The University of Georgia Graduate School has honored five outstanding graduates with 2023 Alumni of Distinction Awards. These recipients were selected for achieving exceptional success in their professional careers and for significant service to their communities.
“Each of these graduate alumni is distinguished by their professional achievement at the regional, national and international levels. Their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to society exemplify the University of Georgia mission — to teach, to serve and to inquire into the nature of things.” said Ron Walcott, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School.
The Graduate School Alumni of Distinction Award was established in 2012 by the Graduate Education Advancement Board; the first recipients were named in 2013. All graduate-level UGA alumni are eligible to be considered for the annual award. Recipients were nominated by their respective schools and colleges and selected by members of the Graduate Education Advancement Board.
The 2023 award recipients are:
Consuelo De Moraes
Ph.D. in entomology, 1998
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Consuelo De Moraes, of Zurich, Switzerland, directs the Laboratory of Biocommunication and Entomology at ETH in Zurich, where she also is a full professor. The De Moraes group focuses on the complex role of chemistry in the interactions among plants, insects and other organisms. De Moraes is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Entomological Society of America and has published her work in leading peer-reviewed journals including Nature, Science and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Her work has also received coverage from popular press outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Scientific American and BBC News, and has been the subject of several documentary films. Before joining ETH in 2013, De Moraes was a member of the Department of Entomology at Pennsylvania State University.
Ph.D. in exercise science, 2006
Mary Frances Early College of Education
Timothy Puetz, of Huntington, Maryland, is chief financial officer and deputy chief information officer for IT Budget & Finance at the Office of Information and Technology for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining the VA, Puetz was operations officer at the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where he received the NIH Clinical Center Director’s Award. Additionally, he served in the U.S. Army as an officer and received a Presidential Management Fellowship. Puetz was named one of UGA’s 40 Under 40 in 2017, and he has worked in several nonprofit and volunteer roles to serve his community. He has completed several ultra-marathons and was part of a scientific expedition to the third largest cave network in Madagascar, where the team uncovered previously unknown dinosaur tracks.
Master of Accountancy, 2005
Terry College of Business
Paul Shoukry, of Tampa, Florida, is the chief financial officer of Raymond James Financial Inc., where he is responsible for the overall financial management of the company. He is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and serves on the boards of subsidiaries Raymond James & Associates and TriState Capital Bank. Shoukry was named to Fortune’s “40 under 40 in Finance.” He is passionate about childhood education and serves on the board of trustees for Academy Prep Center of Tampa. He also serves on the advisory board for Florida Institute of CFOs, is the chair for the 2024 American Heart Association’s Tampa Bay Heart Ball and is the executive sponsor for his firm’s multicultural network.
Ph.D. in pharmacy,1998
College of Pharmacy
Ping Wang, of Malvern, Pennsylvania, serves as a scientific director at Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine. Wang plays a pivotal leadership and technical role in the development and tech transfer of biologic drugs. In addition to professional accomplishments, his recent collaboration with colleagues from BPSA (Bio-Process Systems Alliance) and BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority) has facilitated productive dialogues with regulatory authorities such as the FDA, EMEA (European health authority), and PMDA (Japanese health authority), resulting in their endorsement of X-ray sterilization as a viable solution to address shortages and national security concerns related to radioactive materials. Wang is an industry leader and subject matter expert on the topics of biomanufacturing and CMC strategies. He is an ardent fan of the Georgia Bulldogs.
Master of Public Administration, 1991
School of International & Public Affairs
Carla Williams, of Crozet, Virginia, is director of athletics at the University of Virginia, earning the distinction of being the first female African American athletics director at a Power Five conference institution. In her first five years at the institution, UVA teams have achieved 17 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championships, and a record number of athletes have been placed on the ACC Honor Roll. She has also held leadership positions with the NCAA’s NIL Legislation Solutions Group, the recently formed Black AD Alliance, and the newly established ACC Football Subcommittee. Before moving to the University of Virginia in 2017, Williams was a member of the University of Georgia athletics administration team for 13 years. Williams’ legacy at UGA is underscored by the outstanding achievements of Georgia’s athletics teams during her stewardship—when they earned 16 NCAA team championships and 37 Southeastern Conference titles.