Society & Culture

UGA’s Grady College names 2010 Fellowship inductees

Athens, Ga. – Nine individuals have been selected for induction into the Grady Fellowship at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The Grady College alumni and friends are being honored for their influence, achievements and service to the media professions. The tribute ceremony will be held on Thursday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m. at UGA’s Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel.

Inductees in the 2010 Fellows class include Randall and Carolyn Abney, creators of SmARTlens, Athens; Phil Gailey, editor, the St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Steve Koonin, president, Turner Entertainment Networks, Atlanta; Edwin Pope, sports journalist, The Miami Herald, Key Biscayne, Fla.; Bo Spalding, founder and president of Jackson Spalding, Atlanta; and James H. Tate, retired vice president of corporate communications, Atlanta Gas Light, Mount Pleasant, S.C.

The Grady Fellowship was created in 2008 to recognize individuals whose lives and careers lend measurably to the reputation Grady College enjoys.

Grady College Dean E. Culpepper Clark announced the 2010 inductees on behalf of the Grady Board of Trust, the advisory board of the college, which confers the Grady Fellowship.

Clark also announced the first posthumous inductions into the fellowship.

“We will inaugurate the Sanford Society within the Grady Fellowship with the inductions of the Joe Belew (ABJ ’72), a member of the Grady Board of Trust and president of the Consumer Bankers Association, and the late Betty Gage Holland, philanthropist and benefactor of Grady’s Cox Institute for Newspaper Management and Cox Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research.

“Our 2010 inductees represent achievement in journalism, media management, public relations innovation, cinematography, entrepreneurship and more,” Clark also said. “Randall, Carolyn, Phil, Steve, Edwin, Bo and James inspire students and alumni. We are pleased and honored to receive them into this year’s class and to welcome all members of the Grady Fellowship home.”

Randall and Carolyn Abney are both heavily involved with the Athens-based SmARTlens Corp. He is CEO and vice chairman of the board, while she handles marketing for both U.S. and international markets. SmARTlens makes a movie camera device that goes between the lens and the camera to allow directors and cinematographers to control and produce visual effects within the camera rather than in post-production. The inventor of the system, Steve Hylén, won a 2009 Academy Award for Technical Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Randall Abney (B.B.A. ’68) has been involved with beginning and growing companies for more than 35 years. From 1989-1998, he held a number of positions with Telecorp Systems (later Syntellect, Inc. through merger), including vice president of international media services. From 1980-1995, Carolyn Abney was associated with the Condo Marketplace, which she co-founded, and through which she received national recognition in the real estate field. The Abneys have lived in England, Holland and Italy while working and traveling in 100 countries.

Gailey (A.B.J. ’66), who grew up near Homer, didn’t have access to a daily newspaper until he was in high school, but he had an English teacher, Beatrice Hendricks, who helped him make up for lost time. She required him to read the Atlanta Constitution in the school library, with particular attention paid to the columns of Ralph McGill, Eugene Patterson and Harold Martin, and to write a weekly essay.

The result was a journalism career than spanned more than four decades at the Atlanta Constitution, The Miami Herald, The Washington Star and The New York Times. He spent almost 20 years in Washington, D.C., reporting on Congress, the White House and national politics before moving to the St. Petersburg Times where he was editor of editorials and vice president from 1991 until his retirement in 2008. The paper won its first Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing during his tenure.

Koonin is president of Turner Entertainment Networks, Atlanta. He oversees programming, marketing, scheduling, strategy, operations, advertising sales and other core business functions for the cable networks TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies and truTV. He also oversees Peachtree TV, the Atlanta broadcast platform that launched in October 2007.

Koonin was named one of the “Smartest People in Television” by Entertainment Weekly in 2008. Prior to joining Turner Broadcasting, he spent 14 years at the Coca-Cola Co. as vice president of consumer marketing. In 1998, he was named Sports Executive of the Year by Sports Business Journalwhen serving as Coca-Cola’s vice president of sports and entertainment marketing.Koonin studied marketing at UGA.

Pope (A.B.J. ’48) has been a sports columnist at The Miami Herald for more than 45 years and is one of sports journalism’s most honored writers. He is the recipient of the Red Smith Award for excellence in sports journalism, the Knight-Ridder award for editorial excellence, an unprecedented three Eclipse awards from the Thoroughbred Racing Association and the A.J. Liebling Award for excellence in boxing journalism.

He has been inducted into the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall, the College Football Hall, the NFL Pro Football Hall and UGA’s journalism school hall of fame. Pope was honored three times by the National Headliners Club as the nation’s best columnist. He also was recognized by the Greater Miami Sports Council for “lifetime contributions to sports.” He is one of only a handful of writers to have covered every Super Bowl.

Spalding (A.B.J. ’78, M.B.A. ’79) is founder and president of Jackson Spalding, one of the largest independent marketing communications firms in the Southeast, with offices in Atlanta, Athens and Dallas. Spalding began his career at the Atlanta Journal, where he covered government and business. In 1982, he joined Atlanta’s Bank South Corp. where he was senior vice president and director of public affairs and communications. The Atlanta native co-founded Jackson Spalding in 1995.

In addition to his management role there, he works closely with clients, providing special expertise in financial and banking services, speech writing and media, investor communications, marketing and corporate identity strategies. Spalding holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Georgetown University, in addition to his two UGA degrees.

Tate (A.B.J. ’42) received his ROTC commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army on the same day that he graduated from UGA. For the next 39 years, the military played a prominent role in his life. He served as a press briefing officer, public information officer and news division chief.

Wounded at Normandy, he served both on active duty and in the Army Reserve, retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1981. After discharge from active duty in 1955, he joined Atlanta Gas Light Co. as director of public relations, although his work later encompassed advertising, special projects, and employee, financial and customer information. He retired as vice president of corporate communications in 1986.

The tribute evening will begin with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Inductions by Dean Clark and Swann Seiler (A.B.J. ’78), president of Grady’s Board of Trust, will take place at 7:45 p.m.

At 8 p.m., a 70th anniversary salute to Grady’s Peabody Awards legacy will feature emeriti Peabody board members offering a glimpse into the rich deliberation process involved in selecting Peabody winners each year.

Tickets for the tribute evening are $75 and can be purchased online at by Friday, Nov. 5.

Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to WNEG-TV, the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see or follow Grady on Twitter at