Gaye Smith Among UGA Grad School’s 2017 Alumni of Distinction

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The University of Georgia Graduate School honored nine graduates last month with the 2017 Alumni of Distinction Award for success in their professional careers and in service to their community. Georgia Family Connection Partnership Executive Director Gaye Smith was one of the recipients.

UGA Today writer Kristen Cameron reported in a story that the Graduate School Alumni of Distinction Award, established in 2012 by the University of Georgia’s Graduate Education Advancement Board, honors alumni who have accomplished meritorious achievement and success in their professional field, exemplify themselves as mentors and serve as role models in their profession—and have made substantive contributions to their professional field at the regional and national levels as evidenced by honors earned in the profession. The professional achievements and contributions to society these graduate alumni have made exemplify the University of Georgia mission, “to teach, to serve, and to inquire into the nature of things.”


Pictured, from left: Suzanne Barbour, dean of the Graduate School; Carole DuVall, wife of Talmadge DuVall who received the award on his behalf; Elizabeth Gatewood; Flora Tydings; Maureen Clayton; Mary Frances Early; Durham Kenimer Giles; Gaye Smith; Sylvia Hutchinson, Chair of the Graduate Education Advancement Board (Photo by UGA Today)

2017 Alumni of Distinction Award Recipients

Maureen A. Clayton, of Roswell, is president of Insight Strategic Communications, a full service internal communications agency. Clayton founded Nest Egg Communications in 2014, an Employee Stock Ownership Plan agency that assists other ESOP companies. The company creates a new category in communications: value-priced, ready-to-use toolkits that drive performance, strengthen ownership mindset and connect team members to business strategy. She is also a member of the Ownership Culture Committee of the ESOP Association.

Talmadge “Tal” C. DuVall, formerly of Watkinsville, began his career with the UGA Cooperative Extension Service as a County Agent. Duvall retired in 1988 as the Director of the Cooperative Extension Service and Associate Dean for the UGA College of Agriculture. He also served as President of the Georgia Agribusiness Council and as County Commissioner for the Athens-Clarke County government. Duvall passed away earlier this year, and this award is given posthumously.

Mary Frances Early, of Decatur, is the first African-American graduate of the University of Georgia. Following her keynote address in 2000, Graduate and Professional Scholars renamed its annual spring lecture in her honor. As the first African-American president of Georgia Music Educators, she was instrumental in developing all-state standards for music education. Early retired after 37 years working in public schools. She has since taught at Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University as head of the music department.

Elizabeth Gatewood, of Charlotte, North Carolina, is a professor at Wake Forest University. She previously held positions in the Center for Enterprise Research and Education, the Kauffman Campus Initiative and the Wake Forest University National Science Foundation Partners for Innovation Program. Gatewood co-founded the Diana Project, which engages in research surrounding women entrepreneurs and their growth. She also won the International Award for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research, the foremost global award for entrepreneurship research.

Durham Kenimer Giles, of Davis, California, is currently professor and vice chair of the University of California, Davis department of biological and agricultural engineering. Giles’ research focuses on spray applications including pesticide spraying, industrial spray coating, the reduction of “spray drift” and environmental contamination. Giles and his team were the first research entity to receive federal Aviation Administration clearance to operate an unmanned, remote-controlled aircraft for spraying in the Napa, Sacramento and Central Valleys of California.

Senator Philip Gramm, of Helotes, Texas, is Vice Chairman at Lone Star Global Acquisitions. He was formerly Vice Chairman of UBS Investment Bank, where he provided senior leadership in landmark Initial Public Offerings including Visa, the Bank of China, the China Merchants Bank and LGPhillips in Korea. He spent six years in the U.S. House of Representatives and 18 years in the U.S. Senate. While Chairman of the Banking Committee, legislation he introduced modernized banking, insurance and securities law.

Patricia A. Resick, of Durham, North Carolina, is currently a professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University. She has served on multiple faculties including the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where she held an endowed professorship. Previously, Resick directed the Women’s Health Sciences Division of the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at the VA Boston Healthcare System. While there, she developed and tested cognitive processing therapy, a short-term treatment for PTSD and corollary symptoms.

Gaye Morris Smith, of Atlanta, was appointed executive director of Georgia Family Connection Partnership after more than 10 years as president and CEO of Parent and Child Development Services Inc. in Chatham and Effingham counties. Under Smith’s leadership, GaFCP fosters relationships between thousands of community leaders in all 159 counties. GaFCP’s approach to collaboration has led to honors like the Brooking’s Institute’s Innovation in Community Indicators Award.

Flora W. Tydings, of Hermitage, Tennessee, currently serves as Chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents. She worked for eight years as a professional educator in Georgia’s Houston County School followed by 10 years in the private sector. After returning to public service, Tydings served in various positions within the Georgia public school system. She was appointed president of Athens Technical College in 2003 and in 2015 became president of Chattanooga State Community College in Tennessee.

Read the story published in the University of Georgia Graduate School magazine, uga graduate.

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