Category: Alumni

LDSOA alums in residence at Bemis Center

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Plakas1.jpgCongratulations to Rachel Dubuque (MFA '13) and Justin Plakas (MFA '12) who were selected to live and work at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NB this summer:

The two are part of an international group of 18 artists who were selected out of a pool of 800, working on individual projects for a funded cycle of three months.

"It has been an amazingly transformative experience," Plakas said.

Art Maymester in NYC

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NYCCOMBO.jpgMore on this soon, but 30 students (graduate and undergraduate) in the Lamar Dodd School of Art enjoyed a great experience on a new Maymester program in the spring - a field study in New York City. Students had the opportunity to visit all the big museums plus a number of galleries throughout the city, interact with many UGA alumni as well as incoming LDSOA director Chris Garvin. Now that's a fun way to learn.

Image collage courtesy of Marni Shindelman.

Franklin alumnus, former POW gives perspective on Bergdahl’s release

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Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 3.36.43 PM.pngA Franklin College alumnus is at the forefront of national news this week, offering a unique perspective on the recent release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity.  Col. Lee Ellis, a UGA history graduate (A.B. ‘65) and retired Air Force Colonel, was a POW during the Vietnam War for five-and-a-half years. In interviews with CBS News and CNN, Ellis recounts his own experience and offers his take on what challenges may lie ahead for Bergdahl.

Ellis, who was held captive alongside others including Senator John McCain during his service in the military, offers sound advice for Bergdahl’s family and friends: 

What helped for Ellis was never giving up hope.

"I think you always survive everything one day at a time. You keep walking forward until you come out the other side. Hope is so important."

He said Bergdahl will also have to find people who understand and can relate to what he's been through.

"Life is not easy for any of us, and he's going to have to work through those experiences also. And that's where he's going to need help, and I would say he's probably going to need some counseling. That would be good for him and helping him because he's probably going to have some degree of PTSD also."

While Ellis was held captive in Vietnam with others, Bergdahl was a lone prisoner, and this could factor into his recovery, Ellis said.

"We had a couple of guys that were in China, held for more than five years and several were in solitary confinement for several years, but they did know there was some support around. I think for Bowe, it's going to be much more difficult because he was so alone, and knowing who to trust, who not to trust and just feeling safe and letting his hair down a little bit - I do think it will complicate it significantly."

Ellis is stepping forward to help the public understand and provide context at a critical moment in history. Another great example of a Franklin College graduate’s contribution to the world. Bravo! You can read more about Ellis here or visit his blog here.

Alums We Love

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chris-bilheimerWe love all of our alums and play no favorites here - and we especially love when our graduates and their exploits find their way into the media, as is the case today with great friend of the blog, Chris Bilheimer:

For more than two decades Chris Bilheimer has designed album covers, concert posters, rock T-shirts and more as art director for R.E.M. and freelancer for other bands, notably Green Day, Widespread Panic and Neutral Milk Hotel. Now he’s entered the fashion realm as the creative force behind Helm Boots’ redesign. This spring, the Austin, Texas-based brand unveiled a new logo, website, packaging, store signage and point-of-sale materials. “The original look had a pretty heavy Americana feel to it, and part of the vision was to move away from beating you over the head that it’s made in America,” said Bilheimer, whose wife, Hillary, is Helm’s brand manager. “With what they plan to do in the future, I tried to give them an identity that has a more modern feel.” Bilheimer studied drawing and painting at University of Georgia in Athens...

It's short, you can read it all. The Lamar Dodd School of Art has brought many great people to Athens and UGA, acted as a petri dish for their talents, and loosened them upon a the wider populace to achieve great success. We're proud of Chris and so many others. The people who come here to live, study and work are what make our town and the university what they are.

A brush with royalty

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matt sellers_PCMarshall Scholar and Franklin College alumnus Matt Sellers (BA ’12) recently attended a reception with Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and Honorary Patron of the Association of Marshall Scholars, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Marshall Scholarships.

At the reception, held at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, the Prince of Wales awarded several Marshall Medals to individuals of outstanding achievement. The event also was attended by U.S. Ambassador Matthew Barzun, and guests included current Marshall Scholars, Marshall Scholar Alumni, representatives of both the U.K. and U.S. governments and representatives from a range of British universities.

Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. Founded by a 1953 Act of Parliament and named in honor of U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall, the scholarships commemorate the humane ideals of the Marshall Plan and express the continuing gratitude of the British people to their American counterparts. Sellers, who was a Foundation Fellow and Honors student, is the sixth UGA student to receive a Marshall Scholarship. He is pursuing a master of studies program in modern literature followed by a doctor of philosophy program in English language and literature at Oxford University.

To learn more about Marshall Scholarships, see http://www.marshallscholarship.org/.

Image: Prince Charles with Marshall Scholars, including Matt Sellers at left.

Why support Franklin College?

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Privately funded scholarships have a direct and personal impact on UGA students and provide opportunities for them to achieve their dreams. Often the impact is life changing and can best be understood in the words of the students themselves. Below are the words of one of our students, junior psychology major Toni McKoy, whose life has been changed through the generosity of a scholarship donor.

mccoy_toni.jpg

This has been a critical past year for me, I've had to juggle classes, work, and club activities in order to stay on top of classes and financially support myself. After a rough first semester and unfortunate events following, I decided to pursue what I thought would make me a happier person in life. I continued my studies in Japanese and I made a critical decision to switch my major from Animal Science to Psychology. I even decided to become more active in the Japan Club at UGA. I ran and was elected as the advertiser, historian, and dance coordinator for the club. After all of these changes and accomplishments, I decided to further challenge myself. This school year I hope to begin my music minor and join even more clubs and organizations around campus. Next summer I wish to be able to study abroad in Japan to strengthen my language skills.

Now that I have more goals I'll have to try even harder to keep my grades up, stay active in activities and work throughout the year. Last school year I worked at the Georgia Museum of Art as a security guard. While it would be nice to get that position again, I would like to expand my work experience which, at the moment, includes my work as a security guard and as a youth coordinator at a local Atlanta organization called Project South. I've been working for Project South for the last three summers as a coordinator and a team leader of a youth summer program in the Atlanta area. This experience made me realize that I enjoy working in the field, doing research based work, and helping others. This was important to realize, because by pursuing my degree in Psychology, I can work in all three areas. After obtaining my Bachelor's degree, I plan to find a job and begin my Master's degree. After that, I want to be able to do research based work and maybe travel around the country or even the world. At the same time, I still want to be able to enjoy things I love like studying music and the Japanese language and culture.

It is crucial that we continue to offer the opportunity of the UGA experience to the widest possible array of students. Read more stories about what scholarships mean to our students here.

Thinc! Entrepreneurial Week, April 13-17

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thinc-logo.jpgNext Month, UGA will celebrate many Franklin College students, faculty, staff and alumni during Thinc! week - an inititaive to shine the spotlight on entrepreneurs and the spirit that moves them:

UGA started the Thinc. initiative to make sure that the next generation of leaders and innovators learns how to take their ideas from concept to reality. The initiative promotes entrepreneurship and fosters economic development in the region by providing inspiration and advice to those contemplating a plunge into the competitive and exciting world of entrepreneurship.

Thinc. hosts a variety of new and ongoing programs and events to help UGA students, faculty and staff see the world of opportunities both locally and globally, and to start something in response.

"That ‘something' started might be a new for-profit company or a not-for-profit social venture," Lee said. "It might change something in your own neighborhood or community, or it might change the world. The important thing is that you find your passion and act on it."

Thinc. at UGA culminates every year with Thinc. Entrepreneurial Week, a weeklong celebration that includes lectures, workshops, panel discussions, competitions and networking events that promise to engage, inspire and build the confidence that will make participants strong competitors in the modern marketplace.

Each day of Thinc. Entrepreneurial Week, which begins April 13, will feature a signature "Start Something" event, including a hackathon, a Thinc. Prize for Innovation, a panel of top UGA alumni business owners, a business plan competition and events related to social entrepreneurship, the arts and networking. 

Should be very interesting. Great that OVPR and other university leaders are providing support for growing new initiatives like Thinc! and Spotlight on the Arts. The best way to support and inspire our community is to celebrate what supports and inspires us.

LDSOA professor Hwangbo in Huffington Post

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Hwangbo_Huff PostImi Hwangbo, a professor in the Lamar Dodd School of Art, currently has a show on view at the Pavel Zoubok Gallery on West 26th Street in New York City.  Ridley Howard, a painter in New York, is an alumnus of the Lamar Dodd School of Art, interviewed Hwango for the Arts Page of the Huffington Post.  "Portals:  Interview with Imi Hwangbo" by Ridley Howard is a fascinating discussion of her three-dimensional drawings in cut paper.

RH: Some works in this New York show are based on traditional Korean wrapping cloths. Can you talk about how you became interested in that as a subject?

IH: I've always been attracted to the aesthetics of traditional Korean decorative art. Pojagi are functional, four-cornered cloths that are tied in bundles to carry domestic objects. As artworks, they are embroidered drawings on fabric. They are often decorated with patterns and imagery that convey Korean folk beliefs, with plants and animals that offer protection from harm, and express desires for wealth, longevity and fertility.

I wanted to work from these patterns, and stay faithful to the notion of a decorative object that is alluring to the eye and highly crafted over its entire surface. I also like the notion of decoration as a visualization of desire -- as a gesture that covers a surface, repetitively and obsessively, with an iconography of desire.

RH: From what little research I've done, certain eras of Pojagi almost look like op-art and early modernist painting. Do you see your work as a means of subversion? Or is it more reverential?

IH: Pojagi patterns can have specific meanings within that particular cultural tradition. But at the same time, they can embody strategies that are recognizable in modernist painting. I like the notion of women artists in traditional Korea, inventing a modernist aesthetic with scraps of fabric. Their names are lost to history, so their identities can only be guessed through their inventiveness and craft. I'm drawn to the contradiction of that anonymity and the intimacy of the handwork. So perhaps you could consider it an homage.

Read the full interview. Great job, Howard and Hwangbo.

Image: Diviner (detail), 66" x 28" x 3", archival ink on hand-cut mylar, 2010

Goddard Memorial Trophy

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Telescope-KeplerSpacecraftThe Franklin College has a special relationship with NASA's Kepler Mission in the person of alumnus and Kepler project manager, Roger Hunter. And so we are especially proud that Hunter and the Kepler Mission will receive the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy from the National Space Club in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on March 7:

The Kepler Team will receive the Club’s preeminent award, the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy. Kepler has revolutionized exoplanet science and stellar astrophysics by expanding the galactic census of exoplanet candidates and fundamentally altering our understanding of our place in the galaxy. This honor is afforded Kepler in recognition of their significant contribution to U.S. leadership in the field of rocketry and astronautics.

Hunter is a great supporter of UGA and Franklin College and we are equally enthusiastic about his work with the space program. Our warm congratulations on this great honor.

Image: Artist's rendering of the Kepler telescope, vis Wikimedia Commons.

Franklin alum, advisor Lawrence Harris, recognized at White House

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Happy Friday. This is fantastic:

Washington, D.C. - Lawrence Harris, a college adviser at Clarke Central High School in Athens and a member of the Georgia College Advising Corps, a program sponsored by the University of Georgia's Institute of Higher Education and part of the national College Advising Corps, was recognized by President Barack Obama at the White House summit on expanding college access held on Jan. 16.

"Lawrence went to the University of Georgia, and like a lot of first-generation college students it wasn't easy for him," Obama said. "He had to take remedial classes. He had to work two part-time jobs to make ends meet. At one point, he had to leave school for a year while he helped support his mom and his baby brother. Those are the kinds of just day-to-day challenges that a lot of these young people with enormous talent are having to overcome. Now, he stuck with it. He graduated.

"But now he's giving back. He's made it his mission to help other young people like him graduate, as a college advisor at Clarke Central High School in Athens, Georgia. And today the National College Advising Corps, the program that placed Lawrence in Clarke Central, is announcing plans to add 129 more advisors who will serve more than 80,000 students over the next three years."

We've written previously about the importance of advisors at every level (and this very same program) and it's great to see another receive such high level recognition - good personally, but also if President Obama can draw attention to a career path that is so important, maybe that will attract the notice of more talented people like Mr. Harris (psychology, 2012). Congratulations.