Nearly 800 people gathered to celebrate the College of Education’s 100th birthday at a festive centennial luncheon at the Classic Center in downtown Athens last month.
The gala event on June 13-held exactly 100 years after the college was founded-drew faculty, students, staff, alumni, retired faculty and friends of the college, who shared stories, honored past heroes and set the tone for the start of the college’s second century of preparing teachers, counselors and researchers for careers in education.
Former deans Russell Yeaney and Louis Castenell were among the guests attending the festivities.
COE alumni Heidi Davison, mayor of Athens-Clarke County, Inez M. Tenenbaum, former South Carolina state school superintendent, and Jermaine Phillips, a safety for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team, also contributed to marking the historic milestone.
“We gather to celebrate the affirmations of our founders’ inspirations,” said Andy Horne, the newly named dean of the college in his opening remarks. (See story).
Horne became the college’s 14th dean after Castenell, UGA’s first African-American dean, stepped down in December.
Mayor Davison proclaimed June 13, 2008, as “College of Education Day” and recounted how her studies at the college helped prepare her to be a teacher in Oconee County before she went into local politics.
“It makes a difference,” Davison said of education. “It is the most important thing in a democratic society.”
More than 50,000 students have graduated with degrees from the college since its founding as the Peabody School of Education in 1908. Today, the college is the largest provider of teachers in the Southeast.
Provost Arnett C. Mace Jr. reflected on the college’s long and productive history of contributing to education, recalling the extraordinary impact on the many generations of teachers who went on to make a difference in the lives of countless students.
“I don’t think there is any finer calling in life than to be a teacher,” he said. “I commend you for what you have done, and I challenge you to enhance the quality of education.”
COE’s next 100 years
Keynote speaker Tenenbaum, a Georgia native, reminisced about her days at UGA and the dedication of her academic advisers.
“Be proud that you have set that bar high,” she said. “We cannot rest on our laurels. Let’s make the next 100 years even better.”
Phillips spoke about how much he gained from his educational opportunities at the college where he earned a bachelor’s in sport studies. He then introduced the recipients of the first COE Centennial Scholarship: Anamaria Berry, senior early childhood education major from Conyers, and Greg McClure, a doctoral student in language and literacy education.
The event also included the debut of the college’s centennial mascot, the fiberglass “EduDawg,” which will temporarily grace the lobby of the front entrance of Aderhold Hall on Carlton Street.
Plans call for EduDawg to be rotated to other buildings of the college, which include Rivers Crossing and the Ramsey Student Center for Physical Activities.