Grady College Centennial Weekend is here

After many months of planning, Grady’s much-anticipated Centennial Celebration arrives this week with highlight events each day April 16-19 marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of our college.

All Grady alumni eyes are on Athens as graduates and friends converge for celebratory festivities, including a student showcase and crystal ball-look toward the future of communication at the inaugural Carter Conversation on April 16; a Birthday Field Party at Historic Smithonia Farm on April 17; the Grady Centennial Gala on April 18; and a spring tailgate brunch on the Grady College lawn on April 19.

“Grady’s centennial week is a cause for celebration, for reflection and for deep appreciation of the many, many alumni who have made it an iconic brand in education in journalism and mass communication,” said Charles Davis, dean of Grady College. “Every moment is designed to remind us of the central importance of Grady College to the academic mission of the University of Georgia. As an alum myself, I am overwhelmed by the emotion and goodwill of this moment.”

“Most of all, the Centennial Weekend celebrates the people who make Grady extraordinary,” added Parker Middleton, senior director of development and alumni relations. “The Grady Society Alumni Board, Young Alumni Council and Grady Board of Trust have joined faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends to design a celebration with meaning for everyone and a legacy beyond 2015.”

Grady College especially thanks and salutes members of the Centennial Planning Corps for their ideas and spirit, and the cadre of sponsors who helped make all these events possible.

Members of the Centennial Planning Corps include Karen Andrews, Hannah Bause, Morgan Beavers, Cecil Bentley, Baron Brown, Ryan Carty, Selwyn Crawford, Jody Danneman, Charles Davis, Meredith Dean, Chris Decherd, Mark DelRosario, Joe Dennis, Valerie Elston, Bruce Finland, Glen Finland, Sarah Freeman, Eddie Garrett, Michael Gray, John Greenman, Sophia Griesenauer, Jeff Jowdy, Karen King, Nate John, Keysha Lee, Melissa Libby, Parker Middleton, Stephanie Moreno, Diane Murray, Eric NeSmith, Condace Pressley, Tom Russell, Amanda Rosseter Schab, Jennifer Smith, Kristen Smith, Mark Smith, Katherine Strate, Sunny Sukkar, Gloria Ricks Taylor and Mesha Wind.

 A complete list of generous sponsors can be viewed on the website.

“Alumni response to the Centennial Weekend has been gratifying and phenomenal,” noted Davis.

Many events are at capacity or sold-out. For information, please contact the Dean’s Office at 706-542-1704.

The college offers this run down of Centennial events and details for attendees:

Thursday, April 16

Student Showcase (1 to 3 p.m.), Carter Conversation (3:30 to 4:30 p.m.) and Reception Honoring Retired Faculty (5 to 6 p.m.) at the UGA Special Collections Libraries

•    Eleven student groups with projects ranging from the mobile news lab to learning about drones are scheduled to share their work from the semester.

•    Three media leaders including Fred Cook from the agency side, Tony Maddox from journalism and Jeff Gregor from entertainment discuss the future of the communications industry led by moderator Chuck Reece (ABJ ’94) of the Bitter Southerner.

Friday, April 17

Peyton Anderson Forum & Drewry Plaza Preview (9 a.m. until noon at Grady College) and Birthday Field Party (6 until 10 p.m. via bus)

•    Forum preview: The heart of Grady College has been transformed into a bright, energizing, modern space thanks to generous gifts from Tom (ABJ ’63) & Edwina Johnson and The Peyton Anderson Foundation.  Join us for continental breakfast and a preview of the forum. A formal dedication is planned for the fall.

•    Birthday Field Party at Historic Smithonia Farm: There are indoor facilties in barns and tents so the party will go on rain or shine

•    Transportation to the Birthday Field Party is by bus only. Buses will depart via the schedule below from 6 to 8 p.m. from campus (N09 lot next to Psychology Building off Hooper Street), Lexington Road Park-n-Ride, Holiday Inn (near parking lot entrance), Hilton Garden Inn (directly in front of hotel on Thomas Street) and Hotel Indigo (directly in front of hotel on Strong Street).

The bus schedule follows:

Departures to Historic Smithonia Farm

6 p.m. Buses leave campus, Lexington Road Park n Ride, Holiday Inn (Hilton and Hotel Indigo to follow)

6:30 p.m. Buses leave campus (Lexington Road Park n Ride to follow) and Holiday Inn (Hilton and Hotel Indigo to follow)

7 p.m. Buses leave campus, Lexington Road Park n Ride, Holiday Inn (Hilton and Hotel Indigo to follow)

7:30 p.m. Bus leaves Holiday Inn (Hilton and Hotel Indigo to follow)

8 p.m. Final buses leave campus, Lexington Road Park n Ride, Holiday Inn (Hilton and Hotel Indigo to follow)

Return to Athens

Buses will return to Athens continuously beginning at 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 18

Grady Centennial Gala (6 p.m. at The Classic Center) and The After Party (10 p.m. at Hotel Indigo)

•    The Grady Gala promises an unforgettable evening as we celebrate the people of Grady College, induct new members of the Grady Fellowship, honor 2015 Alumni Award Winners, recognize special friends and toast our next 100 years.

Sunday, April 19

Centennial Brunch (10:30 a.m. until noon at Grady College)

•    Brunch completes the Centennial Weekend. Stay tuned for the second round of events that will take place at Homecoming, October 15-17.

Over the years, Grady College and the Red & Black have benefitted from a symbiotic relationship, and the student newspaper will be celebrating the centennial with a panel of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists on Friday, April 17 at 1:30 p.m. in the Richard B. Russell Special Collections Building.  The Red & Black will also host a Hospitality Suite featuring several alumni authors Saturday, April 18 from 1 to 3 p.m. at their offices, 540 Baxter Street.

“It is going to take all of us to blow out the candles on Grady’s cake,” Middleton said.  “Grady’s Centennial was designed to be shared.” Guests are invited to share their pictures and thoughts about the events on social media and are encouraged to use the centennial hashtags #Grady100 and #WeAreGrady. 

A recap of the weekend events is expected to be posted in the days following the celebration on the Grady College website and photo highlights will be posted on the Grady College Flickr page.

Date: April 16, 2015
Author:  Sarah Freeman,; Parker Middleton,