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Lawmakers explore 2014 legislative agenda during 29th Biennial Institute

Members of the Georgia General Assembly convened in Athens Dec. 7–9 for the 29th Biennial Institute for Georgia Legislators, coordinated by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government to help lawmakers prepare for the next legislative cycle.

More than 200 members of the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate attended presentations at the UGA Hotel and Conference Center covering economic development and other significant issues. The three-day event culminated with an address by Gov. Nathan Deal, who outlined his policy priorities for the coming year.

Since its inception in 1958, the Biennial Institute has been coordinated by UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government and continues to be an anticipated event on the Georgia political calendar.

As in past years, the 2014 Biennial Institute offered the first opportunity following the elections for veteran and freshman legislators to come together as a group in advance of the legislative session, which begins Jan. 12.

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UGA launches crowdfunding platform, exceeds goal for #GivingTuesday

The University of Georgia recently launched a new crowdfunding platform called the GeorgiaFunder, which aims to raise relatively small donations from a large group of people to directly benefit UGA programs and organizations.

The pilot crowdfunding initiative exceeded its goals on #GivingTuesday, a national day of philanthropy Dec. 2., by raising more than $29,000 from 220 donors. The effort exceeded the day’s goal of $25,000 and more than doubled last year’s amount. Gifts will benefit university-wide initiatives, school or college support funds or other specific interests.

The GeorgiaFunder is modeled after other Web-based commercial services such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. These initiatives rely on social networks and can spread quickly through social media, e-mail, websites and other grassroots forms of communications.

Learn more about UGA crowdfunding initiatives at giving.uga.edu/funder.

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UGA dance performance to feature emerging student choreographers

The University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of dance will present the Emerging Choreographers Informal Showing on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. in the New Dance Theatre in the dance building on Sanford Drive.

The showing marks the second performance of the annual fall semester Young Choreographers Series, which premieres choreographic works by UGA dance majors. The works reflect each choreographer’s creative process, movement vocabulary and artistic perspective.

“After working all semester conceiving a choreographic idea, developing vocabulary and then crafting that material in space and time with dancers, it is always quite interesting to see the variety of works that manifest,” said Rebecca Gose, an associate professor of dance.

The students prepared the pieces within either the Young Choreographers’ Lab or Dance Composition I course. The works count toward the students’ fulfillment of their bachelor’s or bachelor’s of fine arts degrees in dance.

Tickets are $5. Advance tickets can be purchased at the Tate Student Center Cashier’s Window, the Performing Arts Center Box Office, online at www.pac.uga.edu or by calling 706-542-4400. Tickets will be available at the door beginning an hour before each performance.

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UGA School of Law teams named finalists at two competitions

Two University of Georgia School of Law teams recently finished as finalists in the 15th Annual William W. Daniel National Invitational Mock Trial Competition and the Fifth Annual Mercer University School of Law Legal Ethics and Professionalism Moot Court Competition.

The mock trial team consisted of third-year students Joshua H. Dorminy of Darien; Whitney T. Judson of Fayetteville; Patrick A. Najjar of Stone Mountain; and Andrew M. Whittaker of Grovetown; and second-year student Meredith A. Gardial of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Only 18 schools are invited to compete in this competition, named in honor of the late Judge William W. Daniel of the Superior Court of Fulton County. The Georgia Law students triumphed over teams from Texas Southern University, the University of Illinois, Michigan State University and Emory University before facing Georgia State University in the final round.

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UGA marks beginning of Baldwin Hall expansion, renovation project

University of Georgia administrators, students and state legislators took shovels to ground today to mark the beginning of a project that will expand and renovate the historic Baldwin Hall.

The roughly $8 million project, with funding approved by the Georgia General Assembly, includes construction of a 10,800-square-foot Baldwin Hall Annex and renovations to the existing building. Work on the addition is slated to begin in June and run through May 2016. Renovations are expected to be complete in September 2016.

Built in 1938, Baldwin Hall has served as a Navy pre-flight school during World War II and home to several UGA academic programs. The building currently houses the School of Public and International Affairs as well as the departments of sociology and anthropology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

“Some of the most salient questions regarding our democracy, our national security and our evolving global society are examined through the academic programs housed in Baldwin Hall,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead.

“The University of Georgia and the state of Georgia benefit profoundly from the academic work that is performed here every day, and we are excited about this opportunity to enhance Baldwin Hall so that these programs may reach new heights of excellence in teaching, research and service.”

The Georgia General Assembly was represented at the groundbreaking by David Ralston, speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives; David Shafer, president pro tempore of the Georgia state Senate; Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn); Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) and Rep. Chuck Williams (R-Watkinsville).

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UGA cost savings being reinvested in sustainability initiatives

The University of Georgia continues to provide sustainability leadership through reinvestment in student engagement and resource conservation initiatives. UGA President Jere W. Morehead has approved a proposal to redirect $80,000 in annual savings garnered through efforts by the Office of Sustainability to further engage students and conserve resources—without increasing the student green fee.

The proposal first was presented to and endorsed by UGA’s Mandatory Student Fee Advisory Committee comprised of UGA students, faculty and staff on Nov.18.

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University of Georgia sets record graduation rates

From start to finish, University of Georgia students are setting records for how quickly they are completing their bachelor's degrees or entering professional programs.

The six-year graduation rate has reached a record 84.6 percent, up from 83.2 percent a year ago. The five- and four-year rates also reached record levels in 2014.

"At the University of Georgia, we strive not only to enroll outstanding students but also to create an educational environment on campus that promotes timely completion," said President Jere W. Morehead. "Our rising graduation rates reveal the very strong commitment to student success that exists among faculty and staff at this institution."

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University of Georgia statements on the passing of former Georgia Gov. Carl E. Sanders (JD ’48)

Carl E. Sanders and the University of Georgia enjoyed an association that spanned more than 70 years, beginning with his enrollment in 1942 on a football scholarship.  He withdrew from school to pilot bombers during World War II, but returned to UGA, played on the 1945 team that won the Oil Bowl, and received a law degree in 1948.

He practiced law in his native Augusta and in 1954 was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives.  He later served three terms in the Georgia Senate before winning election in 1962 as governor.

Known as “Georgia’s Education Governor,” Sanders oversaw the investment of more than $2 billion in educational and training programs, including more than $552 million spent on the state’s public colleges and universities.  Expenditures on buildings in the University System of Georgia topped $176.5 million—more than had been spent in the previous 31 years—and salaries for the system rose by 32.5 percent.  An educational television network was created, vocational-technical education was expanded statewide and the state’s junior college system was enlarged.  UGA received more than $40 million in construction funds while Sanders was governor, resulting in the start or completion of a dozen buildings, and the university’s faculty doubled in size.

A staunch supporter of UGA’s School of Law, Sanders was instrumental in providing state funding for an expansion of the law school building that included a new building for the law library.  He also secured $1 million in state funds to buy books for the library.  After leaving office, he made significant personal gifts to the law school, including $1 million in 2002 to establish an endowed professorship in the school.  The reading in the law library was named in his honor.

He has been president of the Law School Association, served on the school’s Board of Visitors, and headed the fundraising campaign to build Dean Rusk Hall.  He donated his gubernatorial papers, photographs and other memorabilia to the library.  He also served as a trustee of the University of Georgia Foundation and as president of the UGA Alumni Association.

Statement from University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead:

“The University of Georgia community mourns the loss of one of its finest alumni and one of the state’s greatest champions for public higher education,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead.  “Although his lifelong dedication to this institution can be seen across our entire campus, Carl Sanders left his greatest impression on our School of Law, which has benefited in so many ways from his profound wisdom, dedication, and loyalty.  As a fellow alumnus of the university and the School of Law, I join others as we express our deep appreciation for his unyielding support for the university and the School of Law. Gov. Sanders’ impact on this state will be remembered in so many ways, but UGA remembers him, in particular, for his many significant contributions to the betterment of our university and our School of Law.”

Statement from Dean Rebecca H. White of the UGA School of Law:

“Our state has lost a great man, and our law school has lost one of its most important and influential graduates.  Carl Sanders understood the importance to our state of having a first-class law school and took the steps necessary to make that happen, so that we now have, as he predicted, a law school of “such excellence that no citizen of Georgia need ever leave [this] state because a superior legal education is available elsewhere.”  We are forever in his debt, and I will miss deeply his friendship, wise counsel, loyalty and support.”

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Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge named dean of UGA School of Law

Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge, a leading scholar in the fields of international dispute resolution, arbitration and the U.S. Supreme Court, has been named dean of the University of Georgia School of Law following a national search.

Rutledge, the Herman E. Talmadge Chair of Law, has served as the associate dean for faculty development at Georgia Law since 2013. His appointment as dean is effective Jan. 1.

“The School of Law enjoys a reputation as one of the best public law schools in the nation, and we had an extraordinary group of finalists for its deanship,” said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten, to whom the deans of UGA’s 17 schools and colleges report. “Professor Rutledge emerged as the ideal leader for Georgia Law because of his commitment to promoting excellence in faculty scholarship, which informs the practice of law across the state, nation and world as well as the instruction that students receive.”

As associate dean for faculty development, Rutledge worked closely with faculty to expand scholarly activities. He mentored untenured faculty, provided strategic guidance on publishing and engaging with external audiences, and built connections among faculty through colloquia and other events to stimulate new ideas.

His scholarship includes two books and nearly 40 articles and book chapters in leading academic journals such as the University of Chicago Law Review and university presses such as the Cambridge University Press and Yale University Press. He has delivered invited lectures at universities in 10 countries, including Oxford University, the London School of Economics and the University of Vienna, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He has testified before Congress on several occasions and has provided written statements to the Georgia Legislature on pending bills. In 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States appointed Rutledge to brief and argue the case of Irizarry v. United States as a friend to the court—someone who is not a party to the case—in the successful defense of the judgment of the lower court. 

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University of Michigan president emerita to headline McBee Lecture at UGA

Mary Sue Coleman, president emerita of the University of Michigan, will present the 26th Annual Louise McBee Lecture Dec. 2 at 11 a.m. in the University of Georgia Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

Coleman will speak on “Public Higher Education in the 21st Century: Can America Continue to Lead?”

“Dr. Coleman’s career is exemplary of what the McBee Lecture stands for—integrity, leadership and innovation in higher education,” said Libby V. Morris, director of the Institute for Higher Education and Zell Miller Distinguished Professor in Higher Education. “We are delighted that President Coleman has agreed to share her experiences and observations regarding public higher education with the university community.”