Ahead of the game
Alumnus stays involved with UGA through programs that promote leadership and involvement
Jack Head (BBA ’75) knows the sooner students at the University of Georgia get involved in campus activities, the more likely they are to be happy and successful during their years in Athens.
He knows this on some level because of his own experience at UGA. Head was president of his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and was involved in the interfraternity council as well as intramural football and basketball.
He also knows it because the university has tracked students who participate in some of Head’s favorite programs—LeaderShape and Dawg Camp.
“Their success rate is so much higher than the average student,” Head says.
A decade ago, UGA’s vice president of student affairs approached Head about mentoring at LeaderShape, an off-campus retreat for mostly sophomores and juniors. Head agreed and was impressed with the program, which helps students put their ideas, particularly about service, into action plans. The curriculum involves working in large groups, participating in small group discussions, individual reflection and interactive activities. The UGA Dance Marathon, now called UGA Miracle, which annually raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, grew out of LeaderShape.
Since re-engaging with the university through that experience, Head has become increasingly involved. He was a founding member of the Arch Foundation Board of Trustees in 2005 and currently is chairman. In 2003, he and his wife Jane (BSEd ’77) donated $1 million to the university for leadership development. The gif was in memory of his parents, John and Jacqueline Head, both of whom graduated from UGA.
Most of that money has gone to Dawg Camp, a program for incoming freshmen. The program introduces students to the university and connects them with new friends before school starts. Thanks to the donation the Heads made, as well as funds he helped raise, the Dawg Camp program has expanded. It now includes a variety of experiences, both on-campus and off-campus. Some freshmen bond while building Habitat for Humanity houses and others go whitewater rafting.
“It helps them to be successful and to gain the confidence they will need in dealing with people, especially at such a large university,” Head says. He hopes that one day all incoming freshmen can participate in some form of Dawg Camp cost-free.
“At large institutions, it is important to keep students involved in different ways,” he says. “This is my torch to carry.”
Head, whose Atlanta company does industrial development, has three children. Two have already graduated from UGA, and his youngest is in his third year.
—Caroline Hubbard Wilbert is a writer living in Atlanta.