Book-seller by day at Athens' Avid Bookshop and published author by night, former English major Will Walton (AB '13) released his debut novel, Anything Could Happen, earlier this week. The book is being published by PUSH, an imprint of Scholastic. Jamie Lewis (AB '12, AB '12), assistant director of communications, recently sat down with Will to discuss the path to becoming a writer and his experiences at UGA.
Tell me a little bit about yourself. Did you always want to attend UGA? When did you decide to be a writer?
Both of my parents are Georgia Tech grads and initially, I always thought I'd follow in their footsteps. Lucky for me, I decided I wanted to be a writer in the eighth grade and chose to attend UGA.
What was your book writing process? Did any experiences at UGA (inside or outside the classroom) help prepare you for the experience?
I wrote a lot in the Jittery Joe's downtown on my breaks between classes. I also took workshops with poet Sabrina Orah Mark (PHD '08) and author and UGA professor Reginald McKnight. Reg and Sabrina helped me tremendously. I could not have made the book what it is without their early advice and encouragements. For that reason, they are the first two people to be named in my acknowledgments.
What were some of your most memorable experiences at UGA? Did you have a favorite class or professor?
I'll never forget how excited I was to get into UGA's Stillpoint Literary Magazine my freshman year, for a poem I wrote called "Bird's Grandmother Discovers a Dead Calf." (Ha!) I wrote it while sitting in the first floor laundry room of Creswell. As far as professors go, Reg McKnight is my hero. I loved basically every English class I took. Richard Menke, Chris Pizzino, and Douglas Anderson are amazing instructors.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a book?
I think the best advice is simply, "just write it." I know that sounds a little annoying, but it's sort of how you trick yourself. First you tell yourself, "just write it," then, heroically, you do. Most likely, the result is terrible. But you just keep tricking yourself by saying, "just write it," draft after draft, and eventually the result is okay!
Will and Jamie at his book launch party at Avid Bookshop
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Libba Bray, Anne Carson, Amber Dermont, Miranda July, David Levithan, Sabrina Orah Mark, Reginald McKnight, Annie Proulx, Jane Smiley, Andrew Smith, and Laurel Snyder.
Many grads only return to Athens once every few years. Where are 3 places you think someone should check out when they return to Athens?
AVID BOOKSHOP (in all caps because it is my favorite place), Senor Sol on Oglethorpe Avenue for Micheladas and empanadas and Vision Video for the five-for-$5 movie rental deal.
The UGA Alumni Associations wishes Will the best of luck in all his future endeavors!
"Mine was the best seat in the house at the 2015 UGA graduation exercises last Saturday in Sanford Stadium. Not because I was a special speaker or honored guest but because I was sitting next to my youngest daughter as a member of the graduating class of 2015."
Bulldog 100 business owner Frank Raiford's (BBA '15) story is a bit unique. Originally a student in the late 1970s, Frank left UGA to start his business career - just three credits shy of graduating. He intended to return and finish his degree, but months turned into years and the family (Frank's wife, Melanie, is a member of UGA's Class of 1984) and business continued to grow.
Flash forward to the fall of 2011. Frank's youngest daughter, Meredith (BFA '15), is a freshman at UGA and tells her father how much it would mean to her if they could graduate together.
"I had promised Meredith that I would "finish" the last class that I needed to graduate and walk with her during her graduation. I will always remember this brief and unique time spent with "my" graduating class. I could feel the energy of youth and sense their expectations as they moved across the field and transitioned from being students to graduates."
After graduation, Meredith said "I was so proud and honored to graduate with my dad. It's because of his hard work and dedication over the past 30 years that I have been able to succeed today. It was only fitting that we got to celebrate our accomplishments together Between the Hedges. We both enjoyed every minute of it."
Earlier this year, Frank's company, Police & Sheriff's Press, Inc. was recognized by the UGA Alumni Association as a member of the Bulldog 100 Class of 2015. The business was also recognized in 2014.
Frank had this to say about this unorthodox path to a degree, "Graduation was a long time in coming. My peers from '76-'82 are ordering senior coffee, receiving letters from AARP and showing off pictures of grandchildren. My new peers have the world before them and are ready to begin their journey. My hope for each of them is to dream big, work hard, cherish the friends they have made at UGA and enjoy the journey."
Whether you consider him a member of the Class of 1982 or 2015, we know that Frank, as well as Meredith, will represent the Bulldog family with pride wherever they go. Congratulations on graduating!
The Executive MBA Program at the University of Georgia Terry College of Business was ranked No. 14 worldwide by The Economist in its latest assessment.
The new ranking is a step up for Terry's EMBA program, which was No. 22 worldwide in the previous scoring by The Economist.
"I am certainly proud that the excellence of this degree is being recognized in Georgia and around the world," said Benjamin C. Ayers, dean of the Terry College. "This ranking is a reflection of the investment and quality that our faculty put into our EMBA program, and a good indication that it truly enhances the careers of our students."
The Economist's rankings reflect each EMBA program's performance in two broad categories: personal development/education experience and career development, with each category weighted equally. Terry's EMBA program received the highest ranking among schools in Georgia and was eighth among programs based solely in the U.S.
"We are honored to once again be recognized as one of the very best Executive MBA programs in the world," said Rich Daniels, director of Executive and Professional MBA Programs at the Terry College. "Our focus on leadership development, international experience and harnessing the Terry College network has proven to be particularly effective in ensuring that our graduates are successful."
The Terry College's Executive MBA degree is an 18-month program geared toward mid- to senior-level managers. The format combines weekend class sessions with asynchronous interaction using distance learning technologies. The program also offers individual leadership coaching, valuable opportunities to network and an international residency.
For more information about Terry's Executive MBA, Professional MBA (offered in Buckhead and Gwinnett County) and Full-Time MBA (in Athens), see terry.uga.edu/mba.
Source: UGA Today
Honey, caviar or BBQ sauce?
Did you know that UGA has its own honey bee farm in Watkinsville, Georgia, and that honey is a $75 million industry in the state?
Since 1975, honey bees have been the official insect of Georgia. UGA’s honey bees produce up to 200 pounds of honey a year. Honey bee research taking place at the university includes studying bee health management issues, bee pollination, and foraging ecology. UGA honey is a golden color with fruity accents that stem from the blackberry, blueberry, and bramble blooms in the area surrounding the farm. The honey is available for purchase at Athens Seed, Lawn and Garden in Watkinsville, Cofer’s Home and Garden in Athens, and through the UGA Entomology Department. Learn more about the UGA Honey Bee Farm.
Q Sauce from Jennifer (BBA ’92) and Chris (BBA ’88, JD ’92) Adams
While the university produces tasty treats (UGA Caviar, anyone?), its alumni are also taking the food industry by storm. Attendees at the 2015 Alumni Awards Luncheon took home a complimentary bottle of Q Sauce, generously donated by Jennifer (BBA ’92) and Chris (BBA ’88, JD ’92) Adams.
Based in Dacula, Georgia, the Adamses began making their sauce after it became popular with friends and family. In 2013, it was a Flavor of Georgia finalist and in 2014, it was a winner in the sauces and marinades category. Their daughters called the sauce “Q” for short and the name stuck. All of their sauces are all natural and contain no preservatives. For more information about Q Sauce, visit www.qsaucestore.com.
Wondering what to give to a friend or family member graduating from the University of Georgia next week? Look no further than UGA's very own Scottish tartan.
Tartan's pattern of interlocking stripes, often mistaken for plaid, dates back to the third or fourth century A.D. Tartan became so popular in Scottish Highlands culture that commercial weavers began naming the patterns instead of numbering them. Over time, those names began to represent a connection between the wearer and Scottish clans.
Today, tartans can identify individuals as members of certain groups, now including the University of Georgia.
For UGA's tartan (modeled above by Student Alumni Council member Jasmine Johnson '16), UGA graduate Walter Estes (AB '77, MED '98) developed and donated a tartan design using red and black. The College of Family and Consumer Sciences then secured official recognition by the Scottish Register of Tartans. After approval, a student committee chose the neck tie for men and a silk scarf for women as the ideal products to first be developed from the tartan design. Today, there are several products to choose from, including a pocket square, bow tie, tote bag and cummerbund.
Click here to shop for official UGA tartan products - when you do, the royalties support scholarships and programs for FACS students in the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors!