Since 1851, 25 governors of Georgia have been graduates of the University of Georgia, including the former governor, Sonny Perdue. Perdue is the fifth consecutive state chief executive, and the seventh of the last nine governors, to hold a UGA degree. Both of Georgia’s U.S. senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, are graduates as are U.S. Reps. John (Jack) Kingston, John Barrow and Paul Broun, Jr. of Georgia.
At least 17 UGA alumni are presidents or provosts of colleges and universities in the U.S. They are: Larry Penley, president, Colorado State University; Paul Zingg, president, California State University, Chico; Walter Kimbrough, president, Philander Smith College; Ruth A. Knox, president, Wesleyan College; Thomas A. Wilkerson, president, Bainbridge College; Frank Bonner, president, Gardner-Webb University; Kerry Odell, provost, Potomac State College of West Virginia University; Cathy Cox, president of Young Harris College; Martha Dunagin Saunders, president of the University of Southern Mississippi; Timothy Mescon, president of Columbus State University; Lance Bolton, president of Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, TX, Keith Controneo, president of Marshall Community and Technical College, Virginia Carson, South Georgia College; Valerie Hepburn, College of Coastal Georgia; Chuck Ambrose, University of Central Missouri; and Kyle R. Carter, chancellor of the University of North Carolina - Pembroke.
Nine UGA graduates have received the Pulitzer Prize, including Natasha Trethewey (BA ‘89), who won the 2007 Pulitzer for poetry. The other recipients are all graduates of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. They include four editors or reporters who won individual Pulitzers, and four journalists who were part of a newspaper team that won a Pulitzer for public service.
Trethewey, who served as the U.S. Poet Laureate 2012-1014, has been inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, is the Poet Laureate of her native Mississippi, and was named Georgia Woman of the Year in 2008.
Four UGA alumni have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. They are Wyatt Anderson, professor of genetics at UGA; Cynthia Kenyon, a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California at San Francisco; Cori Bargmann, a professor at Rockefeller University in New York City; and Alfred Blalock, who, as chief surgeon at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the 1940s, developed a surgical technique to treat “blue-baby syndrome.”
Ertharin Cousin (JD ’82) made Forbes Magazine’s Most Powerful Black Women list. Cousin is the executive director of the United Nation’s World Food Programme, the largest humanitarian organization in the world.
Brad Schrade (AB ’92, MA ’95), a reporter with The Minneapolis Star Tribune, has earned journalism’s top honor: a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.
University of Georgia School of Law graduate Andrew A. Pinson (BBA ’08, JD ’11) served as a judicial clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Pinson’s appointment made him the sixth Georgia graduate in nine years to be selected for this prestigious post.Bill Stembler (JD ’71) is chairman and CEO of Georgia Theatre Company, overseeing the operation of 326 auditoriums in 32 cities in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Virginia. He is the third generation to run the family-owned business headquartered on St. Simons Island.
Other prominent alumni of the University include:
- Bill Anderson, country music recording artist and television personality
- Dan Amos, CEO of AFLAC
- Robert Benham, the first African American appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court and the first to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
- James Blanchard, former CEO and chairman, Synovus Financial Corp.
- The late D.W. Brooks, founder of Gold Kist, Inc., and advisor to seven U.S. presidents
- Chef Alton Brown, host of Food Network’s “Good Eats”
- Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop franchise
- A.D. “Pete” Correll, retired board chairman, Georgia-Pacific Corp.
- Thomas G. Cousins, founder and former chairman of Cousins Properties of Atlanta
- U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw of Jacksonville, Fla.
- Mike Edwards, senior writer for the National Geographic Society
- Theresa Edwards, one of the world’s premier female basketball players and the only American basketball player to participate in five Olympic Games
- Former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas
- The late Dewey Grantham, noted historian of the South
- The late Lewis Grizzard, syndicated newspaper columnist, humorist and author
- John Huey, emeritus editor-in-chief of Time, Inc.
- Raymond Hughes, chorus master of the Metropolitan Opera
- Charlayne Hunter-Gault, international journalist
- M. Douglas Ivester, former chairman and chief executive officer, Coca-Cola Co.
- Sportscaster Ernie Johnson
- W. Thomas Johnson, former chairman of the Cable News Network News Group
- W. Randall “Randy” Jones, chief executive officer of Capital Publishing Inc. and founder of Worth magazine
- Monty Markham, television and film actor and producer
- Pat Mitchell, director of the Paley Center for Media in New York City
- Dr. Faida Mitifu, Congolese ambassador to the U.S.
- Hala Moddelmog, chief executive, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
- Julie Moran, former ABC sports reporter and host of “Entertainment Tonight;”
- Bryan Mundy, co-founder of EzGov. com
- Fred Newman, sound effects artist on NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion”
- Television journalist Deborah Norville
- William P. (Billy) Payne, who was president and chief executive officer of The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, which managed the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta
- Deborah Roberts, producer and correspondent for ABC News
- Charles S. Sanford Jr., retired chairman and chief executive officer, Bankers Trust of New York
- Chad Smith, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation
- Hines Ward, star receiver of the Pittsburgh Steelers and MVP of Superbowl XL
- Novelists Philip Lee Williams and Stuart Woods.