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06.09.2014

A whirlwind trip to the Peabody Awards in NYC

When I first heard about the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication Centennial T-shirt contest, I saw it more as an opportunity to practice my design skills than a chance to win a prize. Honestly, I was a little skeptical that I would receive such an honor, but I thought – why not?

And then it happened. I discovered that not only would my design be worn by hundreds of newly admitted Grady students in the Fall, but I would also be heading to the city of my dreams and attending the 73rd Annual Peabody Awards.

My trip to New York City was nothing short of amazing. I had the opportunity to navigate Manhattan - from Bryant Park to Times Square, and even the Brooklyn Bridge. Contrary to popular belief, I encountered many friendly natives in the city that made the experience even more enjoyable.

Aside from sightseeing, my favorite moments were those spent in the presence of fellow Bulldogs. There’s something about the Bulldog Nation that just makes you feel at home wherever you are. One moment that comes to mind was when my NYC roommate, Meredith Dean '15, and I met up with Jeff Jowdy (ABJ '83), and stood in the crowd for The Today Show. Not to sound corny, but it’s kind of an "exhale moment" when you run into someone from UGA. After standing in Rockefeller Plaza for an hour, we managed to get some airtime, which was pretty cool.

Afterward, Meredith and I passed by the Waldorf-Astoria, the location of the Peabody Awards, and felt a sudden surge of excitement for the events taking place the following day. We were even more excited when we attended the President's Reception for the Peabody Awards later that night. The reception was held at The Metropolitan Club, a venue that carried a certain level of elegance that oddly made me feel a bit unworthy. However that feeling quickly vanished as I began to mingle with UGA alumni. Our conversations ranged from my updating them on the state of campus (‘Any new renovations? Is it true there’s a new Bolton?') to my learning how their careers have progressed through the years.

Another detail from that night that blew my mind was how eager and open UGA alumni were when sharing stories about their college experiences. Essentially, their stories were forms of wisdom that I could use down the line. Those particular moments were greatly appreciated and provided more motivation than the surrounding alumni could imagine.

So after all the extra activities and pre-events, it was finally the time for the main event: the Peabody Awards!

The ceremony was amazing. Being in a room full of people passionate about their stories was inspiring. I'd often find myself developing goosebumps from their love of storytelling. Looking around the ballroom at the Waldorf-Astoria, I couldn’t help but be star struck by celebrities such as Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad and the cast of Orange Is The New Black. I was at a distance, but from what I could tell, these people carried a certain sense of humility and honor from receiving the Peabody Award.

Three hours, two waters, and one delicious lunch later, I found myself at the final event of my trip: the Peabody Celebration Alumni Mixer. The mixer was located on the rooftop of the Hilton Garden Inn. The view was breathtaking! I’d often find myself tearing up because I was overwhelmed by how amazing everything was. At one point, I had the incredible opportunity to meet Henry W. Grady III, which was possibly the icing on the cake for the night.

Similar to the other Bulldogs I met during my Peabody experience, Mr. Grady was welcoming and we talked a great deal about the upcoming Grady Centennial festivities. Overall, I’d say the night was the perfect ending to a great weekend.

Since my return, I often find myself thinking about this trip. It has easily been a trip that will affect my life in ways I will not expect. I am forever grateful for the experience, and I thank the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications for the wonderful opportunity. The contest opened my eyes and allowed me to take note of how much this university provides and cares for its students. And for that, I am thankful.

Go Dawgs,
Noemie Tshinanga '14
Member, Student Alumni Council

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07.23.2014

Make Miracles Happen with Gwinnett Braves

As an Emmy-winning reporter for CBS46, Adam Murphy (ABJ ’97) spends a large amount of time in the spotlight. He works as a Consumer Investigative reporter, cracking down on scam artists and tracking dollars involved in large-impact projects. Murphy uses his talents for the people of Georgia, and recently, he has been focusing his efforts off-screen to help people nation-wide.

In 2013, Murphy decided to use some of his influence to create a charity close to his heart, ‘Miracle for Mom’. The organization is dedicated to his own mother, Janice Murphy, who was diagnosed in 2010 with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). PSP is a progressive neurological disorder that causes complications with controlling balance, complex eye movements and upper-level thinking. Discovered in 1964, this relatively new disease has had little attention placed upon it by the scientific community due to its rarity. With no known cause, cure, or treatment procedure, the outlook for those suffering with PSP has looked bleak for the 1 in 100,000 Americans that will develop this neurological disorder. ‘Miracle for Mom’ is doing everything in its power to change that. 

‘Miracle for Mom’ works to find a cure for PSP, as well as to help those currently living with the disease.  In its four years, the charity has raised over $10,000 towards these goals and is continuing to raise money through incredible collaborations with Atlanta area restaurants, businesses and even sports teams. This year alone, ‘Miracle for Mom’ joined forces with the Atlanta Hawks and raised over $4,000 in one night. Tonight, the charity is partnering with the Gwinnett Braves to hopefully raise even more in the fight against PSP. 

"Miracle for Mom’ Night with the Gwinnett Braves is being held tonight, July 23, 2014, starting at 6:30 p.m. This fundraising event offers a large number of different ways to make a difference in the lives of those with PSP. Simply by attending the game you will be donating a percentage of your ticket sale to Murphy’s charity. By purchasing a ‘First Pitch Ticket’ you will be given an especially great seat in the stadium and the opportunity to throw the first pitch at the game. For a great family experience, purchase a ‘Bat Kid Ticket’ and your child will be able to meet the players before the game. Additionally, for $15 you can enjoy a delicious pregame tailgate catered by Williamson Bros. BBQ.

This event is sure to be a wonderful summer night at the ball park that everyone can enjoy. More importantly, it is an opportunity to give to an organization unlike any other.

Support ‘Miracle for Mom’ and get your tickets online at http://www.miracleformom.org/

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07.22.2014

2014 is Going to the Dawgs

The 2014 fiscal year was an incredible year for the University of Georgia for a variety of reasons. For students, each semester marks one step closer to graduation. For faculty, 2014 has brought national awards, advances in research and the promise of more excitement to come.

For instance, three of the Brazilian stadiums that were used during the World Cup were outfitted with TifGrand, a shade-tolerant, wear-tolerant bermudagrass hypbrid developed by UGA and the U.S. Departement of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. Despite this (and many other) amazing accomplishments that have taken place since last July, one record-breaking event has created the possibility of an even more produtive upcoming year.

The 2014 fiscal year saw the largest number of gifts and donations in the history of the university. Between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, UGA received a staggering $126.4 million from 56,897 different contributors. This amount reflects a 4 percent increase over 2013 and the second time in the university’s history that it received more than $120 million.

"This record year is a tribute to the faith our alumni and friends have in the future of our great university," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead (JD '80).

That faith has certainly not been poorly placed. These donations will help fund the projects and plans that UGA has for the coming years. From a renovated Veterinary Medical Learning Center to updating multiple residence halls across campus, these generous gifts are making it possible for UGA undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff to thrive in a well-designed and constantly improving environment.

Beyond these larger projects, donations to the university work daily for students and alumni through the UGA Alumni Association and Student Alumni Association, two organizations that connect students and alumni to each other, to the university and to the traditions and history that make UGA special.

This year has been record-breaking, but also record-setting. The bar has been raised to $126.4 million in donations. Now it’s time for the Bulldog Nation to make sure that 2015 is an even more incredible year for the University of Georgia. Make a pledge today for a better UGA tomorrow!

To learn more about this news, click here.

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07.18.2014

A Bulldog reunion 30 years in the making

With so many University of Georgia alumni and even former professors scattered around the world, you never know where two former Dawgs might run into each other, even after decades.

John Shearer (AB ’83) recently hooked up with his old Myers Hall faculty resident friend, Dr. Joe Snow, while traveling through Madrid, Spain, in a reunion that in some respects had been more than 30 years in the making. 


Dr. Joe Snow (left) and John Shearer in Madrid

The story of their friendship began when Shearer moved into Myers in January 1982 after two years of living in the now-razed McWhorter Hall as a walk-on football player and then four quarters in University Gardens Apartments off Baxter Street. In Myers, which was two-thirds male at the time, Shearer said he finally found the closely knit, small-college-like community of male and female students for which he had been longing.

Among the many people he befriended was Snow, a Spanish and Portuguese language instructor, who had an arrangement with university housing to live there at a greatly reduced rent. Snow's only job was to circulate among the students and help break down the barriers between students and faculty. 

Through Snow, Shearer found out about a 1983 spring break trip being planned to Russia, then called the Soviet Union, by then-University of Georgia Russian language professor Dr. Harold Schefski. Shearer ended up going on the trip with his mother, Dr. Snow, Dr. Snow’s sister and several other students. Upon their return to the United States in those pre-Internet days, they learned that Georgia had qualified for the Final Four in men’s and women’s basketball for the first time.

Shearer, who majored in geography, ended up keeping a journal about his trip, and that inspired him to pursue a journalism and writing career that continues 30 years later on a freelance basis from his home in Knoxville, Tenn.  In 2013, Shearer wrote a column on the 30th anniversary of his trip and through Dr. Schefski, who now teaches at California State University, Long Beach, he reconnected with Snow via email.

Snow, who became interested in Spanish while a high school student in New Jersey, had left UGA in the early 1990s to begin teaching at Michigan State University. Today, he spends most of his time in retirement in Madrid in a residence he was able to pay for in part due to his reduced rent while at Myers Hall.


Laura Shearer (ABJ '69) and Dr. Joe Snow

After realizing he would be traveling to Madrid in June with his wife, Laura Anderson Shearer (ABJ ’69), on the way to visit her son in Portugal, Shearer made plans to reconnect with Snow. And since it would be Shearer’s first overseas trip since the Russian excursion, he could say he had been with Snow on every international trip he had taken.

“It was neat reconnecting with him,” said Shearer, who had not seen Snow since the first year or two after he graduated. “He took us to an out-of-the way restaurant with which he was familiar, and it ended up being one of the best meals on our nearly two-week trip. But the conversation was even better. His engaging and warm manner that had endeared him to students became familiar again. 

“And most of all, it was neat comparing our memories of both the Russia trip and our experiences in Myers Hall, because my time in Myers was one of the happiest of my life.”

Written by freelance journalist John Shearer (AB ’83)

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