Representatives from the University of Georgia were greeted by severe weather and flooding in Houston as they kicked off a series of “UGA in Texas” events this week. Despite the bad weather, hundreds of Bulldogs came out to support the university and learn more about the research, teaching and service taking place on campus.
The trip, designed to engage UGA alumni, donors, parents and admitted students, included stops April 18 in Houston, April 19 in Dallas and April 20 in Austin. Due to severe weather and flooding, the UGA in Houston reception was canceled for the safety of registrants and due to a ballroom flooding at The Houstonian Hotel, where the event was to be held. The university plans to return to Houston in the future.
“It is a special thing to be able to bring a little bit of UGA to loyal alumni and friends in Texas,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of the UGA Alumni Association. “Everyone has been incredibly thankful that we are hosting these events, but we are the ones who are appreciative. It is their dedication and loyalty that makes the UGA community exceptional.”
On Wednesday at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, UGA President Jere W. Morehead welcomed more than 200 enthusiastic Bulldogs to the UGA in Dallas reception. While the president sent alumni home with three charges – to connect with UGA, to hire UGA graduates and to make a gift of any size to the university – he noted that another way alumni can support their alma mater is to encourage young people to enroll at the university. He informed the group that there are 329 students attending UGA from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He also let them know that UGA is on track, for the third consecutive year, to achieve a fundraising record when the fiscal year ends June 30. A portion of each attendee’s registration will support student scholarships at UGA.
Following the president’s remarks, attendees were introduced for the first time in person to head football coach Kirby Smart. Smart shared how much it meant for him and his wife, fellow UGA graduate Mary Beth, to return home to Athens, and for him to coach at his alma mater. He shared memories of being a student in Morehead’s class in the Terry College of Business in the late 1990s.
In Austin the following evening, local alumni, parents, friends and admitted students gathered at the Westwood Country Club to hear from Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Kelly Kerner, who echoed the president’s remarks in Dallas.
Despite a stormy start to the university’s visit to Texas, those Bulldogs who were able to participate in these receptions traveled home with cheerful news and important updates from campus.