Athens, Ga. – The UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences inducted Carolyn Berdanier, renowned researcher, professor emerita and former head of the department of foods and nutrition, into its Honor Hall of Recognition on Saturday at the 41st annual Alumni Awards event.
Berdanier, who received worldwide acclaim for her discovery of an animal model for the study of Type 2 diabetes, served on the faculty from 1977 until her retirement in 1999.
In 1984, she became the college’s first recipient of the university’s Lamar Dodd Award, the highest award given for creative research in science, and has authored more than 125 scientific publications and written 19 books. In 2018, she was named a FACS 100 Centennial Honoree.
At 82, Berdanier still contributes magazine articles and does consulting work in the area of human nutrition, and is a generous supporter of undergraduate researchers within the college.
“The Honor Hall of Recognition is the pinnacle of service and recognition within FACS and it goes beyond our college,” FACS Dean Linda Kirk Fox said. “Dr. Berdanier’s commitment to research, her passion for knowledge, her heart for discovery and mentoring students has inspired all of us. She is a most deserving inductee into the FACS Honor Hall of Recognition based on her lifetime of accomplishments.”
Berdanier was quick to praise her students for their role in her significant research accomplishments. In fact, she said working with students is what she misses most in retirement.
“It wouldn’t have been possible if I had not had such wonderful students,” she said. “I just had the cream of the crop. I am so proud of them.”
During the ceremony, several of Berdanier's former graduate students discussed her role in their lives in a special video.
Berdanier joines 28 others in the Honor Hall of Recognition, which was established in 1980 to recognize those who have made highly significant contributions to the field of family and consumer sciences; who have impeccable character and commitment and who have provided outstanding leadership.
FACS also recognized several outstanding alumni and friends of the college at Saturday’s event.
Also honored were:
Ivy Odom, Pacesetter Award: Odom, who graduated in 2015 with a BSFCS in consumer journalism and a B.A. in Spanish, also has completed the culinary arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland and an internship at Empire State South in Atlanta.
She now serves as the Test Kitchen Assistant for Meredith Food Studios, which produces photo, video and digital content for brands such as Southern Living, Real Simple and Food & Wine. She also stars in the Southern Living video series, “Hey Y’all.”
The Pacesetter Award recognizes individuals who have graduated from FACS within the last 10 years.
Brenda Cude, Creswell Award: Cude, the Georgia Athletic Association Professor in Family and Consumer Sciences, came to UGA as professor and head of the department of financial planning, housing and consumer economics in 1998 and quickly established herself as a respected researcher in the area of consumer decision-making.
Among Cude’s many accolades, she has been named the department’s Teacher of the Year twice (2006 and 2007), was named a UGA Senior Teaching Fellow in 2008 and was named the Educator of the Year by the Direct Selling Education Foundation in 2017.
She also was named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Council on Consumer Interests in 2009 and was a FACS 100 Centennial Honoree in 2018.
The Creswell Award is named for Mary Creswell, the first dean of the college and the first woman to receive an undergraduate degree from UGA.
Traci Bryant and Linsey Shockley, FACS Appreciation Award: Bryant and Shockley were recognized as representatives of their respective organizations in partnership with the FACS Education program.
Bryant, a 2010 FACS graduate, serves as executive director of Georgia Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. Shockley, a 2011 FACS graduate, is a program specialist for the Georgia Department of Education.
The two work closely together to promote the college and FACS Education throughout the state.
The award is given to an individual or organization that has contributed significantly to the support of the college either financially, programmatically or legislatively.
Heather McElroy, Outstanding Service Award: A 2003 FACS graduate, McElroy is a successful local Realtor who has volunteered with numerous organizations in the Athens area, including Habitat for Humanity and the Athens Area Homeless Shelter.
In addition to serving as a member of the Rotary Club of the Classic City, McElroy is a regular guest speaker in FACS housing classes.
Established in 1999, the award is presented to graduates for continued involvement in their community, faith community, helping organization, the college or the FACS Alumni Association.
Mitch Hardeman, Emily Quinn Pou Professional Achievement Award: Hardeman, a 1993 FACS graduate, is owner of Hardeman Enterprises, a local construction company, and founder of Hardeman-Hobson Waste Services.
He also serves on the board of advisors for the Housing and Demographic Research Center and is a past-president of the FACS Alumni Association.
The award, named for the fourth dean of the college, recognizes outstanding graduates at the midpoint of their careers.
Tammy Gilland, Distinguished Alumni Award: Gilland, a 1988 FACS graduate, has had a long and distinguished career in philanthropy.
She currently serves as the executive director of philanthropy for Piedmont Athens Regional Foundation, where she is responsible for all fundraising programs and events of the foundation as well as managing the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support.
Gilland previously enjoyed a 23-year career at UGA that saw her hold roles ranging from director of annual giving to chief of staff and senior director of development for the UGA Office of Development.
She also has been widely recognized for her leadership skills and volunteer efforts in the Athens and Oconee County communities, and is a previous winner of the college’s Pacesetter and Outstanding Service awards.
Gilland was named a FACS 100 Centennial Honoree in 2018.
The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes a FACS graduate who has made lifelong contributions that reflect the beliefs and values of the college.
A list of all previous winners can be found here.
“We are so proud of the honorees,” FACS alumni director Alexis Morgan said. “Our college has a proud tradition of service, scholarship and a commitment to improving the lives of others. All of our honorees reflect these ideals and serve as excellent representatives of the FACS mission.”
Photos of the event can be found on the FACS Flickr page.
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