Campus News

UGA to celebrate 231st anniversary with weeklong series of Founders Day events

Thomas C. Reeves env-h
Thomas C. Reeves

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia will observe its 231st anniversary in 2016, and the UGA Alumni Association will celebrate the occasion by hosting a weeklong series of events, including the 14th annual Founders Day Lecture on Jan. 27 at 1:30 p.m. in the Chapel.

Thomas C. Reeves, professor emeritus of learning, design and technology in UGA’s College of Education, will present the lecture, titled “So You Think You’re Smarter than a Robot: The Race Between Human Learning and Deep Learning.”

“For over two centuries, the University of Georgia has prepared its students to be productive members of society,” he said. “Recently, there has been an increasing focus on preparing students for specific careers. But how should a university prepare young people to live in a world where many of them may never have a career in the traditional sense because of the advances being made in “deep learning”? What will it mean when computer algorithms and robots eliminate swaths of currently desirable careers? I hope to stimulate interest in these questions related to what I see as a race between human learning and machine learning.”

Reeves arrived at UGA in 1982 and retired in 2010. He was a Fulbright Lecturer in Peru and he has been invited to speak in more than 30 countries. He has written several books, including “Interactive Learning Systems Evaluation,” “A Guide to Authentic E-Learning” and “Conducting Educational Design Research.”

The student response will be given by Brian Heredia, a second-year history and social studies education major from Athens.

The Founders Day Lecture recognizes the date the university was established-Jan. 27. On this day in 1785, the Georgia General Assembly adopted a charter establishing UGA as the country’s first state-chartered institution of higher education.

The lecture is sponsored by the UGA Alumni Association and the Emeriti Scholars, a group of retired faculty members known for their teaching abilities who continue to be involved in the university’s academic life through part-time teaching, research and service assignments.

In conjunction with the lecture, the UGA Alumni Association will host an invitation-only luncheon on Jan. 27 during which the President’s Medal will be presented to Frances “Abit” Massey, president emeritus of the Georgia Poultry Federation and a UGA graduate, and the late Jane Seddon Willson, a longtime UGA benefactor. The President’s Medal recognizes extraordinary contributions from individuals who have supported students and academic programs, advanced research and inspired community leaders to enhance Georgians’ quality of life.

The UGA Student Alumni Council will sponsor a series of free events for students in the days surrounding the lecture. The schedule of those events is as follows, although more activities could be planned and will be posted at

• Jan. 25, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Founders Week T-shirt giveaway in the Tate Student Center Plaza.
• Jan. 26, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., canned food drive in the Tate Student Center Plaza to educate students about the Let All the Big Dawgs Eat food scholarship.
• Jan. 27, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., UGA’s 231st birthday celebration in the Tate Student Center Plaza.
• Jan. 28-29, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 100 Days Until Graduation in the Tate Student Center Grand Hall.

“Founders Week is the university’s annual opportunity to reflect on its history and recognize the growth that has taken place on campus since it was chartered in 1785,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of the UGA Alumni Association. “I invite the university and Athens communities to join us in celebrating America’s first state-chartered institution of higher education, especially for the lecture on January 27th.”

The 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