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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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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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