I spent yesterday with the Grady Society Alumni Board, a group of 12 Grady College graduates who have established themselves in various communications careers around the world -- the chairwoman is living in Canada, and another is very close in Cairo (Cairo, Ga., that is). The Board recently reconvened when the Grady College welcomed a new dean two years ago, so much of the day was spent writing an editing bylaws. Through what may sound like a rather boring process of writing and rewriting, I realized the extreme passion this dedicated, close-knit group has for the Grady College. The Board is truly committed to making a difference in the lives of the students, faculty, staff and alumni of the college they owe their current successes to. I look forward to working the the group in the future as I continue to serve as the Board's student representative.
Next, I enjoyed sitting in on our Bateman Team's presentation for the second, yes second!, time -- even better than the first -- so impressive! I suggested the group record the presentation and post it online. Maybe they'll listen (Sydney, Ashley, Abby, Jarek or Audrey), and you'll see what I'm talking about. This is one dedicated, talented group of Grady students. As Dr. Russell, the Team's advisor put it, "They are the best of the best."
Finally, I attended Pride of Grady, a ceremony celebrating alumni and student achievement -- McGill Fellows, a Wall Street Journal Fellow, a PBS Roadtrip Nation winner, honor graduates, outstanding internship recipients, journalism award winners, scholarship winners. I could go on and on. The Grady Ambassadors (a group that I am proud to be a part of) were recognized, as well as the Bateman Team. Dean Clark presented the inaugural Grady Spirit Award to a senior student who organized UGA's Got Talent which raised money for a local nonprofit organization.
Jessica Foster Bonner was presented with the John E. Drewry Young Alumnus Award for her work as a reporter, producer and meteorologist. Among other things, she was part of an award-winning team that provided 36 continuous hours of coverage during Hurricane Dennis. I'm almost positive she had a few tears in her eyes as she recollected her past at Grady.
Gene Colter was recognized for his mid-career achievements. Gene's resume is impressive -- news editor of the Money & Investing section of the Wall Street Journal and deputy managing editor of the Dow Jones News Service. Today, he serves as the editorial director and member of the management committee at Peppercom, a strategic communication firm in New York City. I did a little research, and it looks like he frequently contributes to Rep Man, a great PR blog by one of Peppercom's co-founders. Gene's long-time mentor, his favorite journalism professor at Grady, Dr. Fink, presented him with the award.
Finally, Carolyn Tieger gave a moving speech as she accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award. The managing director of Porter Novelli's D.C. office shared that she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery less than a week ago. Nothing was going to keep her from being at Grady yesterday. A true Georgia Bulldog -- with four family members and a nephew on the way (she hopes!) attending the University of Georgia. Tieger was recently named Public Affairs Executive of the Year by PR News and Washington PR Woman of the Year, but the Grady recognition seemed to be more meaningful to her.
My point in all of this... I'm realizing more and more how proud I am to be a part of the Grady College. Not only am I learning from some of the best, but I am also establishing friendships with the students, professors and staff here at Grady that I know will last a lifetime. I'm all the more certain of my choice to stay one more year. I can't get enough!