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UGA recognizes historically Black fraternities, sororities

The University of Georgia held a commemoration ceremony on Friday, Oct. 15, to honor nine historically Black fraternities and sororities on the West Lawn of the Tate Student Center, where markers were installed to recognize the National Pan-Hellenic Council member organizations.

UGA President Jere W. Morehead approved the installation of the markers at the recommendation of the Presidential Task Force on Race, Ethnicity, and Community.

“These markers represent the university’s pride in the students and alumni who belong to these distinguished fraternities and sororities and our ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging,” Morehead said at the dedication ceremony. “These historically Black fraternities and sororities have been vitally important to our students and our community, and I am pleased that they are getting this well-deserved recognition.”

A crowd of spectators representing students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members gathered for the ceremony and to tour the marker installation. The markers, which are made of granite, bear the name and official seal of each fraternity or sorority, the date on which it was chartered and a brief history of the organization.

The nine member organizations of the NPHC are Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.

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UGA again ranks in top 5 for new products to market

For the eighth straight year, the University of Georgia has placed among the top U.S. universities for number of commercial products created from its research by industry partners. This year, UGA ranked No. 2 in the latest survey data provided by the organization AUTM.

AUTM, formerly known as the Association of University Technology Managers, supports research commercialization activities among universities and other research institutions. For the past four years, UGA has been ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 for new commercial products brought to market by industry partners. In each of the eight years AUTM has collected data for this metric, UGA has placed in the Top 5. The new report is based on data from fiscal year 2020.

“Year after year, UGA performs well in helping industry develop new products because we have such a range of research strengths across the university enterprise,” said Karen Burg, vice president for research. “This breadth of application, in combination with a real depth of expertise among our faculty and students, is one of the university’s greatest strengths when it comes to partnering with business to address real-world needs and challenges.”

UGA’s total of 59 new commercial products in fiscal 2020 was actually greater than the number (53) it helped produce in fiscal 2019, which earned it that year’s top ranking. Among those 59 products were new poultry vaccines, software to assess muscle function, click-chemistry protein-labeling kits, research and educational tools, and new wheat, blueberry, and ornamental plant varieties.

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Engineering students explore coastal housing challenges

University of Georgia College of Engineering students are working with the UGA Marine Institute to create new designs that could help coastal residents weather the next hurricane. The students are focusing on new housing for researchers on Sapelo Island as an opportunity to explore new prototypes for affordable, storm-resilient and culturally appropriate housing options for the southeastern U.S coast.

“Coastal areas throughout the world are vulnerable to sea level rise and weather-related hazards such as high winds and flooding,” said Merryl Alber, director of the UGA Marine Institute. “The effects of these coastal hazards are particularly acute in rural, isolated communities with limited resources. Adequate housing is critical to the long-term resilience and prosperity of these smaller communities.”

Four civil and environmental engineering students are developing a housing design to replace decaying mobile homes on the Marine Institute’s campus, currently used as accommodations for guest researchers from all over the world. The project is part of their capstone senior design course, a yearlong class that provides students an opportunity to work on a real-world engineering challenge with a client – in this case, the Marine Institute.

Working with a larger interdisciplinary research team from UGA, the students’ broader goal is to consider how their designs could offer an affordable alternative to housing in coastal Georgia and other southeastern states where strong wind events and sea level rise are significant challenges.

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Applications for inaugural UGA First Awards open through Oct. 22

In honor of National First-Generation College Celebration Day on Nov. 8, the University of Georgia First-Generation Committee will grant the inaugural UGA First Awards. The First Awards will highlight and honor the contributions and achievements of UGA’s outstanding first-generation undergraduate, graduate and professional students, faculty and staff.

To apply for this award, individuals must be a first-generation applicant. They must be a UGA faculty member, staff member, graduate, professional or undergraduate student from any UGA affiliated campus. Students must be in good academic standing. All applicants must have completed at least one year at UGA by the time of application. The deadline to apply for the First Award is Oct. 22. For more information and to access the application, click here.

The UGA First Awards are part of a weeklong calendar of events Nov. 8-12 to celebrate UGA’s first-generation community. More information about these events will be posted on firstgeneration.uga.edu.

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Faculty, staff donors set record participation rate

Current faculty and staff donors at the University of Georgia set an all-time giving participation record of 16.8% in fiscal year 2021 and, together with retirees, achieved a five-year high of 17%.

“I am deeply grateful to these valued members of the UGA community for helping to strengthen this great institution,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Their generosity reflects a steadfast belief in our mission and sets a valuable example for other supporters of the university to follow.”

The total contributed by 2,815 faculty, staff and retirees during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2021, was nearly $4.8 million. These donors are members of the 2021 Philanthropy at Work Society, which recognizes those who work for or retired from UGA and chose to support the university through an annual gift. The collective support of PAWS members was a critical part of the fundraising success of fiscal year 2021.

“I am continually impressed and humbled by our campus community. Their dedication is a cornerstone for building a better tomorrow for those we serve,” said Kelly Kerner, vice president for development and alumni relations.

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North Campus wireless improvements extend classroom beyond building walls

Working and studying outdoors on UGA’s campus is now a little easier, thanks to a recent project by Enterprise Information Technology Services to improve outdoor wireless performance.

During the spring and summer 2021, EITS technicians updated the wireless infrastructure and access points servicing five areas on North and Central Campus.

These areas included the Old College quad, the Main Library quad, Herty Field, the area in front of the Miller Learning Center and outdoor areas around Tate Student Center.

Bollards containing wireless access points were installed at strategic locations around North and Central Campus, with fiber optic cable running underground between them. Bollard locations were chosen and access points configured to provide optimum coverage across each area. The $417,000 project was funded by student technology fees, which help fund a variety of facilities and services across campus.

Additional work is planned for this year to expand wireless coverage in the outdoor spaces north of Meigs Hall, along Herty Drive, and the greenspace on the north side of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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Jere W. Morehead Honors College celebrates official naming

The dedication of the University of Georgia’s Jere W. Morehead Honors College was celebrated on Thursday, Sept. 30, with a ribbon-cutting on the steps of Moore Hall, facing Herty Field. The event was attended by current and emeriti trustees of the UGA Foundation, as well as the acting chancellor, former chancellor and several members of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.

A program followed during the annual fall dinner of the UGA Foundation Trustees. The event was presided over by Neal Quirk, chair of the UGA Foundation, and featured comments from David Williams, associate provost and dean of the Morehead Honors College, and two Honors alumni.

The naming was approved by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents on May 11, the result of a successful fundraising campaign by former and current trustees of the University of Georgia Foundation. To date, that campaign has raised more than $11 million.

“It has been a true pleasure to see how undergraduate research, internships, travel-study, and service-learning have continued to evolve and expand at UGA through Honors—and to see how much our amazing students have benefitted from these experiences,” said Morehead. “That is why I am especially pleased that the funds raised to support the naming of the Honors College will help ensure that our best and brightest continue to receive the support they need to achieve their dreams.”

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Institute of Higher Education named for Louise McBee

Following a transformational gift of over $3.5 million from the estate of M. Louise McBee, the University of Georgia paid tribute to the former administrator and state legislator with the naming of the Louise McBee Institute of Higher Education (IHE). The President’s Cabinet approved the naming in its Sept. 29 meeting, introduced by petition from the institute.

“Dr. McBee’s extraordinary legacy of leadership and service to UGA and the state of Georgia is one that will be remembered for generations to come,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “For her many contributions to this institution and to public higher education, we are pleased to recognize her and link her with the institute she cared so much about.”

McBee’s estate gift, received this summer, is the greatest single donation to the institute in its nearly 60-year history. McBee, who passed away in March, was a consistently ardent supporter and the IHE’s largest cumulative individual donor.

The gift will support the Louise McBee Distinguished Professorship in Higher Education and the Louise McBee Lecture in Higher Education. Additional funds will create an endowment to enhance the IHE’s strategic partnerships, initiatives and innovation across the three core areas of instruction, research and service.

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New awards recognize excellence in teaching and research

The University of Georgia has established two new award programs to recognize exemplary teaching and research. The University of Georgia Award for Excellence in Teaching honors outstanding instruction by teaching faculty members in non-tenurable positions, while the Team Impact Award recognizes crosscutting teams for their critical research contributions.

“One of my overarching priorities as provost is to foster a culture of academic excellence that incentivizes and recognizes the outstanding contributions of our faculty and staff,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “These new awards help further that goal, and I’m looking forward to congratulating the first honorees in the spring.”

Established based on a recommendation from the UGA Teaching Academy, the University of Georgia Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes the corps of teaching faculty whose time is primarily dedicated to offering outstanding instruction to students, promoting pedagogical innovation and providing an engaging environment for student learning. Each year, one to two full-time faculty members in non-tenurable positions will be selected to receive a $7,500 cash award.

The Team Impact Award recognizes a team for excellence in innovative and impactful scholarship with the potential to fundamentally advance knowledge, understanding and/or applications in ways not achievable by individual investigators or single disciplinary approaches alone. Eligible teams can represent any disciplines but must be composed of at least three distinct disciplines or subdisciplines. The winning team will receive $5,000 for application in its research program.

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UGA students help with contact tracing in Athens

When K-12 schools in Athens-Clarke County returned in August, new COVID-19 infections were approaching highs the county hadn’t seen since January 2021.

Recognizing a possible need for support, Grace Bagwell-Adams, who heads the Office of Outreach, Engagement, and Equity at the University of Georgia College of Public Health, made a quick call to CCSD Nursing Director Amy Roark.

Two weeks later, eight public health students were on board, trained and ready to support the school district’s contact tracing team.

“CCSD has had approximately 750 positive cases reported since school started in August. Of course, the work is not in the positives, but rather in tracking and informing the close contacts. CCSD has been trying to make a personal phone call to everyone identified as a close contact, and that work quickly adds up as the case numbers increase. The UGA students have helped us be able to sustain the contact tracing efforts,” Roark said.

The speed with which this collaboration came together is a reflection of the relationship the College of Public Health has been building with the school district for years.