The University Alumni Association plans to recognize 40 “outstanding” University graduates under the age of 40 at the second annual 40 Under 40 luncheon Thursday at the Georgia Aquarium.
The 40 honorees exemplify excellence in “philanthropic endeavors,” commitment to the University and holding up the three Pillars of the Arch: wisdom, justice and moderation.
“We’re looking for people that embody all three of those areas or those kind of characteristics,” said Deborah Dietzler, executive director of the Alumni Association. “They’re representing the University of Georgia with excellence in their workplace and in their communities, and they are also active and engaged alumni.”
A committee of prominent people across the University chose 80 nominees out of a pool of a possible 400 nominated by their peers at the University or in their workplace between February and mid-April, Dietzler said.
A “smaller” selection committee “of more senior level administrators and the president of the Alumni Association” then shrank the selection down to 40 by assigning each finalist a “number assessment” based on the stated criteria.
“All of the people on the selection committee send their information back in here to the Alumni Association,” Dietzler said. “We put all of that information into a spreadsheet and through that numerical process, we generate the list of the top 40 in terms of who’s gotten the highest scores in the selection committee.”
Each honoree will receive recognition as well as a commemorative plaque for their achievements at the luncheon.
University class of 2010 graduate and nominee Christie Haynes told The Red & Black she’s honored to be a part of 40 Under 40 Class of 2012.
“It’s so humbling because the list is truly full of amazing people inside and outside of Georgia,” she said. “They’re in businesses and nonprofits — you name it. And I love the University of Georgia very much, so it means the world to me to be on this list.”
The 40 Under 40 awards began last year to commemorate outstanding young alumni who had not yet had time to garner the kind of notoriety as older alumni but have still made a mark “very shortly after leaving the University,” Dietzler said.
“How it generated was the need to complement some of our other recognition programs like our alumni awards ... the alumni merit award and the alumni family of the year award,” she said. “Those type of awards are generally given to people who are much older and have a lot more of their work-life behind them.”
The number of initial nominees has remained at approximately 400 alumni between this year and last year.
But Dietzler said the 39 out of 40 finalists expected to attend the luncheon is a four-person increase from last year.
Peter Dale, an honoree from the University’s 1999 graduating class, said he would not have missed the luncheon.
“There’s actually a number of people who I haven’t seen since college who are also attending,” he said. “I’m actually really excited about reconnecting with them.”
Dale found work as a chef after graduating from Grady College as a public relations major. He now owns The National restaurant on Hancock Avenue.
Dale attributes his success in large part to his education at the University.
“It was really kind of invaluable for me in many ways,” he said. “Even though I graduated in journalism, I got a really well-rounded education that allowed me to go into any field from journalism to cooking.”
Dale said his training in public relations helps him to connect with local farmers whose products he uses in his partially local, partially Mediterranean dishes at The National.
Like Dale, Haynes said she feels as though her double major in political science and history helped her to become the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau in Dawson County.
“The skills you learn in the political world help you in the chamber world,” she said. “Really it was the interning and working for different politicians that helped me most at [the University].”
Both Dale and Haynes said they feel connected to the University and honored to be a part of the 40 Under 40 program.
“What can you not love about UGA?” Haynes said. “Really, though, if you know me, people will tell you I’m kind of obsessed.”
The 40 Under 40 Class of 2012 are listed by name, class year and hometown:
Lisa Blanco, 1995 and 1998, Atlanta
Heather Kaney Burge, 2003, Atlanta
Thomas J. Callaway, 2007, Athens
Jennifer L. Chapman, 1997, 1998 and 2002, Athens
Andrew Childers, 1998, Atlanta
Dhruti Contractor, 2000 and 2001, Grovetown
Peter Dale, 1999, Athens
Brian Dodson, 2002, Tacoma, Wash.
Jennifer Doobrow, 2003, Birmingham, Ala.
Corey Dortch, 2003, 2005 and 2011, Mableton
Jehan Y. El-Jourbagy, 2000 and 2003, Monticello
Stacey Evans, 2000 and 2003, Smyrna
Paton Faletti, 1999, Atlanta
Vivian Greentree, 2000 and 2001, Chesapeake, Va.
Lorraine Hawley, 1998, Arlington, Va.
Christie Haynes, 2010, Blakely
April Hembree Crow, 1995, Atlanta
Caree Joli Jackson, 2004 and 2008, Mableton
Scott Jones, 1995, Atlanta
Kelly Kautz, 1999 and 2002, Snellville
Camille Kesler, 1994, Atlanta
Keysha Lee, 1997, Chamblee
Andy Lipman, 1996, Norcross
Amy Loggins (Burton), 1995 and 1999, Marietta
Larry Lykins Jr., 1996, 1998 and 2001, Elijay
Kristen Manion Taylor, 1996 and 1997, Atlanta
Mike Martin, 1995, Dunwoody
Patrick Millsaps, 2000, Camilla
Christy Overall, 2005, Alpharetta
Brian Robinson, 1997, Atlanta
Christy Seyfert, 1998, Alexandria, Va.
Greg Skowronski, 1999, Atlanta
John W. Stephenson Jr., 1997 and 2000, Atlanta
Cabell Sweeney, 1995, Rome
Robert Teilhet, 1996 and 2000, Smyrna
Milton Troy, 2002, Virginia Beach, Va.
Drew Wade, 1997, Savannah
Kyle Wingfield, 2001, Atlanta
Joby Young, 2005 and 2009, Villa Rica
Lee Zell, 1996, Atlanta