How to celebrate a centennial: recommit, reconvene, re-engage

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

One of the most distinct things about Grady that I’ve come to love is that we are united as one big family – proud, supportive and forever connected. That’s why as we approach this centennial milestone together, I think it makes perfect sense to reconvene and re-engage in ways that celebrate the lifelong learnings and connections that Grady has afforded us.

At this celebratory moment, I think back to words that Dean Charles Davis shared when he first assumed his position: “Young alumni are the lifeblood of the College… the next generation of leadership that will move the institution forward. It's more important than ever for you to be involved.” I agree with Dean Davis and moreover, what better time than our centennial to recommit ourselves to this institution?

Top Row (L to R):  Sachel Seabrook (ABJ ’09), Brittany Garner (ABJ ’09), Brittney Haynes (ABJ ’09) Bottom Row (L to R): Tamara Best (ABJ ’09), Brittney Watson (ABJ ’09), Annie Kemp (ABJ ’09)

In the spirit of celebration, I offer three new ways I plan to get reconnect and re-engage with the college this year:

1 – Find my Grady community. As time goes on, many of us find ourselves in new places that are physically far away from our old college stomping grounds. But as any alumna knows, Grady connections are everywhere! At the beginning of this year, I made a big move from Georgia to New York City to start a new life and career journey. Just days into my new adventure, it may not surprise you that I’ve already connected with fellow Grady alumni and friends – new and old – in my own workplace, at happy hour and even coincidentally in my roommate search! Case in point: Grady is everywhere. So I’m making a point to connect with more Grady grads through New York alumni activities – one of the first and most exciting being the upcoming annual Peabody Awards mixer.

2 – Stop. Look. And say yes. How often do we glaze over emails and communications from our college? I’ll be the first to admit that when things get hectic, I easily fall behind. But when you open your eyes and ears, you’ll find that Grady is calling out to us in many different ways. I challenge myself (and you, too) to take a moment to stay informed about the goings-on at Grady and see how we can help – or simply join in on the centennial celebration fun!

3 – Pay it forward. Grads and students, how many times can you recall a Grady classmate, teacher or alumni affording you an opportunity that made a big impact in your educational journey? From others in our Grady family, I remember helpful gestures that ranged from sharing cool internship opportunities to nuggets of wisdom delivered over coffee. These are perfect examples of the connections that helped make my Grady experience so valuable. To pay it forward, I’m making an effort to think of the ways large and small that I can give back to the Grady student community. It’s easy! Through Grady, you can find a variety of opportunities to give back such as mentoring, classroom visits and financial giving among others.

To the other Grady alumni, I hope you’ll also ask yourself in what ways you’ll recommit to Grady this year. Let’s celebrate this milestone in exciting new ways to come together as a family once again!

Author Bio

Brittney Haynes is a 2009 graduate of the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she majored in magazines. During her college career, she served as vice president of the Magazine Club, a member of the Grady Student Diversity Committee and wrote for infUSion, UGAzine, and Pandora Yearbook. She also was actively involved in PRSSA and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., participating in several committees and volunteer roles. As a student, Brittney held several journalism and public relations internships at Upscale Magazine, American Red Cross, CNN, Athens-Clarke County City Hall and Spaulding Communications. She is currently an account supervisor in the healthcare practice at Edelman New York and is also on the Grady College Young Alumni Council. In her spare time, she writes freelance magazine stories, which she has enjoyed doing since her college days.  Follow Brittney on Twitter @brittNYCpr and join the centennial conversation using #Grady100.

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)

Date: February 3, 2015
Author:  Brittney Haynes,