Fellowship Profile: Susan Percy

The following is one installment of a series recognizing alumni and friends who will be honored at the 2023 Grady Salutes celebration on April 28, 2023. For more details, please see our posts about our Fellowship honorees, Alumni Award recipients and Dean’s Medalist.

Congratulations to Susan Percy (ABJ ’66) who has been named to this year’s class of Grady Fellowship inductees.

Percy is a journalist based in Atlanta and although she is now retired, she spent several years at Georgia Trend Magazine, serving 12 years as executive editor and editor and eight years as editor-at-large. She wrote an award-winning monthly opinion column for more than 20 years and remains a regular contributor.

Her work has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Alliance of Area Business Publications, the Atlanta Press Club, and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. She was inducted into the MAGS Hall of Fame in 2008 for her contributions to magazine journalism.

Susan Percy interviews Jimmy Carter.
Susan Percy has interviewed many public figures throughout her career including President Jimmy Carter. (Photo: courtesy of Susan Percy)

Prior to Georgia Trend, she spent eight years at Atlanta Magazine as senior editor and managing editor and worked a brief time as managing editor of Arthritis Today. She has worked for newspapers in Louisiana and California, and her freelance work has appeared in numerous publications including USA Today, The Reader’s Digest and Georgia Magazine.

Percy has served on the Grady Alumni Board, and is a member of the Atlanta Press Club and the Emory University Ethics Center Media Advisory Council.

She was married to the late author Paul Hemphill who served as a Grady Journalist-in-Residence in the early 1970s. She lives in Decatur, conveniently close to her daughter, Martha Hemphill Barbieri, son-in-law, and two grandchildren.

Some of Percy’s writing can be found on her website.

Following are excerpts from an interview with Percy which have been minimally edited for length and clarity.

Grady College: What experience at Grady College did the most to prepare you for your career?

 Susan Percy: The whole package. The combination of classes and professors and opportunities, including working on the Red & Black, which was under Grady’s auspices when I was there, but is an independent publication now. I learned how to be a journalist, and even though the profession has changed in ways I could never have imagined, the basic writing, reporting, and interviewing skills I developed and refined taught me to think like a journalist and provided the foundation for accommodating and adapting to the changes—and, in many cases, welcoming them.

When I started college, the conventional wisdom was that young women, whatever their course of study, should get a teaching certificate, “just in case,” even if you weren’t interested in being a teacher. But I never heard that at Grady. I was treated as a serious journalist from Day One and encouraged and supported in my choice of a profession.

GC: What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

Susan Percy wrote a feature about the Peabody Awards for Georgia Trend in 2016 and covered the awards ceremony in New York. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

SP: Take advantage of everything that is here. You may never again have such ready access to so many opportunities—publications, labs, technology, innovative projects, mentorships, internships, and dedicated faculty members and fellow students to advise and support you.

Embrace the diversity and inclusion that is now part of Grady and will continue to be; it is enriching the offerings and areas of study available to you as well as the journalism profession itself.

Take a risk. Try something that intimidates you a little and draw on all the people who are ready to help you.

GC: What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

SP: Breathe. Benefit from and learn from all your professional experiences, but try to take the long view, as well. Throughout your career, you will have some disappointments and setbacks. That’s part of it. Even your dream job will have some tough days, but don’t give up and don’t doubt yourself. If you need to make a change, in your job or your career trajectory or even the way you approach your work, do it thoughtfully and gracefully.

GC: What does this recognition mean to you?

SP: It is the most significant—and surprising—professional honor I have ever had.

I have been a working journalist, with a couple of brief detours, for more than 50 years; and I am happy to say I am not done yet. I am still working. I have had an interesting and varied career, with ups and downs and some successes. But I am not a big name. I’ve never won a Pulitzer. I’ve never owned a publication or a media company. I’ve always answered to someone else.

I think there are a lot of working journalists like me—we work hard, but we don’t call all the shots. We care about what we are doing. We do it with dedication and resolve and integrity; we believe our work is important. Yet there are times when we wonder if it matters, if anyone notices.  This recognition from Grady tells me that it does matter, that people notice the effort that so many journalists make. That every fact you triple-check, every word choice you agonize over, every extra effort you make is important. And it does count.

I am very grateful to Grady College for this honor.

GC: What motivates you?

SP: I’ve reached the age where I should probably be knitting afghans or baking cookies for my grandchildren, but I value the opportunity to continue to do the work I love—at a slower pace, perhaps.

I believe the work of journalists and communicators is more important than ever. The changes that have come to our profession have been both challenging and exciting; but the work we do is crucial. And it is so important for us to do it well, to use all the resources we have to communicate with accuracy, honesty, intelligence, and integrity. And to enjoy doing it.

Susan Percy shows her College spirit for the Grady College Centennial celebration in 2015, while Dean John Drewry looks on from a framed portrait. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

Tickets to Grady Salutes: Celebrating Achievement, Leadership and Commitment on April 28, 2023, are available for purchase. Register here.  


Remembering Michael H. McDougald

It is with sadness that we announce the death of Michael Hall McDougald: broadcaster, Grady Fellow and friend of the College. McDougald died Dec. 17, 2021, in Rome, Georgia.

Michael McDougald at WSB in 1948.
Michael McDougald got his start in radio while he was a radio and television student at Emory University. He is pictured here in 1948 working at WSB radio. (Photo: Grady College archives)

“Mike was everything a good broadcaster should be,” said Bob Houghton, part-time instructor at Grady College and president of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. “He left the communities he worked in better than they were before he arrived. He didn’t just join organizations to be a member; he joined to serve and lead them.”

Houghton’s remarks were made in a recent GAB newsletter, an organization that McDougald served as a former president and member of its Hall of Fame.

McDougald led a long career in broadcasting serving in employment positions at WWNS/WMCD, Statesboro, Georgia; WRFC, Athens, Georgia; WGBA, Columbus, Georgia; and WSB, Atlanta, Georgia. He was involved in ownership of WCHK, Canton, Georgia; WAAX/WQEN, Gadsden, Alabama; WRGA/WQTU, Rome, Georgia; and WVOV, Danville, Virginia.

Following his 1952 graduation from Emory University where he majored in radio and television and worked at WSB, McDougald entered the Army, serving in the Korean War, and later in military service in Germany during the Cold War. He was a graduate of the Counter-Intelligence Corps School in Baltimore, Maryland, and was a CIC Special Agent with top secret clearance. He was also an instrument-rated licensed pilot.

McDougald started graduate studies at Grady College in the 1950s, but was lured to back to his pre-war job at WSB in Atlanta, leaving his degree incomplete.

McDougald was inducted into the inaugural class of Grady Fellows in 2008, a group recognized for accomplishments, friendship and service to the industries they serve and making a positive impact on Grady College.

He was the recipient of two Marconi Awards and one Crystal award from the National Association of Broadcasters, three Abe Lincoln awards, and seven GAB Station of the Year awards. He served two terms on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Broadcasters, and as chairman of America’s Small Market Committee.  He is a past president of the GAB and past board member of both the Georgia and Alabama Broadcasters Associations. He was named Broadcast-Citizen of the Year in Georgia and Broadcaster of the Year in Alabama and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of both GAB and ABA.

Michael McDougald and Parker Middleton
Michael McDougald was very involved with the Georgia Association of Broadcasters, serving as its board president, on its Board of Directors and in it Hall of Fame. He is pictured here at a GAB dinner with former Grady development director Parker Middleton, in 2015.

During later years, McDougald was vice chairman of the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission which operates Georgia Public Broadcasting, and was chairman of the Foundation for Public Broadcasting of Georgia, Inc.

He was involved with and led many civic organizations including hospital boards, Rotary Clubs and Red Cross organizations. After 18 years service, he was a Board of Director Emeritus of SunTrust Bank of Northwest Georgia.

McDougald came from a family who served the broadcast industry. One of his brothers, Donald McDougald, owned and operated radio stations in Georgia and Virginia, and another brother, Worth, was on the faculty of Grady College, serving as director of the Peabody Awards for nearly 30 years until his retirement in 1991. Michael, Donald and Worth were all inducted into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, proudly housed on the second floor of Grady College.

McDougald’s obituary can be viewed here.

For additional features about McDougald’s legacy, please see the following:

2020 Grady Fellowship Inductees

Grady College proudly announces the newest class of Grady Fellows, a recognition honoring friends of the college whose accomplishments, friendship and service to the industries they serve have made a positive impact on the college and its students.

“This year’s class of Grady Fellows represents the full breadth and depth of the college,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “From senior leaders in business to broadcast icons and radio legends, it’s a true testament to the quality of the nominations for this, our highest recognition.”

The Fellowship induction, along with the recognition of the 2020 Alumni Awards, will take place Thursday, Oct. 1 at Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership.

The 2020 Fellowship class includes:

Allison Ausband (ABJ ’83)

Current job: Senior vice president – in-flight service, Delta Air Lines
Grady College major: Journalism

Allison Ausband has spent her professional career at Delta Air Lines, a company she joined in 1985 as a flight attendant. Working her way through positions of greater responsibility, Ausband currently leads a team of 24,000 flight attendants, supervisory and support personnel around the globe, as well as Delta’s onboard global food and beverage operation and experience. Her key responsibilities include leading her team to ensure 200 million Delta customers have an enjoyable flight experience while maintaining a focus on safety.

Chris Clark (ABJ ’61)

Current job: Adjunct professor of broadcast journalism, Middle Tennessee State University
Grady College major: Journalism

When Chris Clark retired as news anchor at WTVF in Nashville, a station he served for nearly 41 years, he was one of the longest-tenured anchors in American television history.  In the earlier years of his tenure, Clark also served as the station’s news director, leading the station’s conversion from film to electronic news coverage, among the first to convert to what is now the broadcast standard throughout the world. Following his retirement in 2007, he was appointed to the Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies at the university, leading to his current position as adjunct professor.

Clark serves on the Grady Board of Trust.

Carol Ramos-Helton (ABJ ’79) and Dick Helton

Current jobs: U.S. correspondent for radio New Zealand (Carol); host KNX morning show (Dick)
Grady College major: Journalism (Carol)

Carol and Dick Helton have each earned strong reputations in radio and television broadcasting that have resulted in several Emmy and Golden Mike nominations and awards.

Prior to working in international radio, Carol was the news director and morning drive news anchor and talk show host at KABC Talk Radio in Los Angeles. She moved to LA in the mid 90s to become morning drive anchor at All-News KFWB.

In addition to his host responsibilities at KNX, Dick also works as senior political correspondent for the station and has been at the heart of the station’s political coverage for the past twenty-two years.

Eugenia Harvey (ABJ ’82)

Current jobs: Executive producer and project director of the multi-platform initiatives at WNET, New York
Grady College major: Journalism

Eugenia Harvey has left an indelible mark on the world of news media as a veteran broadcast journalist on ABC News’ “PrimeTime Live” and “48 Hours” (CBS), as well as serving as an executive producer for “Third Rail with OZY,” and shows on CNN and BET.

Harvey has also served as a producer for “Race Matters: Solutions” on PBS NewsHour with Charlayne Hunter-Gault (ABJ ’63).

Ken Woo (ABJ ’78)

Current jobs: Freelance director of photography and cameraman work
Grady College major: Journalism

Ken Woo has an incredibly varied background in his nearly 40 years of serving as director of photography, cameraman and documentary producer.

Woo’s big break came at CBS where he worked numerous shows like the “Young & the Restless,” “Bold & the Beautiful,” “Price Is Right,” “Archie Bunker’s Place” and “Mama’s Family.”

In 1987, Woo turned to fulltime freelance work focusing on live sports, news magazines, documentaries and features. Woo became a director of photography in the early 1990s, working on everything from the Olympics, IronMan and Tour de France to several Super Bowls, Final Four Championships and several US Open tournaments for tennis and golf.

2018 Grady College Fellowship class announced

Dean Charles Davis and Grady College are pleased to announce the 2018 class of Grady College Fellows: E. Culpepper “Cully” Clark, Melita Easters (ABJ ’76), David Hazinski, Lisa Ryan Howard (ABJ ’92) and Lee Thomas (ABJ ’87).

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.

The induction 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 27 at the Georgia Center.

“This year’s Grady Fellows class reminds me of the ties that bind us all together,” Davis said. “Each member of this sterling class represents the very best of us all, and has such deep ties not only to us all, but to the industries that we serve, forming another lasting addition to Grady’s pantheon of stars.”

The recipient of the John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award will be also inducted into the Fellowship during ceremonies on April 27. The recipient of the Holliman Award, along with the other Grady College Alumni Awards, will be announced later this month.

E. Culpepper "Culy" Clark
E. Culpepper “Cully” Clark

Fellows to be inducted include:

Culpepper “Cully” Clark — Clark is dean emeritus of Grady College, a position he held from 2006 until his retirement in 2013. During this tenure as dean, Clark increased the number of endowed professorships and chairs from four to 15. Clark was dean of Grady when the college inducted its first class of Grady Fellows in 2008. Prior to Grady College, he served as dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences at The University of Alabama, after serving as an assistant professor and assistant to the president of UA. A historian of the South since the Civil War, Clark’s published works have focused on the New South Movement, Civil Rights and communications. In 2015, he wrote “Centennial: A History of the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia,” as a gift to the college. He is finishing a new book, “Sherman, Grady, and the Making of Atlanta.” Clark earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Emory University and a doctorate degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Melita Easters
Melita Easters


Melita Easters (ABJ ’76) — Easters is the founding chair and currently serves as executive director of Georgia’s WIN List, a political action committee dedicated to electing Democratic women to statewide office and the Georgia General Assembly. She is also a playwright, having written, among other works, a series of one-woman plays about southern literary figures including Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee. She is currently finishing a new play, “The Cigar – Robert Woodruff and the Rise of Coca Cola.” Easters served on the board of The Red & Black for more than a decade, including serving as board chair in 2013 and 2014. She has also served as the state news editor for the Tifton Gazette, as a political reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and as a producer for “The Lawmakers.” Easters earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Grady College.


David Hazinski
David Hazinski

David Hazinski — For more than 30 years, Hazinski has been a professor of Grady College, teaching digital and broadcast journalism. He is a Kennedy Professor of New Media and was just named a Top Journalism Educator by NewsPro Magazine. Hazinski also serves as the CEO of Intelligent Media Consultants, an international communications consulting and training company that has launched more than a dozen national television channels, including the first private and 24/7 news channels in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Prior to joining Grady College, he was the originating co-host, writer and technology advisor for “World Business Review with Caspar Weinberger,” and he served as an international correspondent for NBC News, based in New York, London, Washington, and then Atlanta. Hazinski holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Duquesne University and a master’s degree in educational communications and technology from the University of Pittsburgh. He plans to retire at the end of this academic year.

Lisa Ryan Howard
Lisa Ryan Howard

Lisa Ryan Howard (ABJ ’92) — Howard currently serves as senior vice president and general manager, media, at The New York Times. In this role, she is responsible for the newspaper’s category-organized sales team in New York, its national sales offices in the U.S and around the world, and the group’s planning and operations teams. Howard joined The Times in 2016, following executive strategy positions at WebMD and Yahoo. She has also served as publisher of Billboard and several leadership positions at Conde Nast. She was the recipient of Grady College’s Henry W. Grady Mid-Career Achievement Award in 2012, and has been recognized as one of Advertising Age’s “40 Under 40.” She has a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Grady College.


Lee Thomas
Lee Thomas

Lee Thomas (ABJ ’87) — Thomas is a deputy commissioner at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and division director of the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office. She returned to Atlanta in 1996 to work for the Georgia Film and Videotape Office as a project manager, and then became a location specialist for the office in 1998.  After finding locations for film and television projects for 12 years, Lee became director of the film division in 2010. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication arts from Grady College and she holds a master’s degree in film studies from Georgia State University. She also attended the Tisch School of the Arts Doctoral Program in Cinema Studies at New York University.

The induction 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 27 at the Georgia Center.

Tickets can be ordered by visiting the Grady Salutes reservation website.

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, karena@uga.edu for more information.