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06.17.2014

Marshall Scholar meets Prince Charles

Over the past two years as a Marshall Scholar studying at Oxford University, I have had some incredible opportunities, from singing evensong in a 17th century chapel to studying rare manuscripts in the storied Bodleian Library. But celebrating the Marshall Scholarship’s 60th Anniversary with the Prince of Wales was truly once-in-a-lifetime.

Prince Charles’s presence at the reception was owing to the Marshall Scholarship’s 60th Anniversary celebrations. Along with fellow Marshall Scholars, I met the Prince of Wales at a reception in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. Before he arrived, we worried over how to address him (first “Your Royal Highness” and afterward “Sir”, I learned) and whether to bow (I opted for a plain old handshake). I had spent the better part of an afternoon picking out a tie. And then there was the issue of what to talk about with the heir to the British throne!

It turns out our worries were misplaced. Prince Charles was personable and greeted us all warmly. When my turn came, he asked after my studies in English at Oxford and reminisced about his own time at a different, but still venerable English university—he attended what Oxonians know as the “Other Place”, Cambridge. Our conversation was brief, and it was only after he moved on that I realized I had just discussed my research with royalty—an interaction I would never have dreamed of when I entered UGA as a freshman in fall 2008.

Since the first class of Scholars in 1954, the Marshall Scholarship has funded American students to study a wide range of subjects at Britain’s most prestigious academic institutions—Wolfson College, Oxford in my case. While in Oxford, the “city of dreaming spires,” I have delved into my interest in the British Empire and its literature. I have completed a master’s degree, writing a thesis that focused on Joseph Conrad and late-nineteenth century print culture. This year, conducting research through the Oxford Centre for Life-writing, I have used archives at the British Library to explore the perhaps surprising relationships between British and Indian intellectuals in the nineteenth century. Those interactions led to interesting exchanges of ideas and texts, but they also speak poignantly to a human dimension of complex colonial relations.

The Marshall is more than an academic award, though, and the scholarship aims to strengthen cultural and diplomatic ties between Britain and the United States. In the 1950s, it was the legacy of the Second World War that prompted the scholarship’s namesake, General George Marshall, to write to the first Marshall Scholars, “a close accord between our two countries is essential to the good of mankind in this turbulent world of today.” It is this dimension, I think, which makes the scholarship special - the Marshall Scholarship immerses scholars in British culture by, for example, organizing annual trips to Britain’s devolved governments: Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

This August, I will leave Oxford to enroll at Stanford Law School, but I’ve learned a great deal in my two years here: how to “take the mickey” and cycle on the left-hand side of the road—even how to address royalty. Meeting Prince Charles was an exciting opportunity, of course, but only one example of an incredibly rewarding two years. With the Marshall’s support, I’ve broadened my cultural horizons, pursued my intellectual ambitions, grown as a person, and made lasting friendships. I may be moving back stateside soon, but thanks to the Marshall I will always have an abiding connection to Britain. 

Matthew Sellers (AB '12)
2012 Marshall Scholars

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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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