There were so many connections made and a great time was had by all." -Caroll Williams (BBA '72), Athens Chapter President

What was the most important thing you have learned about engaging alumni with the chapter?

"You have to constantly reevaluate your approach and come up with new ideas to reach different groups of alumni. This year, we branched out into the Athens community by becoming more involved with other young alumni groups, which has led to more contacts. You have to always be looking for new ways to reach individuals and grow your chapter network." -Mike McConnell (AB '07), Athens Chapter Young Alumni Representative 

What tips would you give other chapter leaders?

"The strength of UGA is dependent on the support and involvement of its alumni. The work of the chapter leaders is so important to set the stage for creating enthusiasm and involvement in their area." -Carol Williams (BBA '72), Athens Chapter President

"My biggest tip is perserverance. It took our chapter a long time to gain traction and become successful. It took getting a solid and energetic core team of leaders and some fresh ideas flowing from new members to get us rolling. Also, rely on the UGA Alumni Association's Regional Program staff. They are amazing and are always available to guide." -Kim Metcalf (BSEH '93, MS '96), Athens Chapter Vice President

"Come to the Alumni Leadership Assembly! This award is great for the Athens Chapter, but it's a bigger win for the university if more and more chapters get involved. With the growing number of attendees at ALA, the positivie momentum is exciting to watch." -Mike McConnell (AB '07), Athens Chapter Young Alumni Representative

"Don't give up. It takes a while to put the right team together to be successful. Build your core group and work to add your committee members over time." -Theresa Silcox (BBA '08), Athens Chapter Communications and Events Coordinator

On behalf of the UGA Alumni Association, congratulations on a job well done, Athens Area Chapter!

Danielle Alexander (MSW '11)
Assistant Director of Regional Programs

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02.10.2016

2016 TEDxUGA

Join the University of Georgia for the fourth annual TEDxUGA on Friday, March 18.

TEDxUGA 2016: Illuminate will bring UGA’s brightest minds into the spotlight to share their stories, experiences, and ideas worth spreading. Today’s ideas will illuminate tomorrow’s possibilities. The faculty, staff, student and alumni presenters of TEDxUGA 2016 know that all it takes is a single spark. Several alumni will present at this year’s event:

  • Phillip (AB ’06, ABJ ’06) and Eileen Blume – international award-winning, socially conscious photographers and owners of Blume Photography Studios, a 2016 Bulldog 100 business. The pair will be TEDxUGA’s first duo presenters.
  • Marc Gorlin (ABJ ’95) – owner of Kabbage, Inc. and the 2015 No. 1 Bulldog 100 business, Roadie.
  • Melaney Cook-Smith (BBA ’89) – founder of Books for Keeps, a grassroots effort to provide books to those children that might otherwise have none and a 2016 Bulldog 100 business.
  • Reese Hoffa (BSED ’02) – represents the United States as an Olympic shot putter in London, Athens, and Beijing. He won the bronze medal in 2012 and is currently training for the 2016 Olympics.

Registration opens tomorrow, February 11, at 8:00 a.m. to all UGA alumni, students, faculty and staff. 

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02.09.2016

Building a welcoming and supportive campus community

Launched during the 2015 Homecoming Weekend in October, UGA Black Alumni is the official affinity group for black graduates of the University of Georgia. Similar to the Women of UGA program, UGA Black Alumni exists underneath the umbrella of the UGA Alumni Association and seeks to connect black alumni and students.

Each year, UGA enrolls an increasingly diverse student population and it is important to connect alumni and students with shared experiences to continue building a welcoming and supportive campus community. 

“As a student and an alumna, one thing I felt was missing from my UGA experience was the presence and mentorship of UGA alumni who looked like me. In 2008, I saw the first Black Alumni Homecoming Tailgate on Myers Quad and was full of emotion,” said Ambre Reed (BSFCS ’09), a member of the UGA Black Alumni Leadership Council. “The creation of UGA Black Alumni and its Black Alumni Leadership Council is so important to our community. Becoming involved was a no-brainer for me.” 

The mission of UGA Black Alumni is five-fold: recruit black students, faculty and staff; support black students to completion of a degree program; engage current students and alumni by mentoring and professional development; ‘friendraising’ and fundraising for UGA needs; and serve as UGA ambassadors in the community and to fellow Bulldogs 

Raymond Phillips (BS ’12), another member of the UGA Black Alumni Leadership Council says that groups like UGA Black Alumni and Women of UGA send an important message to the university community, as well as prospective students.

“The time and resources the university is investing into UGA Black Alumni demonstrates its commitment to diversity and inclusion,” he said. “This investment shows there is a place for everyone at UGA, regardless of one’s race, gender or age.”

Reed echoed this message.

“The creation of UGA Black Alumni sends the message that the university not only sees diversity as an asset while on campus, but after graduation, too,” she said.

Serving as an ambassador for UGA, a key part of the group’s mission, involves activities like participating in Give That Dawg a Bone, a card-writing campaign in partnership with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, which invites alumni to write notes to accepted students, encouraging them to call UGA home for the next four years.

Members of UGA Black Alumni also are invited to attend information sessions and recruitment fairs throughout the year, where they can educate talented black high school students about UGA, its traditions and culture.

Reed admits that as a high school student, she never considered attending UGA. It was not until a black recruiter visited her high school in metro Atlanta and spoke about UGA with passion and pride that she realized it could be a place that she, a black student, could feel accepted and comfortable.

The services that are now a core part of UGA Black Alumni are what helped recruit Ambre and are what will help recruit more talented and diverse students in the future.

Another key component of UGA Black Alumni is raising funds for the Black Alumni Scholarship, which supports up to four students a year. Charles Orgbon III, a member of the Class of 2017 and recipient of the Black Alumni Scholarship, is CEO of Greening Forward, one of America’s largest youth-driven environmental organizations. It is talented students like Orgbon, who are supported by the important work of UGA Black Alumni, that are helping to further cement UGA’s reputation as a top-tier public institution.

The UGA Alumni Association is proud to support UGA Black Alumni as it continues to engage the university’s more than 288,000 alumni around the world.

To learn more about UGA Black Alumni, visit www.alumni.uga.edu/blackalumni.

Interested in joining Ambre and Raymond on the Black Alumni Leadership Council? Click here.

To support students like Charles Orgbon III and other recipients of the Black Alumni Scholarship, click here

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02.03.2016

Alumnus Spotlight: Peter Conlon (BBA '75)

One of the biggest attractions to the Atlanta music scene is its annual music festival, Music Midtown. From mainstream pop artists to rising rock bands, Music Midtown offers the crowds that gather performances from a wide variety of artists. For Peter Conlon (BBA '75), one of two founders of the festival and president of Peter Conlon Presents, this was the overall goal: to create an event fit for attendees of all music tastes and genres.

Conlon graduated from Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in international business in 1975. During his four years as an undergraduate student, he was a member of University Union where he first began booking rock concerts that featured artists such as Jethro Tull and the Allman Brothers. He attended law school for a short period of time after graduation, but then took a risk and dropped out to work as an intern for the Carter presidential campaign, a risk that ended up paying off through a victory.

Peter continued to work for Jimmy Carter throughout his presidential term. His position required that he help set up benefit concerts for the president. In 1982, Conlon partnered with Alex Cooley to begin his career in the music industry.

Music Midtown at Piedmont Park

After working many years booking concerts, the pair founded Music Midtown in 1994, inspired by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. After having to pull the plug on the event in 2005 due to low sales, the festival was reintroduced in 2011 and now takes up several stages across Piedmont Park, hosts more than 30 different artists, and attracts attendees from all over the nation. Moreover, since the festival’s relaunch, it has generated $50 million for the local economy each year.

Congratulations to Peter and best wishes for the continued success of Music Midtown! 

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