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Awards and memories shared highlight Alumni Weekend

Alumni gathered for Revel on the River, which featured a free concert by Band X at Pine Valley on Saturday night, April 27.

Alumni gathered from across the world to celebrate what the University of North Georgia (UNG) means to them during Alumni Weekend 2019, held April 26-28 on UNG's Dahlonega Campus. It was a mix of celebratory events and solemn occasions for remembrance.

The Corps of Cadets was featured in a number of Alumni Weekend events, including the 36th annual Memorial Retreat, which pays tribute to all UNG alumni of the armed forces who gave their life in service of their country, as well as faculty, staff, students, and friends who passed away since the prior ceremony. 

"It is our duty," retired Brig. Gen. Michael L. Scholes Sr., '88, said of the Memorial Retreat ceremony in his keynote address. "We owe it to the families of the fallen and their legacy."

scholes at recall

Retired Brig. Gen. Michael L. Scholes Sr., '88, was the keynote speaker at the 36th annual Memorial Retreat.

The Corps of Cadets also held its annual awards review Sunday to recognize the accomplishments of cadets, with retired Maj. Gen. Edison Scholes, '61, as the guest speaker.

"I never thought when I was here that this school could get any better," Maj. Gen. Edison Scholes said. "And now it has many times over."

Other Alumni Weekend events included Revel on the River featuring a free concert by Band X at Pine Valley on Saturday night and the 60th year reunion of the class of 1959 on Friday night. About 300 people attended the concert.

Rajpal Sagoo, '16, enjoyed that Revel on the River allowed him to meet fellow alumni.

"Just to connect with other alumni and come back to UNG is great," Sagoo said.

Luke Schlief, '14, also appreciated the interactions facilitated by Revel on the River.

"I saw a lot of fraternity brothers that I had not seen in years," Schlief said. "Hearing them pick on me and give me a hard time, we were 20 years old again."


The UNG Alumni Association Awards Luncheon was the one of the main events Saturday. The following were recognized for outstanding leadership, service and excellence in their roles serving or attending the university:

  • Alumni Hall of Fame Award: Tommi Ash Ward, '67. Ward began her career as a teacher in Lumpkin County, later teaching in Hall and Greene counties before her work in the Army Education Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She spent the majority of her career at Nathanael Greece Academy in Siloam, Georgia. Ward was named Rotary Teacher of the Month 29 times. She is one of 65 people in her family to attend UNG. Her father, retired Brig. Gen. Hughes L. Ash, '32, won the same award in 1973 and was the first UNG graduate to become an Army general.
  • Distinguished Alumni Award: Lt. Gen. William "Burke" Garrett III, '81, and Lt. Gen. Benjamin "Randy" Mixon, '75. Garrett served in the U.S. Army for more than 35 years, culminating as deputy commander of U.S. European Command. Mixon concluded his 36 years of service as the commander of U.S. Army Pacific. Mixon was inducted into the Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame in November 2018.
  • Distinguished Young Alumnus Award: Maj. Daniel Brown, '09, Operations Lead for The Intelligence and Security Directorate of The Georgia Army National Guard (GA ARNG) and the Assistant Operations Officer for 78th Troop Command, GA ARNG. Brown is an assistant vice president of operations for Citi Bank North America.
  • Distinguished Professors: Paul Dunlap, professor and associate department head of visual arts, and Dr. Carlise Womack-Wynne, professor in the College of Education.
  • Ralph Colley Spirit of North Georgia Award: John Patterson, '68. Patterson is protective services director for the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado. Prior to his current position, he was a dedicated law enforcement official with more than 40 years of experience ranging from patrol officer to chief of police.
  • Dot Strother Alumni Scholarship: Kiersten Wilson. A junior pursuing a marketing degree, Wilson has studied abroad in Rome. She is in Phi Mu Fraternity, Order of Omega and the Mike Cottrell College of Business Dean's Student Advisory Board. She is president of UNG's American Marketing Association and serves as a Student Ambassador.
  • Paul M. Hutcherson Outstanding Students: Cadet Col. Tyler Farney and Jasmine Bouges. Farney is a Distinguished Military Graduate who commissioned into the Army Aviation Branch on May 3. Farney has also been involved with Student Government Association and Nighthawks Entertainment. Bouges is president of Women in STEM, secretary of Mike Cottrell Scholars and is a member of the Honors Program. A computer science major, Bouges is set for a software development internship at Country Financial this summer.
alumni awards

Alumni gathered for the UNG Alumni Association Awards Luncheon on April 27.

Garrett and Mixon were unable to attend but recorded video messages of thanks played at the Alumni Association awards lunch.

"The Corps of Cadets set the azimuth on the compass of life for me and many others, and for that I am forever grateful," Garrett said.

Mixon echoed that sentiment, as well as noting the quality of people at UNG.

"North Georgia is all about family," Mixon said. "The friends that I made when I was here from 1971-75 are still my friends, friends for life."

Distinguished Young Alumnus awardee Brown, who met his wife on the William "Lipp" Livsey Drill Field, now serves as vice chairman of operations for the North Georgia Corps of Cadets Association.

"Receiving that award is a big honor, but the biggest honor is just being a part of the community here, being an alumnus of North Georgia," Brown said. "As much as the school has given to me, I can barely give back the same amount."

Other events included the Nighthawks Athletic Club Annual Golf Tournament, the traditional start to the weekend, and other sports events including baseball games.

As part of Alumni Weekend UNG Recall, a "virtual" reunion, allowed alumni and friends of the university who could not attend to view photos and live streaming of several events.

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