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Arthur Tripp Jr. named assistant to the president at UGA

University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead will welcome Arthur Tripp Jr. to his staff on Nov. 11 as assistant to the president. Tripp currently serves as senior policy adviser for Rep. David Scott, who represents Georgia's 13th Congressional District in Washington, D.C.

"I am very pleased that Arthur is joining our staff," Morehead said. "His extensive involvement as a student leader at UGA and his significant professional experience on Capitol Hill have prepared him well for this important position. He will be an outstanding addition to the president's office, and I look forward to his contributions."

In his new role as assistant to the president, Tripp's primary responsibilities will be focused on student affairs and diversity relations. He also will serve as the liaison to the Staff Council, Retirees Association and Board of Visitors, as well as represent the Office of the President in the planning of several annual campus events.

"It is truly an honor to join the Office of the President," Tripp said. "There is no greater privilege than to serve the administration, faculty, staff, students and alumni of UGA as assistant to the president. I look forward to supporting President Morehead and his vision for this great institution."

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Debate teams win Vanderbilt college debate tournament

The Georgia Debate Union, which organizes and fields competitive policy debate teams at the University of Georgia, emerged victorious at the 2015 Vanderbilt intercollegiate debate tournament held in Nashville, Tennessee. The tournament featured over 50 teams from nearly 20 colleges and universities. Two teams representing the Georgia Debate Union "closed out" in finals, meaning they won each respective side of their elimination round brackets and tied for first place at the tournament.

Teams from the same school typically do not debate each other.

The team of Tucker Boyce, a junior from Alpharetta, and Nathan Rice, a freshman from Roswell, won every one of its debates at the tournament, including wins over Emory University, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, the University of Kentucky and the University of Florida. Boyce earned first speaker at the tournament, while Rice earned second speaker.

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School of Law leads in bar exam passage rate

The University of Georgia School of Law saw a higher percentage of its graduates pass the July 2015 administration of the state bar exam than any other law school in the state. UGA led both public and private law schools with regard to first-time takers and overall exam takers.

"Our highest priority as a law school is to provide students with the knowledge and experience they need to be successful in their careers. These results send a clear signal that we are achieving that goal," Georgia Law Dean Peter B. "Bo" Rutledge said. "I want to commend our faculty for their dedication to first-rate legal training and our students for their commitment to learning- both of which greatly factor into success on the exam."

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Researchers discover mechanism that could lead to better ovarian cancer treatment

Resistance to chemotherapy is a major problem for those suffering from ovarian cancer—a problem that prevents a cure from a disease dubbed the "silent killer." University of Georgia researchers are giving patients new hope with recent findings that help pinpoint the mechanisms causing chemoresistance.

Over the last five years, UGA College of Pharmacy associate professors Mandi Murph and Shelley Hooks have discovered that a type of protein known as RGS10 impacts the effectiveness of ovarian cancer chemotherapy. Murph also discovered that mTOR signaling, a protein encoded by the mTOR gene, drives the effects of RGS10.

Resistance to chemotherapy that was previously very effective is a major roadblock that prevents better outcomes in this disease. Finding mTOR as the mechanism of RGS10's effects could help explain the unique features of chemoresistant cancer cells.

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UGA sets record high freshman retention rate

The University of Georgia has set a record in a key measure of student success: Its freshman retention rate increased by a full percentage point from 2014 to 2015 to reach 95.2 percent.

The freshman retention rate measures the percentage of a school's first-time, first-year undergraduate students who continue at that school the next year. The national average for public, four-year institutions is 80 percent, and UGA's 95 percent retention rate places it among the nation's top universities in this measure.

"We continue to invest in faculty, staff and innovative programs to ensure that students at Georgia's flagship university have an unparalleled learning experience," said President Jere W. Morehead. "Our high retention rate is one sign that these investments are having a positive impact on student success."

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UGA only university in nation with two recipients of Beckman Award for teaching excellence

Two University of Georgia professors-Dawn D. Bennett-Alexander in the Terry College of Business and Melisa "Misha" Cahnmann-Taylor in the College of Education-are among 10 professors nationwide to be honored with a 2015 Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award for teaching excellence.

The award honors faculty members "who have inspired their former students to make a significant contribution to society," and UGA is the only university in the nation with two 2015 recipients. Bennett-Alexander and Cahnmann-Taylor will each receive a $25,000 award and will be honored at a Nov. 14 ceremony at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta.

"To have two winners of the Beckman Award in the same year is an outstanding accomplishment for the university," said President Jere W. Morehead.

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Karri Hobson-Pape named vice president for marketing and communications at UGA

Karri Hobson-Pape, co-founder and partner at Inflexion Point Marketing Group in Atlanta, has been named vice president for marketing and communications at the University of Georgia. The appointment was announced today by UGA President Jere W. Morehead.

"Karri brings the ideal combination of professional experience and strategic vision required to advance the institution's critical marketing and communications functions," Morehead said. "I look forward to working with her as a member of the university's senior leadership team."

Hobson-Pape's appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2016. She succeeds Tom Jackson, who became heritage communications executive with the University System of Georgia earlier this year.

As vice president for marketing and communications, Hobson-Pape will report directly to Morehead and will oversee the Division of Marketing and Communications, currently known as the Public Affairs Division. The office comprises four departments: news service, publications, broadcast/video/photography and the Visitors Center, as well as WUGA-FM. Under Hobson-Pape's direction, the division will serve as the central communications and marketing unit at UGA.

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Georgia Writers Hall of Fame to induct four new members Nov. 9

The environment and civil rights will be the focus of this year's Georgia Writers Hall of Fame ceremony events Nov. 8 and 9 at the University of Georgia.

Taylor Branch and Janisse Ray will be inducted into the hall Nov. 9, along with posthumous honorees Vereen Bell and Paul Hemphill. The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. All events are in the auditorium of the UGA Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

"The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame celebrates our state's literary tradition, and this year we are proud to induct four outstanding Georgia writers," said Toby Graham, university librarian and associate provost. Branch is best known for his landmark history of the civil rights era. Ray's writing is deeply influenced by the natural world. Bell's fiction first brought the Okefenokee Swamp into the national consciousness, and Paul Hemphill explored themes related to the working class South.

"Our programming will focus on the topics of civil rights and the environment, ones that connect this year's inductees and that are of particular relevance to Georgia," Graham said.

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UGA engineering program to train students to look to nature for solutions

Researchers at the University of Georgia and James Madison University want students to draw inspiration from nature as they look for solutions to complex engineering challenges. The two universities have received assistance from the National Science Foundation to develop instructional resources centered on the concept of biologically inspired design, known as biomimicry, in engineering curricula.

The two-year collaboration will be led by Ramana Pidaparti, a professor and associate dean for academic programs in the UGA College of Engineering, and Jacquelyn Nagel, an assistant professor of engineering at JMU.

Nature has developed clever solutions for incredibly complex problems, Pidaparti explained. As examples, a leaf is able to convert sunlight and water into usable energy while a shark's skin possesses a unique texture that doesn't allow bacteria and other organisms to gain a foothold. With mankind facing increasingly complicated questions, scientists are turning to the natural world for answers through the study of biomimicry.

"The focus of our project is to provide students with experiences that combine biological concepts with engineering solutions," Pidaparti said. "We need to look to biological systems that have evolved over billions of years to find answers to engineering challenges of the future."

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UGA iGEM team wins gold at international synthetic biology competition

The University of Georgia's iGEM—International Genetically Engineered Machine—team won a gold medal and was runner-up for the best measurement project award at the 2015 iGEM Giant Jamboree in Boston, Massachusetts.

iGEM is an annual international collegiate synthetic biology competition originated by MIT. The 2015 event included 280 iGEM teams and more than 2,700 attendees from across the globe. The competition seeks to promote synthetic biology research awareness and collaborations to develop practical solutions for the real world. The teams are judged on their research novelty, impact toward real world solutions, outreach, collaborations and more.