Campus News

UGA Alumni Association to present awards at annual luncheon on April 17

McMullans family award-h
Marilyn and John McMullan

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Alumni Association will present six awards to alumni, friends and faculty during its 78th annual Alumni Awards Luncheon on April 17 at noon in the Tate Student Center’s Grand Hall.

The luncheon, which takes place during the university’s Honors Week, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a deep commitment to bettering the university.

“The UGA Alumni Association is pleased to once again celebrate the extraordinary contributions of the University of Georgia’s most generous alumni and friends,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of alumni relations. “It is also a time to recognize the importance of private support to the success of the university and to reflect on the transformative nature this engagement has on the lives of thousands of students each year.”

Family of the Year Award
The John F. and Marilyn McMullan Family will be recognized as the 2015 Family of the Year.

John and Marilyn McMullan, who met while attending UGA, value higher education and over the past 45 years, have made the university the beneficiary of their philanthropy. John graduated from UGA in 1959 and 1960 with undergraduate and master’s degrees in business, and is now the CEO of Camden Real Estate, an Atlanta-based company he founded in 1990.

The couple has established a number of scholarships at UGA, including a study abroad scholarship, the McMullan Academic Support Fund, the Mr. and Mrs. John F. McMullan Football Scholarship, and the McMullan Family Women’s Tennis Scholarship. The Dean’s Suite on the new Terry Business Campus will bear the McMullan family name. Marilyn serves on the Georgia Museum of Art board of advisors and John is an emeritus trustee of the UGA Foundation. In 2009, he received the Terry Distinguished Alumni Award, and in 2010, the UGA Alumni Association presented him with its Alumni Merit Award.

Their son, John E. “Ted” McMullan, graduated from UGA with his Master of Business Administration in 1993. He is a former member and chairman of the Terry Alumni Board, a former chair of the Terry Alumni Awards & Gala, and an advisory trustee to the UGA Foundation.

Alumni Merit Awards
The Alumni Merit Award, the UGA Alumni Association’s oldest honor, will be presented to C.L. Morehead Jr. and James H. Blanchard.

Morehead graduated from UGA in 1950 and 65 years later, is an Athens businessman and one of the university’s most generous benefactors.

Through his business, Flowers Inc., Morehead became close friends with the late Lamar Dodd, for whom UGA’s School of Art is named. Dodd inspired Morehead to become an avid art collector and today, the alumnus has assembled the largest collection of Lamar Dodd works and other significant collections of rugs and Chinese, tribal and pre-Colombian art and artifacts.

At the university and its Georgia Museum of Art, these items will be invaluable as a cultural resource that will be fundamental in teaching generations of students and the community.

Morehead served as a trustee for the UGA Foundation and is on the board of advisors for the Georgia Museum of Art and the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. He has financially supported the expansion of the Georgia Museum of Art, which boasts the C.L. Morehead, Jr. Center for the Study of American Art and the C.L. Morehead Wing.

Blanchard holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Laws from UGA. He spent 34 years as CEO of Columbus, Georgia-based Synovus Financial Corp., guiding it during its greatest era of growth and prosperity. His servant leadership approach led Georgia Trend to name him its Most Respected CEO in 1997 and Georgian of the Year in 2003. In 1999, Fortune Magazine named Synovus the best place to work in America, a direct result of Blanchard fostering a work-life balance as part of Synovus’ corporate culture.

Blanchard is an emeritus trustee of the UGA Foundation, an emeritus member of the Terry College Dean’s Advisory Council and a member of the Building Terry Campaign Cabinet.

Friend of UGA Award
Willis J. Potts Jr. will be honored with the 2015 Friend of UGA Award. The award is given to a non-UGA graduate whose professional or public service has greatly assisted the university.

Potts graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology. In 2004, Potts retired as vice president and general manager of Temple-Inland Corporation. In total, he served 35 years in the international pulp and paper industry and was chairman of both the Paper Industry Management Association and the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. Today he is the chairman of the board of CatchMark Timber Trust in Atlanta.

In 2006, Potts was appointed to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and became chairman in 2010. He championed creation of the UGA College of Engineering, which has now enrolled more than 1,300 students since it was founded in 2012.

Faculty Service Award
Rebecca H. White is receiving the Faculty Service Award. First presented in 1969, the award recognizes current or retired UGA faculty and staff who have distinguished themselves in service to the university.

White, who specializes in the areas of labor law, employment discrimination, employment law and law arbitration, served as the first female dean of the UGA School of Law. During the 10 years she led the law school, she was inducted into the UGA Teaching Academy and was, awarded the Josiah Meigs Award, which is the university’s highest honor for teaching excellence. She oversaw a multimillion-dollar facility renovation, the hiring of 30 additional faculty members, the launch of the Business Law and Ethics program, and the creation of 40 new endowed funds for scholarships and faculty.

On Dec. 31, she stepped down as dean, yet remains on the School of Law faculty where she holds a J. Alton Hosch Professorship. In 2015, the School of Law established the Rebecca Hanner White Scholarship, which has since received more than $210,000 in gifts and pledges.

Young Alumni Award
The inaugural Young Alumni Award will be presented to Deep J. Shah.

Shah arrived at UGA with a Foundation Fellowship, the university’s premier undergraduate scholarship for academically outstanding students. While attending UGA, he co-founded the UGA Roosevelt Institute Chapter, which is a student-led think tank, and was named a 2007 Truman Scholar and a 2007 Rhodes Scholar. After graduating summa cum laude in 2008 with degrees in international affairs and biology, Shah earned a master’s degree from Oxford University and then enrolled in Harvard Medical School on a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.

Today, Shah is an internal medicine and primary care physician resident in the J. Willis Hurst Internal Medicine Residency Program at the Emory University School of Medicine. He plans to serve as a primary care doctor and physician policymaker. He continues to support the UGA Honors Program by engaging with prospective students, current students and alumni.

On-site registration and check-in for the Alumni Awards Luncheon will open at 11:30 a.m. and the program will begin at noon in the Grand Hall of the Tate Student Center. Online registration is open until April 10 at for $35 per person or $275 per table.

UGA Alumni Association
The UGA Alumni Association supports the academic excellence, best interests and traditions of Georgia’s flagship university and its more than 288,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, see