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UGA among top 10 public universities doing the most for low-income students

The University of Georgia is ranked 10th among public universities in the 2015 New York Times College Access Index.

The index, which ranks UGA 24th among all universities, is based on the share of students who receive Pell grants, the graduation rate of those students and the cost of attendance for low- and middle-income students.

"The University of Georgia strives to make its world-class education accessible to students from all economic backgrounds," said President Jere W. Morehead. "While we have much left to do, I am pleased that our efforts are being recognized."

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UGA College of Public Health to celebrate 10th anniversary

In honor of its 10th anniversary, the University of Georgia's College of Public Health will welcome students, alumni and community guests to the UGA Health Sciences Campus Oct. 5. A full slate of afternoon events open to the public will be punctuated by a 5 p.m. program and reception at Miller Parade Grounds.

The 10th anniversary celebration will include a keynote address from Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services under President George H.W. Bush, as well as comments from Harrison Spencer, president of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.

Established in 2005, the college became the first accredited college of public health within the University System of Georgia and was seen as an integral piece of the state's broader efforts to improve population health. The college began moving its various programs and departments to the Health Sciences Campus in 2012, establishing itself as that campus's principal occupant and energizing a growing health corridor in Athens-Clarke County.

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UGA Athletic Association helps recruit and retain the very best faculty

The University of Georgia Athletic Association is playing a leading role in the university's effort to increase the number of endowed faculty positions.

For many years, the association has provided an annual contribution to the UGA Foundation to support significant institutional priorities. The contributions, ranging in recent years between $4 million and $5 million, have totaled more than $28 million since fiscal year 2007. A significant portion of these funds—approximately $7.5 million—has been used to establish endowed Georgia Athletic Association professorships.

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University of Georgia receives national diversity award for second consecutive year

The University of Georgia has received national recognition for its efforts to foster an inclusive, diverse campus for the second year in a row as a 2015 recipient of the INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award.

The HEED Award is the only designation of its kind awarded to institutions that exhibit outstanding efforts and success in the area of diversity and inclusion throughout their campuses.

"The university is pleased to receive, once again, this important recognition for the diversity of our campus community," said President Jere W. Morehead. "The University of Georgia strives to cultivate an environment where individuals from all backgrounds feel valued and supported. We are pleased to be recognized for our efforts to create a positive and inclusive academic community."

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Lew Hunnicutt named assistant provost and UGA-Griffin director

Lew K. Hunnicutt, an administrator who oversees two campuses of Frank Phillips College in Texas, has been named assistant provost and campus director at the University of Georgia's Griffin campus.

Hunnicutt, whose appointment at UGA is effective Nov. 1, is currently the vice president of extended services at Frank Phillips College in the Texas Panhandle, where he is responsible for the operation of branch campuses in Perryton and Dalhart and where he oversees extended education programs such as continuing education and corporate development.

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UGA MBA program rises in rankings

Forbes magazine released its biannual MBA program ranking earlier today, once again recognizing the University of Georgia Terry College of Business among the nation's best business schools.

The Terry College MBA program ranks 19th among public institutions (No. 36 overall) in the 2015 Forbes rankings, up from 24th among public schools (49th overall) in 2013.

The Forbes rankings are based on the return on investment over five years by graduates of the class of 2010.

"I am proud that our MBA program continues to provide an excellent return on investment to our graduates," said Terry College Dean Benjamin C. Ayers. "The career success of our former students is one of the surest signs that our program delivers on its promise of a world-class business education."

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U.S. News & World Report again ranks UGA among nations best public universities

The University of Georgia continues to rank as one of the nation's top public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report, which placed UGA 21st on its list of 2016 Best Public Universities, released today.

On the Best National Universities list, which is traditionally dominated by private institutions, UGA moved up to 61st this year and tied with Syracuse University, Southern Methodist University, Purdue University and Clemson University. UGA tied with two institutions for the No. 21 spot among public universities, and no public university was ranked 20th this year due to ties.

"The University of Georgia consistently ranks among the nation's best public research universities," said President Jere W. Morehead, "and I am excited about the future of our institution as we implement a number of transformative initiatives—including an experiential learning requirement—to further enhance the world-class education we provide."

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UGA microbiologists describe new insights into human neurodegenerative disease

Microbiology researchers at the University of Georgia studying a soil bacterium have identified a potential mechanism for neurodegenerative diseases.

A role for the protein HSD10 had been suspected in patients with Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, but no direct connection had previously been established. This new breakthrough suggests that HSD10 reduces oxidative stress, promotes cell repair and prevents cellular death.

The authors first discovered that an enzyme related to HSD10, CsgA, produces energy during sporulation in the bacterium Myxococcus xanthus. Spores enable cells to survive under nutrient-limiting conditions and can be thought of as the bacterial version of plant seeds. CsgA was found to degrade the phospholipid cardiolipin into fragments that were used as energy sources during sporulation much the same way humans produce and burn fat. Though normally a component of the lipid layer surrounding the cells, cardiolipin becomes dispensable as cells shrink to become spores.

The study was published Sept. 3 in the early online edition of Genes & Development.

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Doctoral candidate receives two honors

Denisa Gándara, a doctoral candidate in the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia, has recently received two prestigious honors. She is one of 33 students nationally awarded a 2015 Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, and she is also one of nine students receiving support from a minority dissertation fellowship program of the American Educational Research Association.

The Ford Foundation fellowship provides one year of support to individuals working toward completing their dissertations. The fellowships are awarded through a national competition administered by the National Research Council of the National Academies on behalf of the Ford Foundation. The award is given to individuals who have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

The AERA award provides funding for travel expenses to attend the 2016 AERA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., where recipients will present their research in an invited dissertation poster session, along with awardees from other prestigious fellowship programs. Members of the AERA Minority Fellowship Selection Committee will meet with the new awardees at a mentoring and career development workshop held during the annual meeting.

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UGA receives $2.99 million grant for graduate training program in disease ecology

The University of Georgia has received a five-year, $2.99 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop an interdisciplinary graduate training program in disease ecology.

Led by Vanessa Ezenwa, associate professor in the Odum School of Ecology and College of Veterinary Medicine's department of infectious diseases, the program will provide students with the skills to solve complex problems in an increasingly high priority field—and, in the process, transform the way graduate students are educated at UGA and beyond.

The grant is part of the new NSF Research Traineeship program, which was established to support innovative—and transferable—models for interdisciplinary graduate education in the areas of science, engineering and math, with a focus on critical research needs.