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UGAs Odum School of Ecology to hold graduate student symposium Jan. 16-17

The 21st annual Graduate Student Symposium at the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology will be held Friday, Jan. 16 and Saturday, Jan. 17 in the ecology auditorium. A showcase for student research, the symposium is free and open to the public.

The symposium, which is organized and run by Odum School graduate students, provides an opportunity for ecology students at all levels to give professional presentations about their original research.

This year’s event features 35 oral presentations by graduate students and 11 posters by undergraduates. Oral presentations will take place Jan. 16 from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and Jan. 17 from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Undergraduate poster sessions will be held Jan. 16 from 12-2 p.m. and 4:45-7 p.m. in the Odum School’s lobby.

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Former judge Glenda Hatchett to deliver 2015 Holmes-Hunter Lecture at UGA

Glenda Hatchett, best-known for her nationally syndicated show “Judge Hatchett” and now a senior attorney with the Hatchett Firm, will deliver the 2015 Holmes-Hunter Lecture Feb. 6 at 2 p.m. in the University of Georgia Chapel.

Hatchett, a former chief presiding judge of the Fulton County Juvenile Court, was the first African-American chief presiding judge of a state court in Georgia and head of one of the largest juvenile court systems in the country. She left her post in Fulton County to preside over her two-time Emmy nominated show, “Judge Hatchett,” for 13 seasons. “Judge Hatchett” won a Prism Award for Best Unscripted Non-Fiction Series or Special for Television.

A graduate of Mt. Holyoke College and the Emory University School of Law, Hatchett completed a federal clerkship in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia. She then spent nearly 10 years at Delta Air Lines, where she was the airline’s highest-ranking woman of color worldwide, serving both as senior attorney and public relations manager. She left the corporation to work in Fulton County.

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Retired UGA professor Gary Bertsch will receive the 2015 UGA Presidents Medal during Founders Day

Retired University of Georgia professor Gary Bertsch will receive the 2015 UGA President’s Medal during Founders Day activities in January.

The President’s Medal recognizes extraordinary contributions of former employees who have supported students and academic programs, advanced research and inspired community leaders to enhance Georgians’ quality of life.

Bertsch served on the UGA faculty from 1969-2010. After serving as an undergraduate adviser in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and undergraduate director and graduate director in the political science department, he became the founding director in 1987 of the Center for International Trade and Security, a UGA-based program conducting international research, teaching and outreach to promote economic prosperity, international peace and security. CITS is recognized worldwide and has generated more than $30 million in external funding.

He was designated a University Professor in 1995, the highest recognition of his endeavors on behalf of the university’s mission. He served on the board of trustees of the University of Georgia Foundation from 1994-2004 and the board of directors of the University of Georgia Research Foundation from 1987-1997.

“Dr. Bertsch has been a wonderful member of the University of Georgia community for more than 45 years, and he has made significant contributions to the institution,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “His commitment to the university’s core missions of teaching, research and service are evident in the many accolades he has earned during his distinguished career. This latest recognition is well deserved.”

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UGA researchers awarded grant to study impact of painkiller abuse policies

State policies that curb the abuse of opioid prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin may be having some unintended side effects—and hurting those who need the medications the most.

Researchers in the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs are using a $150,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to evaluate whether prescription drug monitoring programs in place in most states are keeping patients who need opioids from receiving them. The grant program, through the foundation’s Public Health Law Research program, is designed to provide funding for studies that analyze or evaluate laws and their effect on public health.

“With prescription drug monitoring programs covering nearly every state, they have the potential to have a widespread effect on people’s access to important therapies for pain, yet no one has analyzed the relationship between the monitoring programs and pain management,” said Courtney Yarbrough, a second year doctoral student in the department of public administration and policy. “The grant gives us the opportunity to explore the implications of these laws in detail and to provide objective information to policymakers and states as they continue to update their programs.”

Yarbrough and W. David Bradford, the George D. Busbee Chair in Public Policy in the Department of Public Administration and Policy, are collaborators on the grant.

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Lawmakers explore 2014 legislative agenda during 29th Biennial Institute

Members of the Georgia General Assembly convened in Athens Dec. 7–9 for the 29th Biennial Institute for Georgia Legislators, coordinated by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government to help lawmakers prepare for the next legislative cycle.

More than 200 members of the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate attended presentations at the UGA Hotel and Conference Center covering economic development and other significant issues. The three-day event culminated with an address by Gov. Nathan Deal, who outlined his policy priorities for the coming year.

Since its inception in 1958, the Biennial Institute has been coordinated by UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government and continues to be an anticipated event on the Georgia political calendar.

As in past years, the 2014 Biennial Institute offered the first opportunity following the elections for veteran and freshman legislators to come together as a group in advance of the legislative session, which begins Jan. 12.

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UGA launches crowdfunding platform, exceeds goal for #GivingTuesday

The University of Georgia recently launched a new crowdfunding platform called the GeorgiaFunder, which aims to raise relatively small donations from a large group of people to directly benefit UGA programs and organizations.

The pilot crowdfunding initiative exceeded its goals on #GivingTuesday, a national day of philanthropy Dec. 2., by raising more than $29,000 from 220 donors. The effort exceeded the day’s goal of $25,000 and more than doubled last year’s amount. Gifts will benefit university-wide initiatives, school or college support funds or other specific interests.

The GeorgiaFunder is modeled after other Web-based commercial services such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. These initiatives rely on social networks and can spread quickly through social media, e-mail, websites and other grassroots forms of communications.

Learn more about UGA crowdfunding initiatives at giving.uga.edu/funder.

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UGA dance performance to feature emerging student choreographers

The University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of dance will present the Emerging Choreographers Informal Showing on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. in the New Dance Theatre in the dance building on Sanford Drive.

The showing marks the second performance of the annual fall semester Young Choreographers Series, which premieres choreographic works by UGA dance majors. The works reflect each choreographer’s creative process, movement vocabulary and artistic perspective.

“After working all semester conceiving a choreographic idea, developing vocabulary and then crafting that material in space and time with dancers, it is always quite interesting to see the variety of works that manifest,” said Rebecca Gose, an associate professor of dance.

The students prepared the pieces within either the Young Choreographers’ Lab or Dance Composition I course. The works count toward the students’ fulfillment of their bachelor’s or bachelor’s of fine arts degrees in dance.

Tickets are $5. Advance tickets can be purchased at the Tate Student Center Cashier’s Window, the Performing Arts Center Box Office, online at www.pac.uga.edu or by calling 706-542-4400. Tickets will be available at the door beginning an hour before each performance.

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UGA marks beginning of Baldwin Hall expansion, renovation project

University of Georgia administrators, students and state legislators took shovels to ground today to mark the beginning of a project that will expand and renovate the historic Baldwin Hall.

The roughly $8 million project, with funding approved by the Georgia General Assembly, includes construction of a 10,800-square-foot Baldwin Hall Annex and renovations to the existing building. Work on the addition is slated to begin in June and run through May 2016. Renovations are expected to be complete in September 2016.

Built in 1938, Baldwin Hall has served as a Navy pre-flight school during World War II and home to several UGA academic programs. The building currently houses the School of Public and International Affairs as well as the departments of sociology and anthropology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

“Some of the most salient questions regarding our democracy, our national security and our evolving global society are examined through the academic programs housed in Baldwin Hall,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead.

“The University of Georgia and the state of Georgia benefit profoundly from the academic work that is performed here every day, and we are excited about this opportunity to enhance Baldwin Hall so that these programs may reach new heights of excellence in teaching, research and service.”

The Georgia General Assembly was represented at the groundbreaking by David Ralston, speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives; David Shafer, president pro tempore of the Georgia state Senate; Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn); Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) and Rep. Chuck Williams (R-Watkinsville).

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UGA School of Law teams named finalists at two competitions

Two University of Georgia School of Law teams recently finished as finalists in the 15th Annual William W. Daniel National Invitational Mock Trial Competition and the Fifth Annual Mercer University School of Law Legal Ethics and Professionalism Moot Court Competition.

The mock trial team consisted of third-year students Joshua H. Dorminy of Darien; Whitney T. Judson of Fayetteville; Patrick A. Najjar of Stone Mountain; and Andrew M. Whittaker of Grovetown; and second-year student Meredith A. Gardial of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Only 18 schools are invited to compete in this competition, named in honor of the late Judge William W. Daniel of the Superior Court of Fulton County. The Georgia Law students triumphed over teams from Texas Southern University, the University of Illinois, Michigan State University and Emory University before facing Georgia State University in the final round.

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UGA cost savings being reinvested in sustainability initiatives

The University of Georgia continues to provide sustainability leadership through reinvestment in student engagement and resource conservation initiatives. UGA President Jere W. Morehead has approved a proposal to redirect $80,000 in annual savings garnered through efforts by the Office of Sustainability to further engage students and conserve resources—without increasing the student green fee.

The proposal first was presented to and endorsed by UGA’s Mandatory Student Fee Advisory Committee comprised of UGA students, faculty and staff on Nov.18.