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UGA alumni chosen for Songwriters Hall of Fame

The Songwriters Hall of Fame has announced its class of 2018, and two Bulldogs are on the list. UGA alumni Bill Anderson ABJ ’59 and Steve Dorff ABJ ’71 are two of the 10 songwriters and musicians to be welcomed into the hall of fame this year, alongside household names like Alan Jackson and John Mellencamp.

The inductees will be celebrated at the Hall of Fame’s 49th annual induction and awards ceremony in New York. Anderson, who grew up outside of Atlanta, is not only an accomplished songwriter but also a world-renowned country singer, earning the famed nickname “Whisperin’Bill” for his soft vocal style. His songwriting credits include collaborations with artists like Conway Twitty, Kenny Chesney, and Brad Paisley. Dorff is a popular songwriter and composer who has written songs for artists like George Strait and Kenny Rogers. His career has included both country and popular music credits, alongside many compositions for film and television. He is a three-time Grammy and six-time Emmy nominee.

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WSB takes an insightful tour of UGA's Cortona campus

Legendary sportscaster Chuck Dowdle visited UGA’s campus in Cortona, Italy, where students gain valuable international learning experiences. He provides an inside look at the city and our satellite campus. This segment aired Saturday, June 2 on WSB-TV. Click here to watch the video.

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Morehead elected to SEC Executive Committee

University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead has been elected to the Southeastern Conference Executive Committee. The election took place June 1 during the conference’s annual spring meeting in Destin, Florida.

The seven-member Executive Committee is composed of three university presidents, two faculty athletics representatives, a senior woman administrator, and an athletic director. The primary responsibility of the committee is to oversee the financial and fiscal affairs of the SEC, including approving the annual operating budget of the conference.

Morehead also continues to represent the SEC as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Presidential Forum. He formerly chaired the SEC Working Group on Compliance, Enforcement, and Governance and served on the SEC Working Group on Student-Athlete Conduct.

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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.”