Seven Grady alumni among UGA’s 40 under 40 class of 2018

The University of Georgia Alumni Association has unveiled the 40 under 40 Class of 2018.  The program honors outstanding UGA alumni who are under the age of 40 for their professional and philanthropic achievements.

This year’s class includes the following Grady alumni: Brooke Bowen (ABJ’07), Chase Cain (ABJ’05), Meredith Dean (ABJ’14), Josh Delaney (ABJ’11), Ivey Evans (ABJ’06), Quanza Griffin (ABJ’01) and Lauren Pearson (ABJ’02).

The honorees will be recognized at the annual awards luncheon on Sept. 13 at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. Registration for the event is now open.

Nominations for 40 Under 40 were open from February to April.  Honorees must have attended UGA and aspire to uphold the Pillars of the Arch. Additional criteria are available on the UGA Alumni Association website.

This year’s 40 under 40 honorees, including their graduation year, city, title and employer, are:

  • Kristen Bernhard, 2009, Atlanta, deputy commissioner for system reform, Georgia Department for Early Care & Learning
  • Brooke Bowen, 2007 and 2010, Atlanta, legal counsel, Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia
  • Chase Cain, 2005, West Hollywood, creative producer, Hulu
  • Matt Coley, 2003 and 2005, Cordele, owner/operator, Coley Gin and Fertilizer/Coley Farms
  • Caitlyn Cooper, 2007, Marietta, president, Caitlyn Cooper Consulting
  • Matthew Crim, 2005, Athens, general cardiologist, assistant professor of medicine, Piedmont Heart Institute, Augusta University/UGA Medical Partnership
  • Meredith Dean, 2014, Charlotte, founder, Dean’s List, program coordinator, Seacrest Studios
  • Joshua Delaney, 2011, Washington, D.C., senior education policy advisory, U.S. Senate, Office of Sen. Elizabeth Warren
  • Ivey Evans, 2006 and 2013, Columbus, social purpose manager, Aflac
  • David Felfoldi, 2001,Brookhaven, chief experience officer, SHERPA Global
  • Cartter Fontaine, 2010 and 2012, Athens, CEO, DT Productions
  • Quanza Griffin, 2001, Decatur, public health analyst, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Betsy Grunch, 2002, Gainesville, neurosurgeon, The Longstreet Clinic, PC
  • Tyler Harper, 2009, Ocilla, Georgia state senator, District 7, owner/operator, Tyler Harper Farms
  • Scott Irvine, 2002, Birmingham, associate professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Alabama
  • Jonathan Jones, 2013, Indianapolis, improvement engineer, Corteva Agriscience
  • Chloe Kelley, 2006, New York, senior vice president, PIMCO
  • William Keyes, 2010 and 2013, Washington, D.C., prosecutor, Department of Defense, captain, U.S. Army
  • William “Billy” Kirkland III, 2009, Washington, D.C., special assistant to the president, deputy director of intergovernmental affairs, The White House
  • Ryan Leveille, 2013, Atlanta, global design manager innovation lab, General Electric
  • Erin Lincoln, 2005, Atlanta, associate director, Tretra Tech, Inc.
  • Carrie Settles Livers, 2002, STEMpreneurship educator, Brookwood High School
  • Mohamed Massaquoi, 2008, Atlanta, owner, Mohamed Massaquoi Inc.
  • Margaux Charbonnet Murray, 2002, Atlanta, medical director, Medically Complex Care Program, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
  • Muktha Natrajan, 2011, Atlanta, postdoctoral fellow, Emory University
  • John Ozier, 2002, Nashville, vice president of creative, ole Song LLC
  • Lauren Pearson, 2002, Birmingham, managing director, Hightower Twickenham
  • Ryan Prior, 2012, Atlanta, cross-platform associate producer, CNN
  • Lucas Puente, 2010, San Francisco, lead economist, Thumbtack
  • Tameka Rish, 2003, Atlanta, vice president of corporate partnerships, AMBSE
  • Ben Ross, 2008, Statesboro, owner/pharmacist, Forest Heights Pharmacy
  • Latham Saddler, 2005, Washington D.C., director of intelligence programs, National Security Council, Navy SEAL, U.S. Navy
  • Adrianna Samaniego, 2010, San Francisco, CEO & co-founder, Area 120, Google Inc.
  • Julie Secrist, 2006, Atlanta, senior project manager, Southeastern Engineering
  • Rhondolyn Smith, 2004, Winterville, clinical pharmacist, Northside Hospital
  • Jabaris D. Swain, 2001, Philadelphia, fellow cardiothoracic surgery, hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Amy Washington, 2009, Bogart, founder/ executive director, Kupendwa Ministries
  • Chip Wile, 2002, Ormond Beach, president, Daytona International Speedway
  • Michael Williams, 2001 and 2006, Kennesaw, director of finance, The Home Depot
  • Stephanie Yarnell, 2006, New Haven, physician, division of law and psychiatry, Yale University Department of Psychiatry.

 

Grady Alumni involved in production of upcoming film ‘Burnt Offering’

Behind the scenes of the dark, edgy production of “Burnt Offering” were several alumni from Grady College using skills that they learned during their time in school.

“Burnt Offering” is a horror/ thriller feature film written by University of Georgia graduate Jennifer Perez (AB ’03) and directed by Atlanta native, Steven Perez. The film was produced by Blackhall Entertainment in association with Barred Owl Productions and filmed at Blackhall Studios in Atlanta. “Burnt Offering” is set to release late summer 2018 and will be available on all platforms.

“This story will keep you on the edge of your seat,” said Connor Pannell (ABJ ’16). “The quality of this film proves that a Georgia-based team can execute and deliver a quality end product when the pressure is on.”

Pannell served as gaffer and second unit cinematographer. His job was to create an edgy look to generate a thrill for the film during its nine-day filming schedule. The lighting technique that Pannell had to develop during this time was staged to create a standard for the film and supplement the story of “Burnt Offering.” He did this through a lighting design of dingy greens, steely blue moonlight and yellow tones to produce a tense, vibrant atmosphere. Pannell used skills that he learned while taking classes in the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies at Grady College, which gave him the freedom to cultivate his own skills, develop lighting techniques and create his own process.

Alex Newberry stands ready to get the cameras rolling for the next film take. (Photo courtesy of Connor Pannell)
Alex Newberry stands ready to get the cameras rolling for the next film take. (Photo courtesy of Connor Pannell)

Burnt Offering” is a film based on four teenagers who are running from the police and decide to hide in an abandoned schoolhouse. The teens soon realize that they are not the only ones there.

Pannell encourages UGA students who are looking to pursue a career in the film industry to find a specific skill and master it. He suggests that working with others and creating content to constantly post on different social media platforms, will get ambitious graduates noticed.

“Do it for yourself and own the story,” said Pannell. “Being diplomatic, honest and unapologetically yourself creates an atmosphere where the right people are magnetized to you and your work.”

Pannell got involved with the production of “Burnt Offering” through the director, Steven Perez. They worked together on previous film sets and had similar visual taste. Pannell has been interested in the film industry since he was a child. He grew up watching many films with his parents, which gave him a wide-ranging experience. Being able to view a variety of films shaped the desire for Pannell to capture a good story for others to enjoy.

“I’d work with Steven and my fellow Grady alums a thousand times over,” said Pannell. “The creative dialogue and bond among us throughout the film is really what people dream about having in this industry.”

There were several other Grady College alumni involved in the production of “Burnt Offering”:

Patrick Bailer (ABJ ’17) was a grip for second-unit work, Grayson Guldenschuh (ABJ ’17) was a part of second AC, Nathan Duconge (ABJ ’16) was the casting director, Alex Newberry (AB ’18) was a part of the second AC team, Pannell served as gaffer and second unit cinematographer and Vivian Zingleman (ABJ ’16) was the post production coordinator.

Grayson Guldenschuh on set during production for the film. (Photo courtesy of Connor Pannell)
Grayson Guldenschuh on set during production for the film. (Photo courtesy of Connor Pannell)
Connor Pannell discusses the next lighting project. (Photo courtesy of Connor Pannell)
Connor Pannell discusses the next lighting project. (Photo courtesy of Connor Pannell)
Vivian Zingleman gets cast and cameras ready for the next scene. (Photo courtesy of Connor Pannell)
Vivian Zingleman gets cast and cameras ready for the next scene. (Photo courtesy of Connor Pannell)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grady Salutes highlights the Grady family

In an evening filled with pride and celebration, there was also time to reflect on individuals who leave a lasting impact on Grady College, it students and alumni.

Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership was held April 27, 2018, at the University Center for Continuing Education and Hotel.

Brooke Anderson (ABJ ’90) and Dean Charles Davis emceed the ceremony recognizing Alumni Award winners, as well as inductees into the Grady Fellowship and Sanford Circle. Dana Todd (ABJ ’91), chair of the Grady Society Alumni Board, and Jennifer Sloan (ABJ ’86), chair of the Board of Trust, helped present the awards.

Highlights among the Alumni Award recipients included:

Polina Marinova (ABJ ’13), associate editor of Fortune Magazine, was awarded the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award. Marinova outlined three defining moments of her Grady College experience including convincing Conrad Fink to let her into his class before she was eligible, the time she became editor-in-chief of the Red & Black and finally, the mobilization of students who created a memorial fund in memory of the legacy of Barry Hollander. “Each of these defining moments taught me a specific life lesson: to learn from the best, execute on the things that matter and never forget to pay it forward when you can.”

Ashley Huston (ABJ ’96), former chief communications officer with Dow Jones Company, was honored with the Henry W. Grady Mid-Career Alumni Award. “Supporting quality journalism in whatever way that applies to you has literally never been more important, and I can’t wait to see the contributions of the future that’s represented in this room.” Huston concluded by saying she tries to live by the following characteristics: “Be authentic, be curious, be principled and be nice to people.”

Jisu Huh (MA ’00, PhD ‘03), the Raymond O. Mithun Endowed Chair in Advertising and Director of Graduate Studies at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, accepted the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award. “Grady College is where I was born again as a scholar and being recognized as a distinguished scholar is an honor that means so much to me,” Huh said. She talked about the challenges she had coming to the United States from Korea, and credited her Grady professors who challenged and supported her and encouraged her to persevere.

Diane Murray presented Sally Yates with her John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award in March, when Yates was on campus.
Diane Murray presented Sally Yates with her John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award in March, when Yates was on campus.

Sally Yates (ABJ ’82, JD ‘86), former deputy attorney general of the United States, was unable to be present to receive the John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award, but accepted her honor from Diane Murray, director of alumni relations and outreach when she was on campus in March, and again from Sloan at a Women in the World Summit a few weeks ago. She video-taped a message relaying that although she was not a practicing journalist, “journalists and lawyers have something in common: we both are on a search for the truth. The principles that I learned in journalism school about the importance of the truth, about the crucial role that a free press plays in our democracy… those principles are more important today than ever before.”

The late Barry Hollander was inducted into the Sanford Circle, a posthumous honor for people whose achievement and generous spirit remain at Grady College.

“He would have loved the posts and Hollanderisms that you have shared.” She added that she and their children were touched by the support fund created by alumni in his honor. “He would take great comfort in knowing that you, his students, would continue your education and benefit now that he is gone.”

Edith Hollander, Barry Hollander’s wife, accepted his award and said Barry would have never expected this honor. “Truth be told,” she added, “he would question your judgement.”
Edith Hollander, Barry Hollander’s wife, accepted his award and said Barry would have never expected this honor. “Truth be told,” she added, “he would question your judgement.”

Five alumni and friends were inducted into the Grady Fellowship, an honorary recognizing accomplishments, friendship and service.

Highlights from those inductions included:

Melita Easters (ABJ ’76), executive director of Georgia’s WIN List and former chairman of the Red & Black Board, was introduced as a modern renaissance woman and a champion for journalism. “Being a journalist was the perfect starting point for all my subsequent professional and volunteer activities,” Easters, who is also a playwright, said.

Lisa Ryan Howard (ABJ ’92), senior vice president and general manager of media at The New York Times, had several family members attend the ceremony with her, including her two teenage children, a niece and nephew. Speaking to them, she said: “As you all are embarking on your journey to think about college and education and career…think about the relationships that you are going to foster with the faculty at the university or college that you will attend, because for me they have been critical in my career and in my success. Perhaps you will be as lucky as I was and have them help support you and promote you.”

Lee Thomas (ABJ ’87), deputy commissioner at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and division director of the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office, helps oversee Georgia’s $9.5 billion film production impact. She thanked her work colleagues for their support and help making the state a the top location in the United States for film and television production.

E. Culpepper “Cully” Clark, is a professor, historian and dean emeritus of Grady College, a position he called a dream job. The creation of the Grady Fellowship was his idea 10 years ago.So much is said about the Grady spirit. It changed me and confirmed for me everything that I believed to be important and good and worthy.”


“That’s the one thing I’ve always believed in, is that this was a profession, this was a calling, this was something that was important for democracy.”

–David Hazinski


David Hazinski is retiring this year after spending more than 30 years as a professor at Grady College. In his introduction, Anderson commented that it was Hazinski who inspired her and countless others who went through the broadcast journalism program at Grady College. In his acceptance speech, Hazinski said: “I got the best end of this deal…I got to work with spectacular students. I’ve had a long and mostly successful career in what I believe is an honorable profession. That’s the one thing I’ve always believed in: that this was a profession, this was a calling, this was something that was important for democracy.” He also talked about his commitment to his students. “That’s what all this is for, it’s for them. It’s always what I’ve tried to be about…to have students at the center of this so that they get something out of it. I know you are here to honor me and I appreciate that, but know that honoring me, in fact honors them, and for that, I am grateful.”

Pictures from the evening can be viewed in the 2018 Grady Salutes photo gallery on the UGAGrady Flickr account.

Videos of the speeches will be available in the next few weeks on the Grady Salutes webpage.

To nominate someone for the 2019 Alumni Awards, please visit the Alumni Awards nomination form online.

Maureen Clayton: Say ‘yes’ to new experiences

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, this is one of a series of profiles highlighting just a few of the impressive accomplishments alumnae of Grady College are making in their respective industries. For other profiles, please visit any of those listed below:

Becca Hannan

Carole Munroe

Maureen Clayton (ABJ ’80, MA ’84)) is the founder and president of Insight Strategic Communications and Nest Egg Communications. She is a four-time Bulldog 100 winner. Clayton also won the 2017 UGA Graduate School Alumni of Distinction for achieving exceptional success in her professional career and service to her community. Additionally, Clayton is a UGA Student Mentor and a UGA Libraries Board of Visitors member.

Grady College: How has your Grady education helped you in your career?

Maureen Clayton: I learned to write for business at Grady.  As a student, I had some crazy notion that flowery, adjective-dripping prose was good writing. My professors taught me the value of writing that is simple, focused and concise.  That’s helped me in every role I’ve ever had.

GC: What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned as a female leader?

MC: You learn more from your failures than your successes.  No one wants to screw up, but when you do, own it, put in a process to address it, and move forward.  Resilience matters.  Like Babe Ruth said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”


“No one wants to screw up, but when you do, own it, put in a process to address it, and move forward. Resilience matters.”

–Maureen Clayton


GC: Have there been any challenges to being a female leader in your field? How do you overcome those challenges?

MC: Every leader has challenges.  I don’t view leadership through a male/female lens. I think attitude is at the heart of anyone’s success. My first management role was at a $5 billion electric utility where I was one of three women leaders and the youngest executive in the company.  There were many meetings when I was asked who was watching my children or would I bring in the coffee. I just responded with humor and said “I’d love an iced tea, if you’re getting up.”  Stuff like that never derailed me. Don’t make the small stuff big stuff. Never take your focus off the priorities.

GC: Do you have any advice for Grady students who aspire to be in a leadership position?

MC: Say yes to new experiences in every area of your life.  Don’t be concerned if your career ladder becomes a jungle gym.  It’s seldom a straight line to success. Many of the students I mentor are concerned that when they get out of school, the perfect job won’t be waiting.  Often it won’t. But your skills will be transferrable to a role that will take you your next role.  I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur, but that’s how my career turned out.  If you’re a lifelong learner, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that arise.

GC: Are there any other comments you care to share about Grady College or women in leadership?

MC: I have fond memories of Dr. Lee Wenthe, the only female professor I had at Grady.  There were just a few female professors. That has changed since I graduated. She was a role model for me—very cool woman.

I think women maybe more likely to value mentorship in the workplace. Many of my clients are female executives at large, global companies. Each of them is committed to mentoring early career colleagues.  My advice for Grady students is to connect, network, and interact with alumni now, before you graduate.  They’ll help you transition to your next chapter.

Carole Munroe: Think about all women, not just those who may look like you

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, this is one of a series of profiles highlighting just a few of the impressive accomplishments alumnae of Grady College are making in their respective industries. For other profiles, please visit any of those listed below:

            Maureen Clayton

            Becca Hannan

Carole Munroe is a Senior Director of Brand Communications at Hilton Worldwide. Before that, Munroe worked at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts as a Director of Content Relations. She collaborated with LucasFilm on the reintroduction of the Star Wars movie franchise in Disney Parks and leading up to and the opening of Star Wars Land and with James Cameron and Jon Landau on the premiere of Pandora, which is The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Currently, Monroe serves on the Grady Society Alumni Board. Among her accolades, Munroe was awarded the 2015 Pat Tobin Media Professional Award which is the NABJ’s highest award to a public relations professional.

Grady College: How has your Grady education helped you in your career?

Carole Munroe: My Grady education has been an ongoing part of my success as a journalist, publicist and marketing professional. These professions converge around capabilities of storytelling, information distribution and strategic thinking, all of which I learned at Grady and continue to excel as a result of having such a strong foundation.

GC: What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned as a female leader?

CM: “To thine own self be true.” I’ve learned to be comfortable in my own skin. Remember, ‘there will never be another you’ and that’s for a reason — because each of us has our own unique gifts to contribute. I’ve also learned the power of team work and diversity.  Team work is about everyone having a key role based on their strengths. It’s better to let others thrive by their strengths rather than dilute the results by trying to do it all oneself. I have been more successful developing and working with cohesive teams than individually.


“Team work is about everyone having a key role based on their strengths. It’s better to let others thrive by their strengths rather than dilute the results by trying to do it all oneself.”

–Carole Munroe


GC: Have there been any challenges to being a female leader in your field? How do you overcome those challenges?

CM: Yes, there have been lots of challenges! As a female leader who is also African American, I’ve had the challenge of having people judge me before seeing me or getting to know me. This can happen while even applying for a job, and it can be very subtle! Women and men have to be on the lookout for this kind of shortsightedness and subtle bigotry, because people like that do not make good leaders and, in the long run, have limited success.

GC: Any advice for Grady students who aspire to be in a leadership position?

CM: When you are in a leadership role, remember it is a servant’s role. You are there to serve, to inspire, and to help your people grow. If you do these things your team will work hard and will help you succeed because they believe in you.

GC: Are there any other comments you care to share about Grady College or women in leadership?

CM: On International Women’s Day, I want to encourage all women to think about ALL women, not just those who may look like you.  Think “Sisters in Leadership.” As women, no matter our color, we have great things in common. However, I think we also have biases that keep us from experiencing all the strength that women in leadership can bring to bear. So, be a sister to the woman who might be having a harder time than you because she’s also dealing with race, size, sexual or male chauvinist bigotry, or she just might be really shy or socially awkward. She just might be the smartest person in the room, so don’t count her out and be sure to include her.

UGA Grady College announces recipients of 2018 Alumni Awards; Sanford Circle honoree

The University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication is pleased to honor four outstanding graduates with its 2018 Alumni Awards, and a beloved Grady College professor who will be inducted into the Sanford Circle.

Sally Yates (ABJ ’82, JD ‘86) receives the John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award; Ashley Huston (ABJ ’96) is honored with the Henry W. Grady Mid-Career Alumni Award; Polina Marinova (ABJ ’13) is awarded the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award; and Jisu Huh (MA ’00, PhD ‘03) receives the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award.

Barry Hollander, a professor of journalism who died in January, will be inducted into the Sanford Circle, a posthumous membership created to honor friends of Grady College whose achievement and generosity of spirit remain with the college.

All award recipients will be recognized along with the 2018 Grady Fellowship inductees, at Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership on April 27, 2018.

Sally Yates is a distinguished lecturer at Georgetown Law School. Yates is a former deputy attorney general of the United States. President Barack Obama nominated Yates to be the U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Georgia, where she was the first woman to hold the position in the Northern District of Georgia. During her time as U.S. Attorney, Yates was appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to serve as vice chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee. She was nominated for John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award and won the Mary Church Terrell Freedom and Justice Award during the Detroit NAACP’s 62nd Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner. She graduated from the public relations program at Grady College, and earned her law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. As the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Yates also will be inducted into the Grady Fellowship.

Ashley Huston most recently served as the chief communications officer for the Dow Jones Company and The Wall Street Journal. Huston is a strategic communications executive with extensive experience working with dynamic global media, sports and news brands. She has also held roles at CNN, ESPN and News Corp. Huston began her career as a student assistant in the University of Georgia’s Sports Communications office. She graduated with a degree in public relations from Grady College.

Polina Marinova is an associate editor at Fortune Magazine where she is the author of Term Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter. Before the Term Sheet, Marinova was an audience engagement editor at Fortune, managing all of Fortune’s social media accounts and crafting social campaigns around Fortune franchises. She is a journalism graduate of Grady College.

Jisu Huh is the Raymond O. Mithun Endowed Chair in Advertising and Director of Graduate Studies at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Huh’s research program covers a wide range of topics related to advertising and its effects, especially in the digital and social media contexts. Huh is immediate past president of the American Academy of Advertising and also serves as an associate editor for Journal of Advertising. Additionally, she serves on the editorial board of several journals in the field of advertising, including International Journal of Advertising, Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising, and Journal of Advertising Education. She is an elected member and chair of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Standing Committee on Research. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and a doctorate in mass communication from Grady College.

Barry Hollander
Barry Hollander

The Sanford Circle honoree, Barry Hollander, taught the fundamentals of journalism to countless students throughout his 26 years at Grady College. He was known for his wit, his attention to facts, his social media comments and his fierce loyalty to his students, many of whom he stayed in touch with through their successes after graduation.

Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership will be held at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel. Tickets can be ordered by visiting the Grady Salutes reservation website.

Grady College alumnus and UGA Emeritus Trustee Claude Williams Jr. remembered

Claude Williams Jr., a friend to Grady College, to the University of Georgia and to the Athens community, passed away Jan. 20, 2018.

Claude Williams (left, in an undated picture) was joined by other members of the staff of the Athens Daily News, including Lewis Grizzard (M ’84), Glenn Vaughn (M ’53) and Mark Smith (ABJ ’66).
Claude Williams (left, in an undated picture) was joined by other members of the staff of the Athens Daily News, including Lewis Grizzard (M ’84),
Glenn Vaughn (M ’53) and Mark Smith (ABJ ’66).

“Claude Williams was a Grady icon, a man of substance who made huge contributions to journalism, to civic life in Athens, and to the society as a whole through his many good works,” Charles Davis, dean of Grady College, said. “His gentle spirit and kindness to all who knew him will form his legacy. He was quite simply one of the nicest, most supportive people, and always asked how he could help the college.”

Williams, who earned his journalism degree from Grady College in 1948, was passionate about journalism and was a big supporter of his alma mater, its faculty and its students.

“If you have Claude Williams for a friend, you don’t need but one,” Cully Clark, dean emeritus of Grady College, said of Williams in 2013 when he was awarded the Dean’s medal.

Williams was a counselor to Clark when he assumed the role of dean.

“I can’t begin to tell you what Claude meant to me, but it was everything,” Clark continued. “In the most difficult times, and every dean has them, Claude heard me out and always had his arm on my shoulder.”

Putting his journalism degree to go use, Williams made a huge impact on communications in Athens and other Georgia communities by operating several radio stations early in his career and starting an outdoor advertising company later in life. Perhaps one of the biggest impacts he made to the Athens community was when he started the Athens Daily News.

While at Athens Daily News, he worked with Grady alumnus Mark Smith (ABJ ’66), a relationship that would have a profound impact on Smith and would last more than 50 years.

“Claude was a friend and a mentor,” Smith said. “At an early age, he taught me the importance and value of hard work, fairness, family and sharing. We stayed in touch all the years and he shared my successes and failures, but was always there with advice. Any success I have had I owe in part to Claude Williams.”

Community involvement was a cornerstone in Williams’ life with involvement in everything from serving as Athens Area Chamber of Commerce president and on several boards of local banks, to working as a founder of the Athens Athletic Hall of Fame and on the first board for the Boys Club, just to name a few.

“He did much for many, often anonymously,” Smith recalled.

Dean Charles Davis and Claude Williams in 2015.
Dean Charles Davis and Claude Williams in 2015.

Williams earned a history degree from UGA before he earned his journalism degree, and giving back to the university was always important to him. He was a trustee of the University of Georgia Foundation Board from 1993 to 2002, and he started the Claude Williams Venture Fund at Grady College to support future journalists.

“I want to contribute to helping students and people, not brick and mortar,” Williams said in a 2015 interview with Grady College students. “That’s been a theme in my civic and outside activities, and you ought to give back to your community. If you live in a community, you better be involved with that community.”

When Williams was named an inaugural Grady Fellow in 2008, he reflected on his time at Grady College.

“I have many fond memories of my time as a student at UGA and the Grady College,” Williams said. “My most valuable and lasting experience was Dean John Drewry’s magazine class.  It was in this class that I learned to scan and read several newspapers, magazines and periodicals daily.  Valuable lessons that have benefited me greatly during the last 60 years.”

It is hard to imagine what more Williams could have packed into his life. His most important role was that of husband to his wife of 70 years, Charlotte, and father to their two children, R. Sanders Williams and Lynn Dicks. Charlotte preceded Claude in death by six days.

“I think Claude waited until everything was done for Charlotte and then said a farewell himself,” Parker Middleton, a friend and senior director of external relations at Grady College, said. “That is just who he was.”

Before all his business ventures and his civic involvement, Williams was a war hero. He enlisted as a second lieutenant in the 63rd Division along the French-German border adjacent to Switzerland during World War II. He was involved in breaking through Germany’s so-called “Impenetrable West Wall,” the Siegfried Line, and served under Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower as a Special Services officer after the war ended. For his heroism during the war, Williams earned a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star. In 2013, he was awarded the Legion of Honor medal by the French consulate, an honor, established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and bestowed on U.S. veterans who risked their lives to liberate France.

A full obituary for Claude Williams Jr. can be read online. Memories by his children and other business leaders can also be found online.

Award-winning journalist and namesake to deliver Holmes-Hunter Lecture

Grady College alumna Charlayne Hunter-Gault, an award-winning journalist, will present the 2018 Holmes-Hunter Lecture Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. in the Chapel.

Hunter-Gault took time to talk with students and faculty members during the announcement of her Giving Voice to the Voice Fund in April 2016.
Hunter-Gault took time to talk with students and faculty members during the announcement of her Giving Voice to the Voice Fund in April 2016.

The lecture is named in honor of Hunter-Gault and her classmate Hamilton Holmes, the first African-American students to attend UGA. They arrived on campus in 1961 after civil rights leaders in Atlanta successfully challenged the segregation policy at the state’s universities. Hunter-Gault graduated from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1963, going on to work for prestigious media outlets like The New Yorker, The New York Times, PBS, CNN and NPR.

“We are delighted that Charlayne will return to campus to provide the Holmes-Hunter Lecture this year,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “She has achieved so much in her career as a groundbreaking journalist, and we are deeply grateful that she continues to give back to her alma mater in so many ways.”

Hunter-Gault and her husband, Ronald Gault, recently established a new endowment, Giving Voice to the Voiceless, to provide grants to UGA students promoting social justice and global understanding.

Among numerous awards for her reporting, Hunter-Gault won two Emmys for national news and documentary coverage and two Peabody Awards for excellence in broadcast journalism, administered by Grady College. She was the first African-American Commencement speaker at UGA in 1988. In 2001, the academic building where Hunter-Gault and Holmes registered was renamed the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building in their honor, marking the 40th anniversary of the desegregation of the university.

Sponsored by the Office of the President, the Holmes-Hunter Lecture focuses on race relations, civil rights and education and has been held annually since 1985.

Grady graduate encourages Class of 2017 to celebrate personal journeys in speech at UGA Fall Commencement

There was a time when donning a cap and gown as a college graduate seemed like a dream out of reach for Samuel Peraza. As a first-generation American growing up for much of his life in a single-parent household, he faced many barriers. But it was his triumph through adversity that ultimately led Peraza to not only graduate from the University of Georgia but also to be honored as the Fall 2017 Commencement Student Speaker.

“My story, like each of yours, is comprised of trial and triumph,” said Peraza, a public relations graduate who also earned a Public Affairs Professional Certificate. “This is a culmination of years of hard work, and I celebrate and commend you equally for that accomplishment.”

Peraza gave an impassioned speech to the Class of 2017, urging fellow graduates to continue in the celebration of their personal journeys by practicing three things: basking in the ambiguity (the freedom that comes with choice afforded by college degrees), facing the future confidently and loving well.

“Our definition of success may change over time, but the one thing that will remain true is the power of a meaningful relationship,” he said.

Peraza’s speech came to a touching conclusion with a bilingual tribute to his mother, thanking her for the many sacrifices she’s made for him and his family.

“My hope is that one day I’ll be able to give you the life you deserve, because you have devoted your entire life to your children, our family and ultimately my education,” he said.

Watch Peraza’s speech in its entirety below.

Peraza plans to move to New York City and pursue a career in public relations.

First MFA and Emerging Media graduates among those recognized at Fall 2017 Grady Convocation

Pictures from the Fall 2017 Grady Convocation can be viewed on the UGA Grady Flickr gallery:

Master’s degrees, Advertising, Public Relations, Journalism, EMST

Nearly 175 students graduated from Grady College this semester, many of whom were recognized at the Fall 2017 convocation on December 14, 2017, at the Hugh Hodgson Performing Arts Center.

A student celebrates with a moment of victory as he crosses the stage at the Grady College Convocation ceremonies.
Sports Media Certificate graduate Patrick O’Shea celebrates with a moment of victory as he crosses the stage at the Grady College Convocation ceremonies. (Photo: Chamberlain Smith)

Among graduates were 28 master’s students, including Grady’s first graduates of its Master of Fine Arts program and its new Emerging Media master’s degree.

Undergraduates who were recognized included 32 students with an advertising degree, 20 with a degree in public relations, 59 from the journalism program, two who studied digital and broadcast journalism, 28 from the entertainment and media studies department and five with a mass media arts degree.

Dean Charles Davis presided over the ceremony, giving an overview of Grady’s accomplishments this past year and praising the students for their hard work, passion and academic excellence.

Jody Danneman (ABJ ’88), executive producer and president of Atlanta ImageArts and a member of the Grady Board of Trust, addressed candidates with a speech that compared the five principles of journalism — who, what, when, where and why — and challenged the graduates to ask themselves questions to determine what their personal story is.

Danneman explained that much of this is rooted in the values and principles you hold dear.

“If you can find your ‘why’ and you can be rooted in your values, you are going to be happy when you get up and go to work every day,” Danneman advised.

He also challenged the graduates to “let people know by the integrity of your work, by the quality of your work, by the camaraderie and friendship that you have with your co-workers, that you are a team player…that you are a Grady graduate.”

“I am Grady, you are Grady and it is a great day to be a Grady Dawg,” Danneman concluded.

The distinguished senior speaker, a student chosen based on an audition among the graduates for the spot, was Gabrielle Cowand, a journalism major and communication studies minor, who is working toward her master’s in Emerging media, as well.

“Grady didn’t teach us the ‘it’ factor; we already had that,” Cowand said. “It simply taught us how to use our talents at max capacity. It opened our minds to what we didn’t know to do or create. We have learned how to constantly strive to reach our full potential and that we have no limits.”

“We have to create our own circumstances,” she continued. “We define the rules. We write our own story. A whole lot of legwork is required on our end, but the good news is that we have a whole lot of people behind us. Grady really is a family.”

Bryan Harris (MA ‘03), outgoing chair of the Grady Society Alumni Board, concluded the platform of speakers by welcoming the students to the alumni ranks of the college.

“The real education is just beginning and members of the Grady Society will be with you every step of the way,” Harris said.

He encouraged the students to stay in touch with the college and give their time, experiences and talents to future students.

Harris finished his thoughts with this advice: “Stay engaged and raise your hand when Grady calls.”