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Gift supports scholarships for future teachers

The University of Georgia was recently awarded a $500,000 commitment from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to establish five scholarships aimed at helping future teachers.

The gift, which is matched through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program, established five need-based scholarships benefiting low-income students enrolled at UGA to study early childhood education.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our students, and we are thankful for the support from the Kellogg Foundation,” said Denise Spangler, dean of the UGA College of Education, which houses the early childhood education program and other teacher-preparation degrees. “Because our students spend so much time in local classrooms, it’s difficult to maintain a second job with their schedule. Scholarship support is essential to help our students focus on their training.”

Matching funds provided by the UGA Foundation through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program will enhance the Kellogg Foundation’s commitment to removing barriers and opening doors for students—one of the three priorities of the university’s Commit to Georgia Campaign. The program provides a one-to-one match for gifts of $50,000, $75,000 and $100,000 to endow need-based scholarships at UGA.

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UGA law students embark on public interest fellowships

University of Georgia School of Law students are answering the call of public service in record-breaking numbers. Thanks to additional funding sources, the law school has been able to provide 48 students with monetary support to pursue summer public interest work in a variety of settings. This number more than doubles the number of participants from two years ago in 2016, which was 22. The total amount of funding has grown from $53,000 in 2016 to more than $83,000 in 2018 and the number of fellowship sources has grown to eight, including new grants supporting work in health and municipal law.

“Seeing our students answering the call to service is very rewarding,” School of Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said. “The law school’s mission is all about preparing our students with a first-rate legal education and connecting them with opportunities for real-world training so they can become future leaders for our state and society. Ensuring our students have access to public interest fellowships speaks to the heart of our mission.”

School of Law students will perform criminal justice, nonprofit and governmental work throughout Georgia, the nation and the globe. Select placements in Georgia include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Atlanta Legal Aid, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Augusta Public Defender’s Office, the Chatham County District Attorney’s Office and the Georgia Public Defenders Council. Out-of-state positions include the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee in Washington, DC; the Victims Rights Law Center in Boston, Massachusetts; the Mental Health Project in New York City, New York; King County Bar Association Pro Bono Family Law Services in Seattle, Washington; the Institute for Justice in Austin, Texas; the Cook County State’s Attorney Office in Chicago, Illinois; and South Carolina Legal Services in Greenwood, South Carolina. International locations include the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme in Samoa, Boat People SOS in Thailand and No Peace Without Justice in Belgium.

“I am grateful to our graduates and to our other sources of financial support, which are enabling students to gain real-life legal experience with work that benefits society and helps students build their careers,” said Alexander W. “Alex” Scherr, associate dean for clinical programs and experiential learning.

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UGA gets top ranking for service to student veterans

For the second time in three years, the University of Georgia has been named the top tier one research institution in the nation in Victory Media’s Military Friendly Schools 2018-2019 rankings. The designation recognizes the university for its outstanding commitment to and programs for student veterans and their families. UGA had previously achieved the top ranking in 2016-2017 and was listed at second place last year.

“I am continually proud of the successes of our student veterans and the growth of the Student Veterans Resource Center,” said Victor K. Wilson, vice president for student affairs. “We are deeply committed to ensuring that these impressive students have all of the resources, support and connections they need to flourish—not only in their time at UGA, but far beyond.”

The Military Friendly designation comes at a time when participation in the programs and services of UGA’s Student Veterans Resource Center is steadily increasing, with nearly 80 percent of UGA’s self-identified undergraduate student veterans engaged in the center’s signature persistent coaching program. Engagement in all SVRC programming has risen significantly since persistent coaching was piloted in fall 2016.

The persistent coaching program promotes student veteran success through a consistent progression of engagements with faculty, staff and nonprofits that begins at matriculation and continues until graduation.

UGA continues to maintain top designations in other publications, including Military Advanced Education magazine’s “Top Schools” for 2018, U.S. News and World Report’s annual list of “Best Colleges for Veterans” and Military Times Magazine’s “2018 Best for Vets” rankings.

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UGA promotes renaissance in multi-city partnership

 A Georgia mountain community is forging a unique economic development partnership with two Tennessee cities through a downtown revitalization process pioneered by the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

The Copper Basin Renaissance Strategic Visioning and Planning collaboration unites key leaders from McCaysville, Georgia, its twin city of Copperhill, Tennessee, and nearby Ducktown, Tennessee, in a community-driven alliance to help the region’s economy flourish.

The first-ever two-state RSVP will enable the citizens, business leaders and public officials in the rural communities, which have interconnected economies, to implement a long-term regional development plan. 

The nine-month project is supported by a grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation, which funds community revitalization strategies, arts and cultural activities, and conservation and outdoor recreation projects in Chattanooga and the surrounding region.

The RSVP is a component of the Georgia Downtown Renaissance Partnership, a community revitalization initiative with the Georgia Municipal Association, the Georgia Cities Foundation, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and other partners.

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and his staff have worked with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government since the initial discussions about this project. A longtime proponent of economic development initiatives like the RSVP, Ralston’s district includes McCaysville and Fannin County.

“Initiatives like this combine private-sector resources with public-sector expertise to revitalize downtowns to generate economic activity and create jobs,” Ralston said. “I am excited about the potential of this project, particularly when we are investing in McCaysville and the surrounding area with more than half a million dollars in state funding for streetscapes and (McCaysville) City Park as well as the ongoing work on widening Highway 5.”

In the past five years, the Institute of Government has helped 16 other Georgia cities implement downtown revitalization strategies through the RSVP program.

“Strengthening communities and promoting economic development throughout our home state are central to the University of Georgia’s mission as a land-grant institution,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “We are excited about this partnership and the positive impact it will make.”

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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.