Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Alumni Association will present three awards to distinguished graduates and faculty at its annual Alumni Awards Luncheon April 20 at noon in the Tate Student Center Grand Hall. A 70-year-old tradition, the event allows the Alumni Association to express its appreciation to and admiration for UGA graduates and faculty who have demonstrated a commitment to bettering the university.
The Alumni Merit Award, the Alumni Association’s oldest honor, will be presented to Robert E. Argo. Argo enrolled at UGA shortly after serving in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. As a student, he earned numerous awards for his campus involvement and community leadership. He graduated from the college of business in 1950 and stayed at UGA to attend law school. After a brief stint in Nashville, Tenn., Argo returned to Athens in 1954. He was elected to represent Clarke County in the Georgia state legislature in 1976 and held the post until 1986, serving in many capacities, including on the Appropriations and Higher Education committees and as chairman of the Rules Committee. He was successful in securing funding for many UGA projects, including the Student Center, the parking deck adjacent to the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel, and the Biological Sciences Building. He currently holds distinction as an emeritus trustee of the UGA Foundation and has served as president of the Alumni Association.
The Faculty Service Award, created in 1966, will be presented to William P. Flatt, the D.W. Brooks Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Foods and Nutrition. Flatt has been at UGA since 1969 when he was recruited from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 1999, he was presented with the USDA’s Secretary’s Honor Award, one of the most significant recognitions the department can bestow. It is one of 10 national awards that he has received, including a presidential citation. Flatt was originally brought to the university as chairman of the Animal Sciences Division. In less than a year, he became director of the Georgia Experiment Stations. Eleven years later, Flatt was promoted to the position of dean and coordinator of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He has been a major supporter of the university, having established multiple graduate and undergraduate scholarships and awards for outstanding seniors. He also has endowed the Bill and June Flatt Professorship of Foods and Nutrition.
The Alumni Family of the Year Award will be presented to the Seiler family, who has been responsible for raising eight generations of Ugas, the university’s mascot. The first Uga, a pure white English bulldog, was gifted to Frank “Sonny” Seiler (’56) and (’57) and his wife, Cecilia, in 1956. Uga has become an instantly recognizable icon for children and adults worldwide, starring alongside John Cusack in a Hollywood movie and being the only live mascot ever to attend the Heisman trophy awards presentation.
The Seilers have been supporters of the university through the years. Sonny and Cecilia have four children, Swann (’78), Charles (’83), Sara and Bess. Family members are involved in community and statewide affairs and have received many honors and awards. In addition to serving on the Law School and Grady College boards, respectively, Sonny and Swann have served as president of the UGA Alumni Association, the only father-daughter combination in history. They also have been active with the UGA Foundation and Athletic Association boards. Sonny is a former president of the Georgia Bar Association. Charles has carried on the Seiler family legacy of escorting Uga on game days.
Individual tickets for the luncheon are $30, and reserving an eight-seat table is $275. Registration is open through April 2, and reservations may be made online at www.alumni.uga.edu/alumniawards.