UGA Alumni Association:



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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Alumnus and longtime supporter brings NASA to campus

Roger Hunter’s (BS ’78, Mathematics) passion for UGA is unmatched by most, and despite living thousands of miles from Athens, his veins are still filled with red and black.

In 2014, the associate director for programs at NASA Ames Research Center in California gave the fall commencement address and a TEDxUGA Talk. This past summer, he hosted UGA President Jere W. Morehead (JD ’80) and other university representatives on a tour of Ames, even surprising them with an image of Uga IX on Mars – the first “earth-being” to visit the surface of the Red Planet.

His commitment to UGA continued this fall when Roger brought two of his NASA colleagues, Roberto Carlino and Jasper Wolfe, to campus to present to and mentor students and faculty on the Friday prior to the UGA vs. South Carolina football game.

(left to right): NASA scientists Jasper Wolfe from Australia, Roberto Carlino from Italy and UGA’s own Roger Hunter from California.

Malcolm Adams, a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Math, arranged for an afternoon lecture in the Miller Learning Center that was open to all students and promoted in STEM classes on campus. The presentation focused on the history and future of the use of Cube-Sats (mini satellites used for space research) from the perspective of the NASA Ames Research Center.

Earlier that day, though, the NASA representatives participated in a seminar/workshop for a group of faculty and students who are planning to build the first UGA CubeSat to gather spectral data off the Georgia coast. The group includes faculty from geography, marine science, physics and math, and 25 to 30 undergraduate students.


Both the students and faculty in attendance were inspired by the exciting, breakthrough technology presented by the visitors, and were appreciative of the first-hand mentoring offered.

Roger Hunter continues to contribute to UGA through his time, expertise and financial support. His involvement is greatly appreciated and can be seen as a stellar example of alumni enriching the learning experience on campus through volunteerism.

If you are interested in mentoring on campus or bringing a special project to UGA students, please email and indicate your interest.

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Alumnus Spotlight: Joey Shonka (BS ’05)

Joey Shonka (BS ’05), a long distance hiker and mountaineer, is trying to become the first person to traverse the entire Andes mountain range on foot. He has completed the Triple Crown of Hiking, which refers to the three major U.S. long distance hiking trails: the Appalachian Trail (AT), the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). Joey has written the following books about his experiences hiking each of these trails.

"The Darkness in the Light" (about the AT)

"An American Nomad" (about the PCT)

"A Strong West Wind" (about the CDT)


In July 2013, Joey began his attempt to create the first unbroken chain of footsteps across the continent of South America. He started his trek at Cape Froward, the southernmost point on the mainland of South America. As part of his current journey, he has already hiked nearly 5,000 kilometers, crossed parts of the world's third-largest glacier network and summited seven of the highest peaks in the Americas. Joey checks in via a location tracker on his website to keep family, friends and fans updated. Recently, he was spotted near the Rio Vilcanota in Peru. Joey plans to culminate his hike in Columbia, political unrest permitting, around March 2016.

Learn more about Joey and follow his adventures around the world here.

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Adeline Kenerly ’16 Named New Miss Georgia 2015

Adeline Kenerly '16, a UGA digital and broadcast journalism major, was recently named the 2015 Miss Georgia after Betty Cantrell, the former 2015 Miss Georgia, was named Miss America on September 13.

In addition to being a member of the UGA Majorettes, Adeline was crowned Miss University of Georgia in 2014. She is involved with Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and has held leadership roles with both UGA Relay for Life and HEROs at UGA, a student organization that raises funds for pediatric HIV/AIDS. The Jesup native also served as a member of the Student Government Association's Freshman Forum.

Adeline is continuing a long Bulldog tradition in her family. Her father, Dr. J. Lex Kenerly III met his wife, Joy Bland Kenerly, when they were UGA students in the early 1980s. Her father was a walk-on member of the football team and her mother was a UGA Majorette who twirled during three Sugar Bowls and the 1980 National Championship. Today, Lex is a member of the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors and his company, Bone and Joint Institute of South Georgia, was on last year's Bulldog 100 list of fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni. The couple has raised a family of passionate and involved Bulldogs. They attend each home football game to not only cheer for the Bulldogs, but also their daughters, Adeline and Jameson. Jameson is a third-year Feature Twirler and in the Honors Program.

Adeline will be crowned Miss Georgia on Saturday, October 3 during halftime of the Georgia vs. Alabama football game. 

The Miss America Organization, at the local, state, and national levels, is the largest private scholarship foundation for women in the United States. This year, scholarship assistance totaling more than $45 million was available to contestant’s at all three levels. The organiztaion was established in 1921 and is a nonprofit civic corporation. The Miss UGA Scholarship Pageant is a program within UGA's Division of Student Affairs.

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