Matthew Garrett was uncertain about attending a large university like UGA when he began as a freshman from the rural town of Ashburn, Georgia. Now, however, he has just enrolled for his second degree after graduating last year with his B.B.A. magna cum laude with high honors. Not only has UGA made an impact on Garrett, but he has made an impression at UGA also. Last year he led more than 1,000 students in UGA’s largest student-led fund raiser, UGA Dance Marathon, collecting approximately $250,000 for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Additionally, he was 2004 Homecoming King, was a member of Leadership UGA, and he was in The Arch Society, working as one of the university’s goodwill ambassadors. After he finishes his master’s degree, he plans to work in college student affairs and eventually complete his Ph.D. in the same area.
Turner County High School
M.Ed. in College Student Affairs Administration
B.B.A. (International Business, Magna Cum Laude with High Honors) University of Georgia, 2006
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
I was the Dance Marathon executive director last year, and I was also involved on the board in 2005 as the morale director. I am a member of the Blue Key Honor Society, and a member of the leadership team at the Wesley Foundation. I served as a member of The Arch Society—the official goodwill ambassadors of UGA—and I was UGA Homecoming King in 2004. I am a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, and a graduate of the Richard B. Russell Leadership UGA program. Additionally, I was a summer orientation leader in 2005 and Dawg Camp Executive Director in 2004 and 2005. I was a peer leader in UGA Experience and the Student Government Association, a member of the Leadership Resource Team, and I played several intramural sports.
I am the graduate assistant to Dawg Camp, Leadership UGA, and LeaderShape in the Center for Leadership and Service for the next two years.
Family Ties to UGA:
My sister, Renee Garrett Stewart, got her B.S. and M.Ed. from UGA.
I chose to attend UGA because…
Growing up in the small town of Ashburn, Georgia, I was reluctant about attending an enormous university like UGA. I was afraid I would be lost in the shuffle. I hardly knew anyone when I started here, but with the help of amazing mentors, faculty/staff members, and the encouragement and support I had from home, I have been able to make UGA my new home.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
…work out at the Ramsey Center, walk through the Tate Center and observe the student life, better myself and my community through my involvement in service opportunities, squeeze myself into Sanford Stadium during home football games with 92,000 of my closest friends, and occasionally study at Jittery Joe’s at the Student Learning Center.
When I have free time, I like…
…to go to the pool, or when I have a lot of time, to the beach. I also try to get away to go camping or hiking whenever I can, and after a long, stressful day or week, I love to invite a few friends and curl up on my couch so we can catch up with each other while watching a good movie.
My favorite place to study is…
…in coffee shops. I love Hot Corner and the Starbucks downtown, but now that we have the Jittery Joe’s at the SLC, that works too! When I don’t have intense studying, I also like lounging on North Campus!
My favorite professor is…
…Marissa Pagnatarro. Not only does she have an amazing knack to make even a slightly boring subject incredibly interesting and fun to learn, but she truly cares about all of the students with whom she comes in contact. She is always willing to help students with future career plans, and she has been a great mentor to me!
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
…my maternal grandfather. I never knew him, as he died a few years before my time, but I have been told that I got my drive to succeed and my work ethic from him. With the support of his wife, he took $500 and an 8th grade education and became president of our town’s bank and owner of a huge farming company. He was certainly a hero in my hometown.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
…see that every student who wanted to would also find success in higher education. Education is so important to building our nation and our world, and ignorance is our biggest hindrance.
After graduation, I plan to…
…work for a college or university in student affairs. I hope to play a role student leadership, service learning, student activities, or greek life. Eventually, I will get my Ph.D. in the same area.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
…unrolling the $249,587 we raised at last year’s UGA Dance Marathon. It took 1,000 college students’ hard work to tell children across the state of Georgia that we love you, and we support you, and we are praying for you. The 24 other executive board members, 350 committee members and I logged nearly 10,000 hours of service to help children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta who cannot afford healthcare on their own. It was very humbling to see everyone working so hard for a cause that is bigger than we are. It drastically changed my life.