Grady gives its grads a new perspective

In the weeks leading up to the Grady College Centennial Weekend, April 16-19, we'll feature a guest blog post authored by a preselected alumnus/alumna. For ways in which students, faculty, alumni, donors and friends can share Grady College memories and photos in honor of the centennial year, please visit

In August of 2012, I found myself on a second round interview sitting in front of the chief operations officer of the Harbin Clinic, the largest physician owned multi-specialty group in Georgia. Fully staffing two 300-bed hospitals with specialists, and supporting two others, this opportunity was a big deal, especially for a guy looking to make a career as a healthcare executive. The job was looking at data from patients that asked them about the care they received, and explaining it to everyone from physicians to office staff members, and to create classes for employees around providing a better experience for patients and their families.

The third and final round, as the COO explained to me, was giving a presentation of any topic of my choosing to a group of executives, directors and practice managers. What an opportunity! What a dilemma. Should I play it safe talk about something healthcare related? Or maybe talk about my thoughts on customer service? One thing that was for sure was that I wanted this job. As I mentally sized up the other final round candidates that I knew nothing about, I was fairly certain that I was the only one with an M.A. from the Grady College, and that was an asset that I wanted to show off.

Healthcare administration is a relatively conservative field, so I embraced the notion of “go big or go home” and decided to present my semester-long research project entitled “Where have all the cowboys gone?” from one of my most unusual and most cherished classes from my time in grad school. The class was on critical culture studies, and it was taught by Dr. Andy Kavoori. It was radically different from any class that I had ever taken, and it really helped me to examine and understand the world around me in a totally new way. My paper was on the hypersexualization and feminization of males in American media—not exactly your typical watercooler topic of conversation—but I landed the job!

Grady tends to do that for you; give you a new perspective on the world around you and a clear way to communicate it to others. The college is known for churning out leaders, and the skills that you learn in Grady – the fair representation of ideas, good writing skills, clear and effective communication – are skills that are not just valuable in the fields of journalism and mass communication; they’re valuable in every field. No matter what career situation I’m walking into, being a Grady grad is the secret weapon in my back pocket. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for the people of Grady that decided to invest in me, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to celebrate 100 years of developing Democracy’s Next Generation.

About the author

Jacob Cole serves as the patient experience coordinator for the Harbin Clinic in Rome, Ga. Jacob holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Grady College where he studied public relations and disaster management. He also holds certificates in both Basic and Advanced Disaster Life Support. While at UGA, Jacob served as a Grady Ambassador, co-president of the Journalism/Mass Communication student body, Senator for The Graduate School, and is a graduate of Leadership UGA. Jacob is an active Kiwanian, vice chairman of Grady’s Young Alumni Council, and the proud uncle of a little dude living in Athens, Ga.

More Alumni Reflections:

There's always a friend to be found at Grady by Lauren Patrick (ABJ '07)

It's simple: The Grady family is forever by Michael Gray (ABJ '11)

How to celebrate a centennial: recommit, reconvene, re-engage by Brittney Haynes (ABJ '09)

It's easy to feel a sense of community at Grady by Shannon Sullivan Collado (ABJ '10)

Grady offers growth by Julia Hemingway (ABJ '14)

Grady grads get more than a basic education by Eric NeSmith (ABJ '02)

Lost and Found at Grady by Susan Percy (ABJ '66)

Looking back on the Grady School with fondness by Rex Granum (ABJ '72)

A nod to the professor by Ashley Callahan (ABJ '04)

Date: April 7, 2015

Contact:  Jacob Cole,