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Forbes designates UGA a top university for value, career success

The University of Georgia was recently highlighted as one of the top public universities in the country, earning a No. 21 ranking by Forbes.

The rankings compiled by the international media company seek to highlight schools that offer “an excellent education at a great price, graduate high-earners and propel students to become successful entrepreneurs and influential leaders in their fields.”

In compiling the rankings, Forbes considered factors such as alumni salary, debt, graduation rate, leadership and entrepreneurial success of graduates, return on investment, retention rate and academic success.

“I am pleased to see Forbes recognize the tremendous value of a University of Georgia degree,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “At UGA, we take great pride in our world-class learning environment and distinctive undergraduate experience that prepare our graduates to flourish in their careers.”

Forbes noted that the average debt load for a UGA graduate is $6,461, while the average salary 10 years after graduation is $113,900.

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New UGA students volunteer in Athens-Clarke County

Early on Saturday, Aug. 27, nearly 200 University of Georgia first-year and transfer students gathered at the Tate Student Center to participate in the inaugural “New Student Day of Service”– a spinoff of UGA’s largest annual community volunteer event, “Dawg Day of Service.” This year’s twist offered incoming first-year and transfer students a unique opportunity to serve the Athens-Clarke County community together. While mingling over breakfast, an excited energy pervaded the group as many were eager to both make new friends and have a positive impact.

After opening words from community partner Bryce Seuntjens with Books for Keeps, students split up to deploy across different service areas all over Athens. Some of these service sites included Books for Keeps, Keep Athens Clark County Beautiful outdoor projects at JJ Harris Elementary and Barrow Elementary, The Backpack Project, Oasis Católico Santa Rafaela, Athens Area Humane Society, Athens-Clarke County Animal Services, and many others.

Starting in fall 2013, “Dawg Day of Service” is now a staple annual event of Serve UGA, a group that promotes a culture of service and community engagement at UGA and is advised by the Division of Students Affairs’ Engagement, Leadership, and Service.

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UGA ranked 10th among public universities in the U.S. by Niche

The University of Georgia has been ranked 10th on the latest list of Top Public Universities in the U.S. by the rankings platform Niche.

The ranking, which was released this week, is based on Niche’s analysis of academic, admissions, financial and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education. The ranking compares over 500 public colleges and state universities.

UGA received high marks for academics, value, diversity and athletics.

“Niche’s ranking affirms that the University of Georgia is a powerhouse in both academics and athletics,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “We have made significant strides in recent years through strategic investments in faculty hires, new and renovated research space, as well as continued enhancements to the quality of the living and learning experience for undergraduates. Those investments are paying off, helping our students to maximize the value of their UGA degrees.”

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Athens artist creates benches to honor Holmes and Hunter

Renowned artist and Athens native Harold Rittenberry Jr. was there the day Charlayne Hunter (now Hunter-Gault) and Hamilton Holmes arrived at the University of Georgia. He had just left his girlfriend’s house on the east side of Athens and was walking through downtown when he saw two vehicles pull up in front of the Arch with an unruly crowd pressing in on the cars.

“I came home and turned the TV on and found out what I’d just seen: They had just integrated the University of Georgia,” Rittenberry said.

UGA President Jere W. Morehead commissioned Rittenberry to create two benches in honor of Hunter-Gault and Holmes to be included in a restored courtyard that pays tribute to the UGA icons outside of the historic Holmes-Hunter Academic Building after it has been fully renovated.

In addition to restoring the courtyard, the planned renovation will install an elevator and new stairs; integrate new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems; optimize use of the building’s square footage; showcase the cast iron in the structure; and create a classroom from the original building design.

“I am excited that Mr. Rittenberry’s extraordinary work will be incorporated into this important project,” said Morehead. “Not only is he incredibly talented, but as a contemporary of Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes, his contributions are especially relevant and appreciated.”

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Healthier Together program improves health in rural Georgia

When Healthier Together Calhoun launched in 2017, the mission was simple: help county residents live healthier lives by improving access to healthy foods and physical activity. But Calhoun County resident Mark Strickland wasn’t convinced.

“These were pie in the sky dreams and when we first started, I thought there was no way this is going to ever do anything,” said Strickland. “I was wrong.”

Through participating in Healthier Together, Strickland said he began to concentrate on eating better, walking more, and generally taking better care of himself. And over the past two years, he lost over 100 pounds.

“It’s increased my sense of pride in my community because we achieved this,” he said.

Calhoun is one of five rural Georgia counties – including Clay, Dooly, Stewart and Taliaferro counties – participating in Healthier Together, a project where an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students at the University of Georgia and UGA Extension partnered with the community to increase access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity.

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University of Georgia announces Fulbright Awards for 2022-2023

The University of Georgia Office of Global Engagement has announced that James Martin, Magdalena Zurawski, Fausto Sarmiento and Walker DePuy have received Fulbright Scholar Program awards for the 2022-2023 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Fulbrighters engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks, often laying the groundwork for future institutional partnerships targeting the challenges facing their communities and the world. Upon returning to their home countries, institutions, labs and classrooms, they share their stories and become advocates of international exchange, inviting foreign scholars to campus and encouraging colleagues and students to go abroad. As Fulbright Scholar alumni, their careers are enriched by joining a network of thousands of esteemed scholars, many of whom are leaders in their fields. Fulbright alumni include 61 Nobel Prize laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize recipients and 40 who have served as a head of state or government.

“We are extremely proud of our four Fulbright Scholar Award recipients,” said Martin Kagel, associate provost for global engagement, “whose projects in Asia, Europe and South America underscore the global reach of the University of Georgia’s research endeavors. Their success in securing support from the United States’ flagship program of academic exchange is a testament to the quality of their scholarship and its relevance in a global context.”

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UGA completes Phase 2 of STEM Research Complex

The University of Georgia held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the second phase of the Interdisciplinary Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (I-STEM) Research Complex on Wednesday, Aug. 24.

The 101,000-square-foot, $64 million I-STEM Research Building 2, which was funded by a combination of university and state funds, will support collaborative research in chemistry, engineering and other scientific disciplines. The building features three levels of flexible, open lab space as well as an 88-seat classroom. It will be home to dozens of faculty and graduate students working in STEM fields.

Paired with Building 1, which opened last fall, the completed I-STEM Research Complex adds more than 200,000 square feet of new space for research and instruction. 

“The completion of this facility brings us a step closer to fulfilling a multiyear capital plan to build, renovate and modernize hundreds of thousands of square feet devoted to research and innovation on our campus,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “We are very grateful for the strong support of the Governor, the Georgia General Assembly and the Board of Regents which made this project possible.”

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UGA focuses on energy conservation and sustainability

The University of Georgia is committed to operational sustainability and energy conservation. With unprecedented increases in energy costs, these efforts are more critical than ever.

Despite adding over 500,000 square feet of conditioned space, including I-STEM Research Building 1, the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall Expansion and the Porcelain and Decorative Arts Museum, Discovery and Inspiration Garden, overall campus energy consumption increased only by a combined 3% between fiscal year 2021 and fiscal year 2022.

Even with extensive conservation efforts, energy costs for the university (including electricity, natural gas, water and sewer) increased by 37% during that same period. They’re expected to jump an additional 51% in fiscal year 2023.

UGA is implementing several strategies to combat rising costs and increase efficiencies around campus. Individual efforts from the campus community also play a major role in UGA’s conservation and sustainability initiatives.

Reduced energy use on campus also directly results in improved air quality in Georgia and lessened environmental impacts across the state. These focused efforts will support UGA’s continued commitment to conservation and sustainability, especially during extreme weather conditions.

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UGA earns 3 CASE Awards

The University of Georgia won three awards in the 2022 Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Circle of Excellence Awards competition, recognizing the best education and nonprofit marketing and communications programs across the world.

Among more than 4,500 entries from 636 institutions in nearly 30 countries, UGA was recognized with two gold awards and a silver for a variety of projects including a local community impact campaign, the UGA Mentor Program and Georgia Magazine.

CASE is a global association of educational and nonprofit institutions that focuses on best practices in the field of advancement and hosts an annual award competition for higher education, postsecondary and nonprofit institutions.

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International Coffee Hour celebrates 50th anniversary

For 50 years, students have gathered at the same time, in the same location, nearly every Friday, to renew a grand University of Georgia tradition: drinking coffee.

On Friday, Aug. 19, UGA will celebrate the 50th anniversary of International Coffee Hour. The anniversary celebration will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Reed Quad, and the event will continue at its traditional location in the Memorial Hall Ballroom each Friday after that.

Started in 1972 and continuing each Friday of the fall and spring semesters, UGA’s International Coffee Hour is one of the longest running programs of its kind in the U.S. Free to attend, the program offers a unique experience to engage in conversation with people of different cultures and backgrounds. Typically, several hundred students attend International Coffee Hour each week.

For the celebration event, Coffee Hour moves to Reed Quad, just outside its typical location in the Memorial Hall Ballroom. Maddie Martin, a graduate assistant with ISL, said the event will be a very scaled up version of Coffee Hour as part of Welcome UGA programs.

To honor the occasion, ISL has partnered with Jittery Joe’s to launch an International Coffee Hour specialty blend. Jittery Joe’s will be on site at the celebration to provide tastings and discuss the thought that went into creating the blend. Proceeds from the sales of the specialty blend will raise money for the International Student Support Fund.