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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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Recent Entries


08.26.2014

Five questions with wedding planner Maren Clarke White (AB ‘09)

Maren Clarke White (AB ’09) may be Athens-bred, but she is taking the Golden Isles by storm, one wedding at a time. After growing up in Athens and graduating from UGA with a degree in English, Maren packed her bags for St. Simons Island to work with the Sea Island Company’s esteemed wedding planning team.

Maren has been with the Sea Island Company for over four years and currently serves as the company’s wedding manager. As the wedding manager at this exclusive 5-Star Resort, Maren has the opportunity to plan high-end wedding events for an elite group of clients. Throughout her time at Sea Island, Maren has planned over 200 weddings and events and has worked with celebrity planners and couples. Maren will always hold Athens and her alma mater close to her heart as she is the daughter of Rebecca White, Dean of UGA’s School of Law, and Dan White, Director of Production at UGA’s Institute of Continuing Legal Education, and sister to Brendan White (JD ’11), a 2011 graduate of UGA’s School of Law.

Recently, Margaret Sullivan (BSFCS ’11, MA ’12) had the opportunity to catch up with this outstanding alumna. Read below to find out more about Maren’s amazing career.

How did you get into the wedding planning business?  

My first job after college was at a boutique hotel, and my favorite part of the job was working on weddings and events. So when I saw the opening for a wedding coordinator at Sea Island, I knew that was the right move for me.

What advice do you have for others wanting to get into wedding planning?

Planning weddings, particularly at a resort like Sea Island, is in many ways a glamorous job. But what many people don’t realize about wedding planning is that you must be highly focused, able to pay close attention to detail, be very organized, able to adapt quickly to changes, as well as being able to think creatively and stylishly. And you need to be prepared for some blistered feet from long wedding days!

How did your time at UGA prepare you for your career?

As an English major at UGA, I learned the true strength of written and verbal communication. I have found this knowledge to be vital in communicating with my brides. Every bride has her own vision, and through words we find a way to translate her dreams into reality!

Have you planned many weddings for your friends or other fellow UGA alumni?

We do have a number of UGA alumni weddings, and that is always special to me! While I may not have known some of my UGA brides in college, they become fast friends during the planning process due to having UGA in common with one another! Sea Island’s wedding clientele comes from throughout the entire country, not just the southeast.

What’s your favorite wedding tradition?

When the groom first sees the bride.  It brings tears to my eyes every time.

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08.22.2014

Reflecting on Freshman Welcome 2014

We recently sat down with the man behind Freshman Welcome, Assistant Director of Student Programs Evan Tighe (BSED '08, MA '11). The following recounts his experience this past Sunday when UGA welcomed thousands of members of the Class of 2018 into Sanford Stadium for this special event.

Last Sunday, I stood on the field of Sanford Stadium and witnessed something incredible.

After 20 minutes of direction from members of the Redcoat Marching Band, thousands of incoming freshmen from the UGA Class of 2018 formed a single entity on the soft green turf; they had formed the revered “Super G.”

Thousands of students, from a multitude of backgrounds, hometowns, interests and intended majors gathered in one spot for the same purpose.

Thousands of students.

Thousands of futures.

Thousands of dreams.

One united display of UGA pride. 

After the official class photo was taken, I watched the students disperse and head in different directions. It was a perfect analogy, I realized. These students all have their own dreams. They will face their own challenges and realize their own successes. They will declare their own majors and they will decide their own path at UGA.

They will become our society’s next generation of doctors, veterinarians, botanists and scientists.

They will be our new businessmen and women, executives, lawyers and political leaders.

They will serve us as teachers, counselors, coaches and social workers.

They will inspire us as poets, dancers, artists and musicians.

They will build for us as engineers, architects, mechanics and designers.

And then, once UGA has prepared them for their rest of their lives, they will reunite once again on the field of Sanford Stadium to throw their caps in the air during Commencement. In a final display of solidarity, they will watch fireworks illuminate the stands of Sanford Stadium, where they cheered on the Bulldogs and sang “Glory, Glory” countless times. They will then go on to do great things in the world.

I am honored to advise a group of 35 students, the Student Alumni Council, who feel the same way. Even though they are not yet alumni, they have already made a monetary gift to UGA through the Georgia Fund.

Each freshman is just a tiny part of that “G.” It is only by coming together as a class that they can form the whole symbol. Each individual may only be able to give a little to the university. But together, small gifts build an incredible foundation which will vault the University of Georgia to even greater accomplishments.

UGA may just be one university, but it is our university.

Let’s support our students as fervently as we support our student-athletes on game day.

Let’s not allow our Georgia pride to cease at the gates of Sanford, Stegeman, or Foley.

Let’s show the world what the Red and Black is truly capable of. Make your gift today.

Go Dawgs!

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08.18.2014

Class of 2018 Freshman Welcome

The Class of 2018 was welcomed into the Bulldog family with style yesterday afternoon during the fourth annual Freshman Welcome.

Freshman Welcome was a day of firsts for many of the students in attendance. First time at Sanford Stadium. First time Between the Hedges. First time hearing from President Jere W. Morehead (JD '80) and Football Coach Mark Richt. First time learning UGA game day traditions like Calling the Dawgs, Krypton and the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation. Click here to view a video of yesterday's festivities - or check out students' photos on Twitter and Instagram using #uga18

Already boasting the highest average GPA and SAT scores of any incoming class at UGA, the UGA Alumni Association knows the Class of 2018 will leave its mark on UGA.

 

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