Mama always said, "If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?
Reilley Rankin would answer, "Yes!"
Rankin is best known for her exploits on the golf course. The UGA sophomore was 1998 National Freshman of the Year, SEC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. During her freshman season, she won four consecutive tournaments, including the NCAA East Regional, and was named a first team All-American.
If Rankin had broken her back in a slightly different place, she would have been paralyzed. Her golf career is on hold, pending months of recuperation.
However, Rankin's prowess on the links has taken a backseat to her extracurricular activities. On a visit to a lake in Alabama last spring, Rankin leaped into the water from a 70-foot precipice. She landed awkwardly, suffering a broken sternum and two broken vertebrae. She will be confined to a body brace for three or four months. Doctors will then decide whether surgery will be necessary to help the healing process. She will not play golf this year.
"The doctor asked me if I knew how lucky I was," says Rankin. "Then he told me that if I had broken the vertebrae in my back a half-centimeter to the right or left, I would have been paralyzed."
If Rankin had been paralyzed, she would have drowned before any of her companions could have reached her. As it was, she struggled to the surface and called for help, but slipped back beneath the water before Courtney Swain, an Auburn University golfer, could pull her to safety.
"All I remember seeing," says Rankin, "is my body going down and bubbles going up."
Rankin attacks challenges or fears with the same intense energy she showcases on the golf course. "I don't like to lay up," she says. But she dismisses bravado as a reason for her latest misadventure and she thinks she learned something from the experience.
I was not showing off," she says. "I wanted to jump. I would not do it again. I learned a lot about risk and reward from this experience. My coach will like to read that."
Stephen Weeks (AB '94) is a reporter for the Carolina Morning News, which published a similar version of this story.
Year-round program underway at Oxford
They're booked on British Airways, their flight leaves on Sept. 10, and the 25 students who will study at Oxford University in England this fall are helping UGA establish a year-round beachhead in England.
"As proof of our commitment to providing an international education for our students, we have established a year-round program at Oxford University," says President Michael F. Adams. "Oxford has been the center of scholarly inquiry for the European continent for 800 years. Rhodes Scholars study thereand so do University of Georgia students."
UGA is one of only four Americans schoolsand the only public institutionwith a year-round residential program at Oxford. The others are Stanford, Boston University, and Williams. UGA has had a summer study-abroad program there since 1989. A spring program was added in 1994.
Students participating in the program will live in a three-story Victorian house in the heart of the city of Oxford. The brick structure has more than 5,000 square feet and includes 10 furnished rooms, each with a private bath and mini-kitchen.
New grant funds more foreign study
A $250,000 grant from the Katherine John Murphy Foundation of Atlanta will provide scholarships worth $500 to $1,000 for academically qualified undergraduates to study abroad. The University's goal is for 10 percent of the undergraduate population to study abroad by 2002.
Scholarship set up in late daughter's name
The parents of Melissa Lynn Hague, a UGA sophomore who was killed by an Athens-Clarke County bus in 1996, have established a UGA scholarship and a travel fund in her name.
Roger and Laree Hague of Marietta donated $100,000 to create a fund that will provide a scholarship annually to a junior or senior majoring in anthropology, which was to be their daughter's academic field. They also donated $25,000 to set up a travel fund, which will help anthropology students conduct off-campus fieldwork.
"Melissa never was able to fulfill her dreams," says her father, "but we hope this scholarship will assist all recipients to reach their goals and fulfill their dreams."
Melissa Hague was killed on Dec. 5, 1996, when she stepped off the curb at the intersection of Baldwin Street and Sanford Drive. She had just completed a final exam in anthropology. She attended Sprayberry High School, where she was president of the school chapter of Students for Environmental Awareness. She was also a member of Amnesty International.
After the accident, her parents filed a wrongful death suit against Athens-Clarke County. The case was settled out of court for $900,000.
|WILL THE REAL MIKE ADAMS PLEASE STAND UP?
What's in a name? In the case of the seven gentlemen at right, you'd have to say a lot of solidarity because all seven of themincluding UGA's presidentshare the same name: "Michael Adams."
Front row (L-R): Michael A. Adams (phys. plant painter), Michael F. Adams (UGA president), and Michael R. Adams (senior, environmental health science, Duluth). Middle row: Michael Allen Adams (freshman, landscape architecture, Peachtree City), and Michael "Zac" Adams (junior, landscape design, Rockmart). Back row: Michael C. Adams (senior, finance, Pelham) and Michael W. Adams (biochemistry professor).