Assistant Director of Communications Jamie Lewis (AB '12, AB '12) recently interviewed alumnus Kit Cummings about his career and time at UGA. Kit is an international author, speaker and human rights and peace activist. After a lengthy career in ministry, Kit began working as a motivational speaker and was invited to speak inside a maximum security prison. This event was the catalyst for what Kit calls the "Power of Peace Program." Kit recently published Peace Behind the Wire, which raises funds for that program.
Tell me a little bit about your background. What pushed you to attend UGA and what did you study?
I have been in the Atlanta area for my entire life and never plan to relocate. I've traveled the world for work, but every time I get off the plane in Atlanta, I am happy to be home. My father played basketball at UGA in the 1950s and I was raised a Bulldog—I always planned to go to school in Athens. I graduated from Walton High School in 1982, played soccer at Georgia Southern University in 1982-1983 and transferred to UGA in 1984. I graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from the Terry College of Business.
What was the inspiration for your book and what do you hope to accomplish with it?
I have been a public speaker for 25 years, and in the last 10 years or so, I began to get more involved in corporate motivational training. I was invited into a prison environment and that changed my life forever. I began to work with individuals who had made some of the worst choices and were experiencing some of the most drastic consequences. My mind change principles worked powerfully among this population and led to the creation of my organization, the Power of Peace Project, Inc. My new book, Peace Behind the Wire, tells the fascinating story of how 12 convicts in a dangerous maximum security prison, in the midst of a gang war, unknowingly started a peace movement that is now spreading to schools and prisons across the country. I intend to use this model, and the curriculum that was created from it, to spread peace throughout schools and communities around the world. I figure if it can work in the most dangerous places, which it has, then it can interrupt and redirect our at-risk youth, too.
What is next for you? Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?
I continue to go where I’m invited and that has taken me on speaking tours around the country and even overseas into prisons in South Africa, Honduras, Ukraine and Mexico. At the end of this year, I will be going to India to plant seeds for the Power of Peace Project. I have connected with both the Gandhi and Mandela Foundations abroad, as well as the King Center here. Going forward, I see my organization and its volunteers working with states and foreign governments to create peace and help heal our wounded world. My dreams are BIG and the future is bright.
How did your time at UGA lead you to where you are now and did you have any particularly inspiring courses or professors?
I had the time of my life at UGA. Athens was a place I never wanted to leave! The nightlife, the music scene, the culture of a small town combined with a large thriving university probably did more to shape me than I realize. I lived right downtown at University Towers and experienced all that college life had to offer. I have always been able to relate well to different cultures, and ethnic/socioeconomic backgrounds and I believe my time at UGA only helped to strengthen that—which has had a huge impact on my work. I loved my marketing courses and professors and believe that I have carried what I learned there into many areas of my calling.
What is your fondest memory of UGA?
My fondest memory was when the Bulldogs beat the No.1 ranked Florida Gators in Jacksonville 24-3 in 1985. We rushed the field and attempted (unsuccessfully) to tear down the goal posts. My friends and I were photographed coming over the fence and put on the front page of the Jacksonville Times! Classic.
Jack B. Hood (AB ’69, JD ’71) is a Georgia Bulldog fan, lawyer, author and banjo player - and a proud Double Dawg. After graduating from Georgia Law, he went on to earn a degree in international law from the University of Cambridge (Darwin College) in 1972. He is an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham, and is a member of the Georgia, Alabama and District of Columbia bars.
Earlier this year, Jack returned from an American Bar Association (ABA)-sponsored trip to Ireland and the United Kingdom to attend the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede. Jack is descended from Saer de Quincey, the first Earl of Winchester and one of the 25 barons that forced King John to seal the document in 1215. Saer de Quincey was also a Templar Knight who “took the Cross” and later died on November 3, 1219, while on the Fifth Crusade at the siege of Damietta in Egypt.
The ceremonies at Runnymede on June 15, 2015, were attended by British royalty and dignitaries from around the world, including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, William, the Duke of Cambridge, Princess Anne, Prime Minister David Cameron, the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Hubbard, president of the ABA, and Loretta Lynch, attorney general of the United States.
Jack and his grandson Walkin
Jack, his daughter, and grandson attended exclusive events for ABA members at the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O'Malley at Deerfield in Phoenix Park, Dublin, and at U.S. Ambassador to the UK David Barzun's residence at Winfield House in London.
England's Prince William
They visited Darwin College at the University of Cambridge, attended formal dinners and enjoyed Darwin’s annual formal ball. They also managed to tour Royal Air Force Bases at Duxford, Mildenhall, and Lakenheath with the assistance of a current USAF JAG officer living in Cambridge.
Jack's time at UGA led to his successful career as a lawyer, professor and author. Several of his undergraduate and law professors took a personal interest in his education and motivated Jack to become a productive member of the legal profession. Those inspirational professors at Georgia included Ed Best, Perry Sentell and Dean Rusk.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate your interest.
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.
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.