Campus News

Author, humorist will deliver keynote at Alumni Seminar

Roy Blount Jr-h
Roy Blount Jr.

Alumni and others interested in lifelong learning will converge on the UGA campus Feb. 17-18 for the 2017 Alumni Seminar, an educational gathering that will allow participants to experience firsthand what has changed—and what will always stay the same—at the nation’s first state-chartered university.

The theme of the 2017 Alumni Seminar is “A Sense of Place.” ­Lectures, behind-the-scenes tours and other exclusive events during the two-day gathering will explore how individuals and communities build and experience a sense of place in today’s changing world.

UGA faculty and alumni will introduce participants to ongoing research on the values associated with place and how these are affected by external forces. Participants will consider the role that “place” plays in community and identity, from the nation’s 100-year history of national parks to the virtual worlds explored by millennials.

The keynote speaker for the 2017 Alumni Seminar is Roy Blount Jr., the author of 24 books; a columnist for Garden and Gun, Esquire, The New York Times and many others; and a panelist on NPR’s Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me. Blount is a 2016 Georgia Writers Hall of Fame inductee.

“The Alumni Seminar is a great opportunity for alumni and friends of UGA to connect with each other and to hear from renowned faculty members and guest speakers,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “I look forward to welcoming our alumni and friends back to our vibrant campus for this exciting event.”

In addition to the keynote address from Blount, the 2017 Alumni Seminar will feature:
• A lunch with President Morehead during which he will discuss his perspective on UGA and its role in meeting the needs of the state and nation.
• A presentation by Lucy Lawliss, a College of Environment and Design alumna, former historical landscape architect for the U.S. National Park Service, former park superintendent of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and George Washington Birthplace National Monument, and co-chair of the National Association for Olmsted Parks.
• A campus tour highlighting UGA’s new and recently renovated facilities.
• A discussion on climate and place by J. Marshall Shepherd, the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor, director of the UGA Atmospheric Sciences Program and host of The Weather Channel’s Sunday talk show Weather Geeks.
• An interactive session on virtual reality led by Grace Ahn, the founding director of the Games and Virtual Environments Lab in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
• A presentation on the tiny house movement led by Kim Skobba, an assistant professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences who co-teaches a service-learning course in which students design and build tiny houses to provide low-cost housing for rural communities.

Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of alumni relations, said that her conversations with alumni in Georgia and beyond often touch on the strong connections that people have to the university, an institution that is always evolving but at the same time always feels like home.

“There will always be a place for alumni—and really anyone who’s interested in higher education and lifelong learning—at the University of Georgia,” Johnson said. “I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my fellow alumni and other supporters of the university this February during the 2017 Alumni Seminar.”

Registration for the two-day seminar is $275 per person, and space is limited. Those unable to attend the entire seminar may purchase individual dinner reservations for Friday evening with Lawliss or Saturday evening with Blount for $75 per evening. Lodging for the seminar is available at the Georgia Center’s UGA Hotel and Conference Center.

For more information or to register online, see