2013 UGA Alumni Association Awards


2013 Alumni Merit Awards

Norman Fletcher (AB ’56, JD ’58) was appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court in 1989 and became its chief justice in 2001, a position he would hold until he retired in 2005. He began his law practice in 1958 as an associate with Matthews, Maddox, Walton and Smith in Rome, Ga. In 1963, he became a special assistant attorney general in LaFayette, Ga., where he also served as city attorney and Walker County attorney. Fletcher was a 2002 UGA Blue Key Service Award recipient and in 1999 received the Harold G. Clarke Award from the Georgia Indigent Defense Counsel “in recognition of his long-term commitment and dedication to the cause of insuring equal justice for all of Georgia’s citizens.”


Jack Rooker (BBA ’60) served as chairman of both the UGA Foundation and the UGA Real Estate Foundation, which he helped to found. Rooker’s first job after graduation was with his family business, Southern Bonded Warehouse. He later became chairman and CEO of the company, serving in this capacity until the business was sold in 2005. He now is CEO of Rooker, a development and construction firm that focuses on industrial and commercial real estate. His family’s support to UGA exceeds $2 million in gifts to the UGA Real Estate Foundation, the Terry College of Business and the UGA Alumni Association, among others. In 2005, an East Campus Village Residence Hall was named J.W. Rooker Hall in his honor. The building’s student commons room was named the Cynthia W. Rooker Fireside Lounge in honor of his wife, who earned her bachelor’s degree in education from UGA in 1962.


2013 Faculty Service Award

Gordhan Patel, professor emeritus of cellular biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, joined the faculty at UGA in 1967 as an assistant professor of zoology. In 1971, Patel became the first scientist in Georgia to receive the National Science Foundation/NATO Senior Fellowship in Science. Between 1981 and 2005, he was head of the Department of Zoology, later renamed cellular biology, dean of the Graduate School, vice president for research and executive vice president of the UGA Research Foundation. When he retired in 2005, the UGA Research Foundation board honored Patel by contributing $500,000 to endow the Gordhan L. and Virginia B. “Jinx” Patel Distinguished Visiting Professorship in Indian Musical Arts.


Michael F. Adams arrived in 1997 with the vision of transforming UGA into one of the country’s best public institutions. Since his arrival, more than six million square feet of building space has been added to the campus at a cost of $1.8 billion. Projects include the Zell Miller Learning Center, the Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences, the East Campus Village, the Lamar Dodd School of Art, the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries and the College of Veterinary Medicine Learning Center. Adams also oversaw the opening of the Health Sciences Campus and the creation of the College of Public Health, the College of Environment and Design, the School of Public and International Affairs, the Odum School of Ecology and the College of Engineering. During his tenure, enrollment climbed from 29,600 to 35,000 and the university saw its largest capital development campaign in history, raising $600 million. Annual donations now exceed $100 million.


2013 Friend of UGA

Mary Adams has twice been the first lady of an educational institution during her 44-year marriage to President Michael Adams, first at Centre College in Kentucky and later UGA. In that time, Adams has assisted with and supported many of her husband’s endeavors, but has also undertaken many of her own. Drawing on her interest in art, architecture and historic preservation, she was active in the renovation and restoration of UGA buildings as well as campus improvement and beautification projects. She served on the Lamar Dodd School of Art Board of Visitors and was honorary chairwoman of the Campus Campaign for Charities. She has served as a board member for the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation and leads the Girl Scouts Legacy Circle. She was named the Girls Scouts’ Athens Woman of Distinction for 2013.