Cross headlines FACS Alumni Awards honorees
January 10, 2024

The UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences will honor several outstanding alumni and induct Aleene Cross into its Honor Hall of Recognition at the 45th annual Alumni Awards event on March 22.

Cross served as president of the American Vocational Association and was the first editor of the Journal of Home Economics. In 1988, Cross received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, and was named a FACS 100 Centennial Honoree in 2018.

The Honor Hall is the college’s highest honor, reserved for individuals who demonstrate impeccable character, commitment, outstanding leadership and who made significant contributions to the field of family and consumer sciences.

In addition to Cross, FACS will recognize several alumni and friends of the college, including:

Kristian Hogans, Pacesetter Award: This award is given to a graduate of the last 10 years who actively promotes the beliefs and values of family and consumer sciences.

Hogans, an assistant professor of apparel, merchandising and design at Alabama A&M University, received her doctorate in international merchandising in 2023.

She is a member of the Pop Culture Association and International Textile and Apparel Association. During her time at FACS, she co-facilitated a book club with an emphasis on inclusion.

Sherle Brown, Creswell Award: Given in honor of the college’s first dean, this award recognizes a current or retired faculty or staff member who has provided leadership in motivating and guiding students.

Brown, a part-time instructor in the college’s department of financial planning, housing and consumer economics, is a three-time recipient of the Institute of Real Estate Management Member of the Year award.

At FACS, she leads the Housing Opportunities for Undergraduate Student Enhancement (H.O.U.S.E.) student organization and has been instrumental in connecting students to industry.

Houston Gaines, FACS Appreciation Award: This award is given to an individual or organization that has contributed significantly to the support of the college.

Gaines has long supported the college’s Destination Dawgs inclusive postsecondary education program, going back to his tenure as president of the Student Government Association when he helped the upstart program receive recognition at a 2017 Georgia football game.

As a state representative, he sponsored a bill, commonly known as the “HOPE IPSE grant,” that provides crucial financial assistance for students in IPSE programs like Destination Dawgs.

Marty Kemp, Outstanding Service Award: Established in 1999, this award is presented to graduates for continued involvement in their community, faith, helping organization, the college or FACS Alumni Association.

A 1990 FACS grad and First Lady of Georgia, Kemp has led the charge to end human trafficking in the state through the formation of the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion and Education (GRACE) Commission.

She recently received the James A. “Bud” Cody Community Impact Award, given to those who have impacted communities via motivation, determination and innovation. Kemp also received the Green Jacket Award from Georgia 4-H, presented to those who have shown outstanding ongoing support across the state.

Among her priorities are promoting pet adoption, mental health and foster care and adoption reform initiatives.

Caree Cotwright, Emily Quinn Pou Professional Achievement Award: Established in 1999 in honor of the college’s fourth dean, this award is presented to graduates who have attained substantial achievements and are at the midpoint of their careers.

Cotwright, who earned both her master’s and doctorate degrees from FACS, has received more than $1,172,000 in grant funding in her role as associate professor in the department of nutritional sciences.

She recently was appointed as the Director of Nutrition Security and Health Equity for the U.S Department of Agriculture, charged with leading the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s strategy for nutrition security.

Mary Jo Beverly, Distinguished Alumni Award: This award recognizes a FACS graduate who has made lifelong contributions that reflect the beliefs and values of the college.

Beverly is a 1970 graduate of the college who serves on the Georgia 4-H Foundation board of trustees, having previously served as Georgia’s 4-H president.

In 1998, she co-founded the Thomas County Food Bank and Outreach Center in her native Thomasville and in 2010 became the first woman to serve as chairperson of the Thomas County Board of Commissioners.

In this role, she oversaw the $8 million renovation of the Thomas County Historic Courthouse and remains heavily invested in her community in several volunteer roles.

“We are proud to honor the life and career of a visionary such as Aleene Cross, who made incredible contributions to our field,” FACS Dean Anisa Zvonkovic said. “She and all of our honorees are great representatives of the college and our mission of enhancing wellbeing of diverse communities. We are all looking forward to celebrating our honorees at this year’s event.”

Click here to register for the event.