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Donors honored for historic land preservation

Longtime University of Georgia supporters and alumni Craig and Diana Barrow were awarded the Margaret Douglas Medal by The Garden Club of America for their commitment and service to conservation education at their Wormsloe estate near Savannah.

The national award was given to the Barrows in recognition of their “thoughtful stewardship and generous donation of both land and resources,” said Dede Petri, president of The Garden Club of America.

In 2013, the Barrows, through their Wormsloe Foundation, donated 15 acres of the Wormsloe property to the University of Georgia to establish the Center for Research and Education at Wormsloe. The center provides opportunities for UGA faculty and students to study cultural history and historical land use practices, among other topics, under the direction of Sarah Ross, a member of the faculty of the College of Environment and Design and executive director of the center. In 2016, UGA dedicated two new cabins built on the property to house visiting students and faculty. The cabins were partially funded by the Wormsloe Foundation as well.

In its recognition of the Barrows, The Garden Club of America highlighted the center’s research with 400 varieties of vegetables in the UGA Heirloom Demonstration Garden at Wormsloe. Some of these plants, such as peanuts, blueberries and cotton, are leaders in Georgia’s agriculture industry. Heirloom vegetable trials on site contribute to profitability for coastal Georgia’s family farms by measuring plant productivity, pest and disease resistance, and flood and drought tolerance as well as documenting the preferred flavor profiles.

GCA also recognized the Barrows’ significant backing of landscape stewardship, habitat restoration and sustainable agriculture research on their historic property—all supported largely by UGA programs on site. In addition, GCA cited the significance of the transdisciplinary approach to education provided by the center.

“Craig and Diana are certainly deserving of this national recognition,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “The University of Georgia is grateful for its enduring partnership with the Barrow family and the many ways they are helping us to expand our reach and impact across the state of Georgia and beyond.”

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Peabody Awards honor legends, highlight social issues

With her trademark Tarzan yell and ear tug, Carol Burnett closed out the 77th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony Saturday night at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. The beloved TV star was honored with the first-ever Peabody Career Achievement Award presented by Mercedes-Benz.

An effusive Rachel Brosnahan, star of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” presented the award to the veteran comedian, who blazed a trail for women in television with her hit variety program, “The Carol Burnett Show,” in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Burnett was honored with a Personal Peabody Award early in her career (1962), with judges citing her as a talent to watch for years to come.

The awards, honoring the best in storytelling in electronic media, are based at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. Winners were selected from approximately 1,200 entries from television, radio/podcasts and the web.

A full list of the 2017 Peabody winners is available here.

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Kelly M. Smith named dean of UGA College of Pharmacy

Kelly M. Smith, an academic leader with a record of advancing research and pharmacy education, has been named dean of the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy.

Smith is currently associate dean for academic and student affairs at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, and her appointment at UGA is effective Aug. 1.

“Dr. Smith is a proven leader who is committed to elevating the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy,” said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten. “She is a tireless advocate for students and ambitious about raising research productivity to new heights.”

Smith has served as associate dean for academic and student affairs at the University of Kentucky since 2009. In that role, she spearheaded the expansion of dual degree and graduate certificate programs while enhancing support and career preparedness services to students. She served as interim dean in 2015 and 2016 and in that role oversaw the college’s self-study and successful reaccreditation by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education while also helping elevate the college’s level of external research funding.

“The University of Georgia is excited to welcome an accomplished alumna to serve as the next dean of the College of Pharmacy,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “With a stellar record of scholarship and academic leadership, Dr. Smith is perfectly positioned to lead the college and its outstanding faculty, staff and students into the future.”

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Terry extends legacy with museum artwork donation

At the University of Georgia, the Terry name is synonymous with UGA’s business school, but the influence of C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry extends far beyond that, including to the Georgia Museum of Art. Also on the campus of the university, the museum is the recipient of 14 paintings and works on paper from the Terrys’ collection that will be on view May 12 through Aug. 5 in the exhibition “A Legacy of Giving: C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry.”

Throughout her life, Mary Virginia Terry focused her philanthropy on three areas: education, children’s charities and the arts. She has been a trustee of Jacksonville University and served on the boards of the Wolfson Children’s Hospital, the Children’s Home Society, the Salvation Army, the Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless and the Jacksonville Symphony.

C. Herman Terry graduated from what was then UGA’s School of Commerce in 1939, then became president of Dependable Insurance Co., which he built into a major corporation in Jacksonville, Florida, where the couple made their home. He passed away in 1998, but Mary Virginia Terry has continued the legacy of giving that they began together. She received an honorary doctoral degree from UGA in 2009 and served recently as honorary chair of the Building Terry campaign at UGA’s Terry College of Business.

A native of Quitman, Georgia, and a graduate of Valdosta State University, Mary Virginia Terry understands the impact that art can make on children’s lives and the way that it can provide UGA students with a well-rounded experience. She and her husband built their collection of art together, and these 14 works greatly increase the museum’s holdings by the major artists who created them.

Terry hopes that her giving will serve as an example to others. For more than half a century, she has provided support to UGA that has helped it strengthen academic and research programs.

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Commencement speakers extol the virtues of education and the power of a UGA degree

More than 5,800 students received their undergraduate or graduate degrees in Commencement ceremonies on May 4. They heard words of wisdom from the guest speakers about the importance of education and were urged to follow their dreams and passions.

David Haywood and Charles Kelley, Terry College of Business alumni and members of the multiplatinum and award-winning trio Lady Antebellum, shared how the lessons they learned in the classroom helped them chase their dreams outside the classroom. 

Student guest speaker Hunter Glenn Smith, who received his bachelor’s degree in political science, reminded the new graduates that education also comes from untraditional means.

“We are a community of stories,” he said to the 4,576 undergraduates who became the 215th graduating class from UGA. “It is the lessons taught outside the classroom that most help us learn to live, grow and lead.”

Earlier in the day at the graduate ceremony in Stegeman Coliseum, Denise Spangler, the new dean of UGA’s College of Education, also spoke about the importance of education.

“I hope that your time at Georgia has been filled with opportunities to learn,” she said to the estimated 265 doctoral candidates and 993 master’s and specialist degree students. “Academics, yes, but also to learn about yourself and others, especially those who are different from you. For many of you, graduate school is the best opportunity people ever have to engage deeply with new ideas and with people who are different from you.

The Class of 2018 committed to removing barriers and opening doors by breaking the UGA Senior Signature class gift record with 2,342 signatures and $125,000 raised to go toward student scholarships. 

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Paynes lauded at indoor athletic facility naming celebration

Surrounded by friends, family and a multitude of supporters, Billy Payne was front and center Monday night at the celebration naming event of Georgia’s indoor athletic facility which bears the name of him and his father, Porter.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia in February approved the official name of the facility as the William Porter Payne and Porter Otis Payne Indoor Athletic Facility in honor of former UGA all star football player Billy Payne and his father, the late Porter Payne, also a former Bulldog letterman. The naming is the result of gifts totaling over $10 million secured from friends of Billy and Porter Payne.

Master of ceremonies for the program was Jim Nantz of CBS who has anchored the network’s coverage of the Masters since 1989. Among those participating in the program were UGA President Jere W. Morehead, J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity, Hall of Fame golfer Jack Nicklaus, former Atlanta Mayor and U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, current Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley, UGA football coach Kirby Smart, and Vince Dooley, Billy Payne’s former coach.

“Countless individuals across our great state and indeed all over the nation and around the world have benefited from the vision and leadership of Billy Payne,” Morehead said. “We are proud to have his name and the name of his late father, Porter Payne, forever tied to our storied athletic program.”

Former CEO of the Atlanta Olympic Games and chairman of Augusta National, Payne graduated from UGA in 1969 with a degree in political science, and he earned his law degree from Georgia Law in 1973.  Both he and his father lettered in football at UGA, Billy from 1966-68 and Porter from 1946-49.

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UGA researcher leads effort to reduce neural tube defects

A University of Georgia researcher is leading an international effort to reduce neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in developing countries that is backed by a $734,437 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the hosting organization, Nutrition International.

Lynn Bailey, a noted expert in folate research and head of the department of foods and nutrition within the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences, is chair of an expert advisory group assembled last year by Nutrition International to develop a “roadmap for action” for preventing NTDs.

The group is charged with building global capacity for folate testing laboratories in low and middle-income countries along with effective folic acid fortification programs and NTD-surveillance systems to document the effectiveness of these approaches to prevent NTDs. The term of the initial phase of funding is 18 months.

Bailey was chosen to lead the group due to a lifetime of work in the research of folate, an essential B vitamin required for DNA synthesis and normal growth and development.

Maternal folate deficiency within the first month of pregnancy is a major cause of NTDs, with a global estimate of around 260,000 affected pregnancies annually.

The project is the result of a technical consultation also chaired by Bailey and hosted by Nutrition International that began in 2016 and includes global partners like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

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UGA works to tackle Georgia's opioid abuse crisis

Statewide efforts to thwart the opioid epidemic that is ravaging Georgia communities got a boost recently at three conferences that brought together public and private sector leaders to learn more about the problem and how to address it.

The conferences, coordinated by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government for the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, are just one of many ways UGA is helping to address critical challenges facing the state.

Hundreds of counselors, educators, health care providers and social workers attended conferences in Cartersville, Macon and Stone Mountain to better understand addiction from a pharmacological and neurological perspective and learn about medication-assisted treatment. The sessions brought together the people who, in their jobs, are most likely to come in contact with individuals who struggle with opioid misuse.

“The institute played a key role in organizing a way for front-line service providers to learn more about this deadly epidemic and exchange ideas and wisdom,” said Laura Meadows, director of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. “It’s the kind of outreach that’s integral to the institute’s mission of applying UGA’s resources to address a critical issue.”

The institute worked with the Office of Addictive Diseases at DBHDD to organize the training conferences for health professionals and treatment providers, securing expert speakers from the Opioid Treatment Providers of Georgia organization and the UGA College of Pharmacy.

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Denzell Cross awarded Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship

Denzell Cross, a doctoral student in integrative conservation and ecology at the University of Georgia, has been awarded a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. This highly selective award—approximately 65 were given in 2018—provides three years of support for study in pursuit of a doctorate.

It recognizes academic excellence; promise for future achievement as a scholar, researcher and teacher in higher education; and capacity to use diversity as a resource to enrich the education of all students. Cross is the fourth UGA student to receive the award.

Cross studies the impacts of landscape-scale disturbance on urban watersheds in Georgia using trait-based ecology and historical data. Specifically, he is exploring how the structure and function of communities of macroinvertebrates—small creatures like insects, crayfish and snails—living in streams and rivers change through time in response to increasing urbanization.

“Denzell is a perfect example of the kind of scholar we hope to train in the integrative conservation program,” said Meredith Welch Devine, director of interdisciplinary graduate studies in the UGA Graduate School. “His work has great potential not only to advance our scientific understanding, but also to make a real difference in how we approach conservation in urban contexts. This fellowship from the Ford Foundation is a wonderful recognition of this outstanding scholar.”

The Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship is administered by the Fellowships Office of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

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UGA's 2018 Udall Scholar is focused on sustaining the world's fish populations

University of Georgia junior Guy Eroh has a particular passion for fish, and his focus on the sustainability of these aquatic animals has earned him national recognition as a 2018 Udall Scholar.

He was one of 50 undergraduates from across the nation and U.S. territories selected for the scholarship awarded to sophomores and juniors on the basis of their commitment to careers in the environment, Native health care or tribal public policy.

Eroh, from Portland, Oregon, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in ecology and a master’s degree in forest resources. An Honors student and Foundation Fellow, he intends to earn a doctorate in biological science with an emphasis in molecular genetics and fisheries science, with the long-term goal of improving the recovery and sustainability of the world’s fish populations and their habitats.

With the addition of Eroh, UGA has had 12 Udall Scholars in the past eight years and 17 total since the scholarship was first awarded in 1996.

Through the application of novel, relevant scientific information and technologies, Eroh intends to revolutionize the way fish populations and their ecosystems are managed. He is preparing for a career specific to fish conservation as a researcher for a university or government agency.

He currently conducts research with UGA faculty Cecil Jennings, Robert Bringolf and Jean Williams-Woodward to maximize hatch success of walleye eggs. Eroh also interned for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science in the UK.