Feature Stories

Red and black shines in the Golden State

The University of Georgia hosted events for alumni, students, parents and donors in California from June 5-8. The trip to the West Coast gave UGA President Jere W. Morehead, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Kelly Kerner, and other administrators and alumni relations staff an opportunity to connect with supporters who live and work in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas.

"I was deeply inspired by our alumni on the West Coast. They serve as leaders in their communities and professions, and they represent the very best of their alma mater," Morehead said. "This trip was a great reminder of the tremendous strength and reach of the UGA family, which today spans the nation and the globe."

The four-day visit was anchored by two large receptions that allowed alumni and friends to interact and learn more about the exciting developments taking place on campus, especially those related to the Commit to Georgia Campaign. Each reception helped raise funds to support scholarships for UGA students.

President Jere W. Morehead (center) talks with (left to right) Dustin Nguyen, Class of 2019; Khoa Ngo, Class of 2017; NASA program manager Roger Hunter (BS ’78); and Niklas Endler, Class of 2019. Pictured at top with President Morehead are, from left, Blake Gowen (BS ’16), Evita B. McDaniels (ABJ ’04, AB ’06), Nancy McQuilkin (ABJ ’79) and Vicky Lee.President Jere W. Morehead (center) talks with (left to right) Dustin Nguyen, Class of 2019; Khoa Ngo, Class of 2017; NASA program manager Roger Hunter (BS ’78); and Niklas Endler, Class of 2019.

Pictured at top with President Morehead are, from left, Blake Gowen (BS ’16), Evita B. McDaniels (ABJ ’04, AB ’06), Nancy McQuilkin (ABJ ’79) and Vicky Lee.

The first reception was held June 6 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. More than 100 people attended the reception, including Rachel Hundley (AB '05, AB '05, ABJ '05), the mayor of Sonoma, California; Elisha Finney (BBA '83), former EVP and CFO for Varian Medical Systems; and other prominent alumni from the area. UGA students who are interning with NASA this summer also attended the reception. San Francisco is home to more than 2,400 alumni and 30 current students.

Two days later, a second reception was held at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills. A pre-reception with local UGA parents took place before the larger reception. During this time, parents were introduced to Morehead and were able to meet other parents from the area. The main reception drew more than 200 people, including-among other key alumni from the region-Laura Cushing (ABJ '97), owner and producer at CushCo Productions, and Meredith Seacrest (ABJ '03), executive director and COO of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation and a 2016 40 Under 40 honoree. Students participating in the Grady in LA field study and internship program joined the reception as well. More than 2,600 alumni and 50 current students live in the Los Angeles area.

"It's such a privilege to visit with alumni in California," said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of alumni relations. "They are among our most loyal alumni and are as eager as any graduates to remain involved with and support their alma mater."

The UGA Alumni Association has three alumni chapters in California-San Diego, San Francisco and Southern California (Los Angeles)-that host events for local alumni throughout the year. All UGA supporters are invited to participate in events and programs hosted by local alumni chapters.

Photos from these events will be posted to an online photo gallery in the coming days.

The university will host another reception for alumni, parents and friends in Washington, D.C., on June 21. Registration is free and is open until June 16.

Published Friday,