Grady Salutes honors alumni, provides advice for students

In a room full of Grady College luminaries, Grady Fellow inductee Suzy Deering said it best when she talked about how humbled she was to be among the honorees.

“When you see these amazing people that walk this stage…that walk our world… and the change that they are making happen, you’ve got to feel so proud that you can call this, the University of Georgia, your home, but more importantly, that Grady is your family.”

Deering was one of ten honorees at the 2017 Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership on April 28, 2017, in the UGA Tate Grand Hall.

Alumni Awards winners included: Bonnie Arnold (ABJ’ 77), John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award; Jason Kreher (ABJ ’00), Henry W. Grady Mid-Career Alumni Award; Brooke Beach (ABJ ’11), John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award; and Jane B. Singer (ABJ ’76), Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award.

The 2017 Class of Grady Fellows were Deering, Philip Meeks (ABJ ’76), Amy Robach (ABJ ’95), Carla Sacks (ABJ ’88) and Kathleen Trocheck (ABJ ’76). Arnold also was inducted into the Fellowship.

Loran Smith (ABJ ’62) received the Dean’s Medal.

From remembrances of faculty inspiration and cultural impacts like Watergate, to heart-felt cheers of ‘Go Dawgs,’ each honoree added to the flavor of the evening.

  • Brooke Beach started out her comments saying it was not long ago that she was attending the awards ceremony as a student and a Grady Ambassador. Beach said: “to the students who may be looking at the stage wondering the same thing that I did, ‘will I ever be up there,’ my charge to you is this…to never stop dreaming, to work really hard, stay positive and treat others well. If you do those things, you may surprise yourself with the stage you end up on.”
  • Jason Kreher used his time on stage to implore the audience to focus on the subject of diversity. “What we all have in common in the room is storytelling and diversity has got to be one of our key priorities. In my 17 years here, I am watching that slowly start to change, but slowly is the key. Everyone in this room has the ability to speed that up.”
  • Bonnie Arnold, along with Trocheck later in the program, talked about the influence of Watergate, which was in the headlines during her time at Grady College. “This situation dramatically demonstrated the power and importance of investigative reporting. It aroused the passion in young people like myself, providing further inspiration to join the profession dedicated to finding the facts and getting the story. My career ultimately revolved into a different realm of storytelling, filmmaking, but journalism is something I revere. This is why I am so encouraged today to see young people again being galvanized by the news of our time.”
  • Jane Singer, who teaches in London, could not attend Grady Salutes, but her good friend Janice Hume, read a note of thanks from Singer. “One of the greatest privileges of life in a democratic society is asking questions. And, one of greatest rewards is uncovering answers that lead to new questions. This ongoing pursuit of understanding, combined with insight, fueled by curiosity, is at the heart of journalism and at the heart of academic research, too.” Singer will be presented her award this summer by some Grady students who are studying in Oxford, England.
  • Suzy Deering talked about the foundation her classes at Grady College provided in preparing her for unknown adventures ahead. “The first step was getting into the University of Georgia, then it was actually taking the steps to make sure I was well-prepared for what my next adventure was. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to prepare me for that next adventure.”
  • Phil Meeks channeled musician Bob Dylan for the basis of his comments when he talked about Dylan’s lyrics, ‘if you’re not busy being born, you’re busy dying.’ “To me, that exemplifies getting better every day, and evolving and growing as a person, and a lot of that journey began for me here on this campus.”
  • Amy Robach began her talk with an admission that journalism was a back-up plan to being an actress, but that once she started, she fell in love with storytelling and journalism. He classes taught her how to be fair and compassionate and gave her confidence for her first job. “I am so proud to be a Bulldawg and so proud to be a graduate of Grady College because this is the reason why I am a journalist. This school is the reason why I have the career I have. I truly credit this university and this college, specifically, with giving me the most magical, beautiful career because it’s a lot better than being an actress.”
  • Carla Sacks talked about her time working at WUOG while she was a student at Grady College. She met her husband at Grady, and while she thought she wanted to be a documentary filmmaker, she went on to create one of the largest PR agencies representing musicians and filmmakers. “Be open-minded, because you never know what’s around the corner.”
  • Kathy Trocheck talked about how her background in journalism has inspired her to excel at writing fiction. Her work at the Red & Black was her learning lab. “I learned to ask important questions. I didn’t learn to just ask questions, I learned to ask follow-up questions. I learned to listen and listen to the way people spoke.” She concluded with thoughts about the journalism profession: “Journalists, students, I honestly believe you are doing the most important work you can do. You are doing the work that needs to be done. I am inspired by you.”
  • Loran Smith closed the ceremony by taking a cue from the late Furman Bisher who wrote an annual Thanksgiving column. “Thanksgiving is something most Americans can celebrate every day,” Smith began. “I am thankful to be a graduate of Grady. I am thankful for our ebullient dean. Charles has credentials, vision and a fine sense of direction for our school.” He continued with words of thankfulness for Grady’s faculty, the Peabody awards and “students who will be world-changers as we move forward in this century.” He also spoke about the influence of another Grady alumnus, Dan Magill (ABJ ’42) “I am thankful that a Grady titan, the late Dan Magill allowed a country boy to learn that you can travel the world and enjoy its delights but there’s no place like home, especially if home is Athens.”

A Grady Salutes 2017 photo album can be found on the UGAGrady Flickr page, and select interviews through Facebook Live can be found the UGAGrady Facebook feed.

2017 Fellow Spotlight: Amy Robach

This is one in a series of spotlights profiling members of the 2017 Grady Fellowship class, scheduled to be inducted during Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership on April 28, 2017. See “2017 Fellowship Class Announced” to view a complete list of Fellows.

Registration for this event is now closed, please contact Karen Andrews, for more information.

Amy Robach (ABJ ’95), news anchor for ABC’s “Good Morning America,” has made quite an impact on students at the University of Georgia and Grady College over the past few years. In January 2015, Grady College’s DiGamma Kappa student organization honored Robach with its Distinguished Achievement Award, and later that same year, she delivered the UGA commencement address.

Robach returns to UGA April 28 as Grady College inducts her into the 2017 Grady Fellowship class.

Since joining ABC News, Robach has traveled nationally and internationally to cover major news events. Recently, she has reported from Brussels on the terrorist bombings in Belgium; Orlando, Florida, on the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub and Dallas, Texas, to cover the shooting ambush of police officers. She also contributes to GMA’s Hidden Worlds series, and has covered Election Night 2016 from Trump headquarters and anchored ABC News’ coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In 2015, Robach wrote a New York Times bestseller titled “Better: How I Let Go of Control, Held On To Hope, and Found Joy in My Darkest Hour” about her unexpected journey with breast cancer after being diagnosed following an on-air mammogram on GMA.

Before joining ABC News, Robach worked as an anchor and correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC and at WTTG in Washington, D.C. and WCBD in Charleston, South Carolina.

Robach graduated from Grady College, with honors, with a degree in broadcast journalism.

2017 Fellowship Class Announced

The University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication is pleased to announce its 2017 Fellowship class.

Established in 2008, the Grady College Fellowship honors friends of the college whose accomplishments, friendship and service to the industries they serve have made a positive impact on Grady College.

This year’s Grady Fellowship inductees include Suzy Deering, Phil Meeks, Amy Robach, Carla Sacks and Kathleen Trocheck.

Bonnie Arnold (ABJ ’77), president of DreamWorks Animation, will receive the John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement alumni award and will also be inducted into the Fellowship.

“We’re so pleased to induct the newest class of the Grady Fellows—the very embodiment of all that is best about Grady College and its vast network of alumni and friends,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “This impressive class adds to the luster of the Grady brand and serves as a point of pride for all Grady graduates.”

One alumnus, Robert M. Pollock, will be inducted that same evening into the Sanford Circle, a posthumous membership created to honor friends of Grady College whose achievement and generosity of spirit remain with the college.

Suzy Deering — Deering is chief marketing officer of eBay North America. Prior to joining eBay, she served as CEO of Moxie, a digital advertising agency, and worked for more than a decade at Verizon. She was recognized by “Advertising Age” as part of their “Top 40 Under 40” list in 2007, and was instrumental in the foundation of the Drake House in Atlanta, a crisis residential assessment center for homeless women and children. Although she took several classes at Grady College during her time at UGA, she is a graduate of Family and Consumer Sciences with a degree in home economics and journalism.

Philip Meeks (ABJ ’76) — Meeks is executive vice president and president of Spectrum Enterprise at Charter Communications. In this role, Meeks oversees all commercial operations, marketing and strategy and sales. Previously, he served in executive management positions at Time Warner Cable and Cox Business. He majored in advertising at Grady College.

Amy Robach (ABJ ’95) — Robach serves as news anchor for “Good Morning America” and is the author of “Better: How I Let Go of Control, Held On To Hope, and Found Joy in My Darkest Hour,” about her unexpected journey with breast cancer. In the past year, Robach has reported from Brussels on the terrorist bombings in Belgium, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and Election Night 2016 from Trump headquarters. Prior to ABC, she worked at the TODAY show and as an NBC national correspondent. Robach delivered the UGA commencement keynote address in 2015. She studied broadcast news at Grady College.

Carla Sacks (ABJ ’88) — Sacks is the founder of Sacks & Co, a music and film public relations agency with offices in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville. With three decades in the music industry, she is sought out to develop, shape, and execute public image strategies for both world-renowned and emerging artists spanning all genres of music—from pop, rock, rap and country to classical and jazz. Beyond music, her firm’s clients include highly acclaimed filmmakers, film producers, theater companies, art presenters and entrepreneurial business ventures. She majored in telecommunications at Grady College.

Kathleen Trocheck (ABJ ’76) — Trocheck is a well-known author of more than 24 novels under her real name and also the pen name, Mary Kay Andrews. Many of her books have been New York Times bestsellers including “The Fixer Upper,” “Savannah Breeze,” and “Blue Christmas.” Prior to writing novels, Trocheck worked as a reporter at The Savannah Morning News, The Marietta Journal and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She has a cookbook, “The Beach House Cookbook,” coming out this May. Trocheck majored in newspapers at Grady College.

The Sanford Circle honoree, Robert M. Pollock (ABJ ’39), was a screenwriter along with his wife, Eileen. He is most notably known as a screenwriter and supervising producer for “Dynasty” and “The Colby’s.” Pollock also served in World War II as General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s chief of public radio relations. He was 99-years-old when he passed away in 2016.

The recognition of the Fellows, along with recognition of the Grady College Alumni Award winners, takes place at “Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership” on April 28 at the Tate Student Center.

Registration for this event is now closed, please contact Karen Andrews, for more information.