Athens, Ga. – Maxine Clark (ABJ ’71), alumna of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, will deliver the keynote address at the Grady College Spring and Summer Convocation set for Friday, May 11, at the Athens Classic Center Theatre. Clark is founder, chairman and chief executive bear of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.
Since launching her custom stuffed animal concept in 1997, Clark has defied the odds. While many big-brand toy stores have struggled mightily, St. Louis-based Build-A-Bear has thrived.
At year end 2006 there were over 300 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom and franchised stores in Europe, Asia and Australia.
Clark has been recognized as one of the true innovators in the retail industry. During her 30-year career, her rare ability to spot emerging retail and merchandising trends and her insight into American consumers’ desires generated growth for retail leaders, including department store, discount and specialty stores.
In 2006, Clark published her first book The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart.
Other convocation speakers will include distinguished senior orators and graduating seniors Dina Warnock, Lisa Hoffman and Jonathan Parente. Distinguished senior orators have earned the highest grade point averages in the graduating class. Warnock, Hoffman and Parente are graduating with a GPA of 3.99.
Warnock is a telecommunication arts major from Warner Robins. She has been vice president of production for Grady’s broadcasting society, DiGamma Kappa, and has worked in the videography unit at the Terry College of Business. After graduation, Warnock hopes to work in television production and post-production in Atlanta.
Hoffman is a public relations major from Mandeville, La. After graduation she plans to move to New Orleans to pursue a master’s of public health in health education and communication from Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She ultimately plans to specialize in social marketing.
Parente is a public relations and Spanish double major from Alpharetta. He plans to continue his studies at the University of Georgia’s School of Law. After completing law school, Parente hopes to one day practice law in Atlanta or pursue a career as a lobbyist.
Grady College Convocation brings students, faculty, family and friends together to welcome graduates into the professions in journalism and mass communication. Seating is first come, first served. Dress is business casual.
The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. Student check-in will be from 12:15-1:30 p.m. in Classic Center rooms F thru J. All students wishing to participate in the ceremony must arrive for check-in before 1:30 p.m.
Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers seven undergraduate majors including advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, visit www.grady.uga.edu.