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Morehead reappointed to NCAA leadership posts

University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead has been reappointed to the NCAA board of governors and to a third term as chair of the NCAA Division 1 board of directors for the 2023-2024 academic year.

The NCAA board of governors is the highest governing body in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. It is tasked with overseeing association-wide issues and ensuring that each division operates in accordance with NCAA policies and principles. The NCAA Division 1 board of directors is responsible for overseeing strategy and policy as well as management of the division, which consists of more than 350 member schools and 170,000 student-athletes.

Morehead has served on both NCAA governing bodies since 2020 and as chair of the Division 1 board of directors since 2021. He is also a member of the National Football Foundation board of trustees and immediate past president of the Southeastern Conference.

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Mini Medical Camp inspires local students

Carla Tipiani-Tumen, a rising junior at Clarke Central High School, is working toward her goal of becoming a psychiatrist. She is taking health classes at the Athens Community Career Academy and is learning about the medical profession.

When she signed up for the University of Georgia’s Mini Medical Camp, she knew she would learn more about the path to medical school. But she was excited to find herself practicing sutures and interacting with a simulated patient.

Tipiani-Tumen joined about 30 other high school students this summer for a June session of UGA’s Mini Medical Camp. The weeklong program is offered five times throughout the summer to groups of 30 middle or high school students. University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education has offered Mini-Medical School camp through Summer Academy since 2008. The collaboration with Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership expanded the curriculum and enabled medical partnership students to provide instruction.

“We founded the camp because we wanted to create a place where kids felt welcome in medicine, letting them know that this is a field for them,” said Tai Sherman, the Medical Partnership’s campus director for external affairs. “We wanted to give them an introduction to the field of medicine that was engaging, welcoming and empowering.”

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UGA works to restore native plants to roadside areas

Native plants installed by the State Botanical Garden of Georgia at the University of Georgia near the GA-10 Loop in Athens are changing the area from being covered in kudzu back to a more natural state.

The project, funded by Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful, was planted in November 2021. Volunteers from the State Botanical Garden, Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful, the Georgia Department of Transportation and students from the UGA College of Environment and Design all pitched in to plant the area along the entrance ramp next to the GA-10 Loop at Milledge Avenue.

In total, 22 native plant species are planted at the site, including butterflyweed, Asclepias tuberosa; purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea; black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia fulgida; and Carolina lupine, Thermopsis villosa. 

Zach Wood, the grasslands coordinator at the State Botanical Garden, said all the plants chosen for the project are native to Georgia. He said they selected hardy species of plants they felt pretty confident would survive.

“Native plants function to support their ecosystem, and that’s important because our roadsides are turning into monocultures of non-native species that don’t support our native wildlife,” Wood said. He added that non-native species don’t filter water as well as native species, which is significant on roadsides to handle stormwater runoff.

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Innovation Bootcamps help Athens entrepreneurs grow and thrive

Athens is a town known for arts, creativity and a vibrant collection of independent businesses. It is also home to the birthplace of public higher education in America: the University of Georgia.  Located at the intersection of downtown Athens and UGA’s North Campus is the Innovation District, a thriving hub for collaboration, problem-solving and entrepreneurship.

The Truist Community Innovation Initiative, established by a 2021 grant from the Truist Foundation, provides access to the resources, expertise and programs within UGA’s Innovation District for aspiring Athens-Clarke County entrepreneurs and startups.

One of the key educational programs within the Truist Community Innovation Initiative is the Innovation Bootcamp.  Considered to be an on-ramp to entrepreneurship, Innovation Bootcamps help participants clarify goals, streamline pitches and build leadership skills. Truist’s grant supports two seven-week Innovation Bootcamps each year for cohorts of 20-30 entrepreneurs at no cost to the participants.

“The goal of Innovation Bootcamp is to teach community entrepreneurs the basics of leading a successful business and introduce them to resources available to them both on campus and in the ACC community,” said Allyson Hester, the Innovation Bootcamp program manager. “Thanks to the sponsorship from the Truist Foundation, Innovation Bootcamp is able to offer education, mentorship, coaching, direction and resources without cost to individuals in the community who are interested in potentially starting a business but aren’t sure how to begin.”

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UGA selects first vice provost for enrollment management

Following a nationwide search, the University of Georgia has named Andy Borst Vice Provost for Enrollment Management for the University of Georgia, effective Aug. 7, 2023. 

Borst, most recently director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Illinois Urbana/ Champaign, is recognized as a national expert on enrollment and is often cited on topics related to college admissions and ethical considerations in enrollment in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and other news outlets. He has 20 years of experience in higher education, including 12 years serving in a senior leadership role in enrollment management. 

This new position will be UGA’s chief enrollment officer, and will provide vision, leadership and strategic direction in the development and attainment of enrollment priorities for the university. As Vice Provost for Enrollment Management, Borst will oversee enrollment management related to undergraduate, graduate, professional, and online education, working with senior leadership to develop strategic enrollment plans, monitor enrollments and matriculation, and plan for resource implications. Borst also will supervise the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid. He will report to Marisa Anne Pagnattaro, Vice President for Instruction & Senior Vice Provost for Academic Planning.

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UGA three-year fundraising average hits record $235.1 million

Donors have long been a powerful source of progressat the University of Georgia, and the past year was no exception. Private donations to UGA in fiscal year 2023 reached $242.8 million, the second-highest fundraising total in the university’s history.

“I want to express my sincere thanks to each and every donor for helping us continue to elevate the University of Georgia to new heights,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “UGA would be a vastly different place without the generous support of our alumni, friends and the UGA Foundation. Private giving helps faculty members raise the bar in their fields, helps connect communities across Georgia to university resources, and helps students achieve things they never thought possible.”

From July 2022 to June 2023, 71,223 donors contributed to UGA, resulting in the third consecutive year—and sixth year of the last seven—that donations have surpassed $200 million. The university’s three-year rolling average, which averages the three most recent years of giving, rose to a record $235.1 million—the third consecutive year this number has risen and the sixth consecutive year it has exceeded $200 million.

Over the course of the year, donors endowed 16 faculty positions, bringing UGA’s total to 356, and created 158 scholarship funds. In total, private giving established 301 endowed funds, which will provide reliable, long-term funding to a multitude of areas at the university.

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Alumni Association reveals 2023 class of 40 Under 40

The University of Georgia Alumni Association has unveiled the 40 Under 40 Class of 2023, a group that includes a Country Music Award-winning musician, a New York Times bestselling author, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Public Health Service and more.

40 Under 40 celebrates the personal, professional and philanthropic achievements of successful UGA graduates under the age of 40. The honorees will be recognized during the 13th annual 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon on campus this fall.

“We are excited to recognize this year’s 40 Under 40 class and celebrate their achievements in Athens,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, UGA’s executive director of alumni relations. “I am continually impressed by the leadership and service of these young alumni within their communities and industries across the country.”

Nominations for 40 Under 40 were open from February to March, and the alumni association received hundreds of nominations. Honorees must have attended UGA and uphold the three pillars of the Arch: wisdom, justice and moderation. Additional criteria are available on the UGA Alumni website.

“Across their industries, these graduates represent the pillars of the Arch and the Bulldog spirit as they lead the charge to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges,” said Johnson. “We are so proud of their accomplishments and are pleased to welcome them back to Athens.”

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UGA receives $18.5M from sale of Lake Blackshear property

A wooded parcel of land on South Georgia’s Lake Blackshear has netted a sizable gift for a school at the University of Georgia.

The 2,500-acre property recently sold for $18.5 million to an undisclosed buyer. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, which received the land as a donation from businessman Charles Wheatley in 1989.

“After years of stewardship, we felt the market was in a good place,” said Warnell’s dean, Dale Greene. “We are very pleased with the outcome, and the funds from the sale will be transformative for our school as we prepare the next generation of foresters and natural resources professionals.”

The school plans to create three separate funds from the land sale. One fund will be dedicated to building updates and modernization efforts of the campus facilities in Athens. The other two funds will be established as endowments to allow the school to benefit in perpetuity. One endowed fund will support research, such as funding for post-doctoral positions and equipment, while the other will enhance student learning through the hiring of additional instructors and teaching assistants, as well as technology improvements.

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Vinson Institute spurs economic growth in Gainesville

It’s no secret that Gainesville, Georgia, is growing. With $318 million in private investment in downtown and the Midland area in just the last five years, the city is capitalizing on a unique strategic planning process developed by the University of Georgia Vinson Institute of Government.

Most recently, the area received $4.4 million in funding from the governor’s office to support projects in “A Vision for the Athens Street and 129 South Corridors,” a community-driven plan focused on increasing greenspace and connectivity released last year by the UGA Institute of Government.

The city of Gainesville and Hall County will receive $2.2 million each, part of an overall package of more than $225 million for 142 projects across the state, to improve neighborhood assets like parks, recreation facilities and sidewalks in communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

It’s just the latest success in a relationship that began 10 years ago, when the city first sought expert assistance from the UGA Institute of Government for a master plan for its downtown. The resulting Downtown Gainesville Renaissance Strategic Vision and Plan set the tone for the city’s progress and remains a vital resource, said Rusty Ligon, community and economic development director.

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A conversation with President Jere W. Morehead

On July 1, Jere W. Morehead JD ’80 concluded his 10th year as president of the University of Georgia. To mark the occasion, Georgia Magazine sat down with UGA’s 22nd president to discuss some highlights of the past decade and where the university is headed.

Georgia Magazine: Congratulations on celebrating your 10th anniversary as president of the University of Georgia. In those 10 years, what are the accomplishments of which you are most proud?

President Jere W. Morehead: The past decade has been a remarkable period of achievement for our university.

What I’m most proud of is that UGA has reached new levels of excellence in every facet of its mission. We’ve been ranked among the top 20 public universities for seven consecutive years, and the number of applications for admission has more than doubled.

Three out of four UGA students now complete their degrees in four years—a completion rate 13% higher than a decade ago—and our six-year completion rate has reached 88%. We also launched initiatives like the experiential learning requirement and the Double Dawgs program.

Annual R&D expenditures have risen more than 50%, surpassing half a billion dollars. UGA also recently received the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ highest award for public service.

Our university community has come together like never before to push UGA to record heights, and I am incredibly proud of our accomplishments.