Alumni of Distinction

Class of 2013

Front Row: Maureen Grasso, Dean; Libby Morris, Interim Provost; Eugene Bottoms; Peter Griffith; Charles Hamner; Ronald Vaughn; Maxine Burton; William Jones. Back Row: Carl Swearingen; Thomas Lyons; Richard Cebula; Philip Bartley; Donald Ingram. Not Pictured: Norman Kirby Alton, Devron R. Averett, Richard T. Cupitt, Joel D. Haber, Karl E. Wycoff.

Press Release


N. Kirby Alton, Ph.D.
Dr. Alton is the founder and director of Ascend Air, LLC and is the current chairman of the board of directors of Abeome Corporation. Prior to his retirement in 1999, he served as the senior vice president of development at Amgen, Inc. He earned his Bachelor of Science in zoology and Doctor of Philosophy in molecular and population genetics from the University of Georgia in 1974 and 1981, respectively. He and his wife, Jan, established the Kirby and Jan Alton Graduate Fellowship in the department of genetics at UGA. He is currently on the board of directors of the UGA Research Foundation.


Devron R. Averett, Ph.D.
Dr. Averett is the current chief scientific officer at EcoActive Surfaces, Inc., and provides consulting services in the discovery and development of human medicines. He co-founded Anadys Pharmaceuticals and served as its chief scientific officer for seven years. He was also a member of the Burroughs Wellcome Biosafety Committee and worked as an adjunct associate professor in the microbiology department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was an early leader in the use of automated methods for more efficient drug discovery, which helped lead to the development of HIV and Hepatitis B medication. Most recently, he has shown that treating agricultural crops with an engineered form of the non-toxic mineral titanium dioxide can reduce certain bacterial diseases. His work has resulted in two dozen patents and has appeared in over forty peer reviewed publications. He has been invited to speak at numerous conferences and universities throughout the U.S. and world. He was a reviewer for multiple scientific journals throughout his career and served on the editorial board for Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.


Philip G. Bartley, Ph.D.
Dr. Bartley is founder of Innovative Measurement Solutions, Inc. He previously held positions at several U.S. naval facilities and at Hewlett Packard. In addition to owning IMS, he has taught at the Southern College of Technology, Old Dominion University, and the University of Georgia, where he recently returned as a lecturer in the College of Engineering. His work focuses on the development and improvement of techniques used for measuring the electromagnetic properties of materials. Many of the methods he developed have become industry standards and have been utilized by the U.S. military, NASA, and by medical researchers. He has published numerous articles and conference proceedings, as well as led workshops and tutorials both nationally and internationally. He was named an Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Distinguished Lecturer by the Instrumentation and Measurement Society in 2010. In 1997, he was recognized by the UGA Student Chapter of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers as Teacher of the Year. Dr. Bartley and his wife are active philanthropists, volunteering at many community events and non-profit causes. He remains an avid Bulldog fan and enjoys spending time on his boat, “Dawg Daze.”


James Eugene Bottoms, Ed.D
Dr. Bottoms has been a pioneer in the field of education for over fifty years. He is senior vice president of the Southern Regional Education Board, an organization dedicated to reforming and improving education policy. Dr. Bottoms is founder and director of High Schools That Work, an initiative aimed at improving student performance and graduation rates, which has been implemented in over 3,000 high schools nationwide. He also launched Georgia’s first statewide system of staff development and support for teachers. Prior to joining the Southern Regional Education Board, Dr. Bottoms served as executive director of the American Vocational Association, where he led a collaborative effort to craft national legislation designed to increase career-technical programs of study in public schools. He was appointed to the National Education, Research, Policy and Priorities Board in 1995, and the National Commission of the Senior Year in 2000 by then U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley. He has taught youth and adult Sunday school classes for more than five decades and serves as the current chair of the Church Council at Wieuca Road Baptist Church.


Maxine Hubbard Burton, M.Ed
Mrs. Burton is the founder and president of burton+BURTONTM, the largest supplier of balloons and related gift items in the United States, employing over 250 employees with customers nationwide and in over ninety countries. Since the company’s foundation in 1982, Mrs. Burton has received numerous entrepreneurial and community leadership awards, including the Spirit of Georgia Award, Athena Award for Outstanding Female Achievement, Crystal Award, and the Alan J. McDonald International Entrepreneur Award. Other accolades include Small Business Person of the Year, Outstanding Georgia Citizen, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in Retail/Wholesale, Athens Woman of Distinction, and Lieutenant Colonel, Aide de Camp, Governor’s Staff, which was awarded by Former Governor Roy Barnes.Mrs. Burton is very active in both community and professional organizations and received a Key to the City of Athens in 2012. She and her daughter founded the Hubbard-Burton Study Abroad Scholarship at the University of Georgia. Mrs. Burton is also a loyal supporter of various programs and initiatives on campus, and as a result of her efforts, was featured in UGA’s “75 Years of Outstanding Alumni.”


Richard J. Cebula, Ph.D.
Dr. Cebula is the Walker/Wells Fargo Endowed Chair in Finance in the Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University. He previously served as economic advisor to U.S. Congressman Elliott Levitas, Senator Sam Nunn, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He has published over 500 scholarly journal articles in the fields of economics, finance, statistics, and management, and is the editor or editor-in-chief of several academic journals. His accolades include the Kenneth G. Elzinga Distinguished Teaching Award, NROTC Armstrong Atlantic State University Professor of the Year Award, Lifetime Achievement in Advancing Regional Science from the Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, Excellence Award in Scholarship and Professional Activities, and Goodwill Ambassador Medal for Distinguished Service. He is ranked among the world’s leading economists by Research Papers in Economics and is the president-elect of the Mid-Continent Regional Science Association. He has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, including CNN, NPR, CSPAN, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and Fortune. Dr. Cebula is also active in his community, volunteering for the American Cancer Society, Coastal Poodle Rescue, Safe Harbor Animal Rescue, Haitian Heritage Museum, and Hopes, Dreams and Horses.


Richard Cupitt, Ph.D.
Dr. Cupitt is the United States’ United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 coordinator for the U.S. Department of State. Dr. Cupitt previously served as expert on the 1540 Committee of the United Nations Security Council and has worked as a special advisor to the under secretary of the Bureau of Industry and Security at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Serving as both a public servant and a private contractor, Dr. Cupitt has dedicated much of his career to helping the international community take measures to combat threats posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorist activities. Dr. Cupitt has over sixty publications, served on the editorial boards for two scholarly journals, and has made more than 75 invited lectures or presentations in over 25 countries. He aided in establishing the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia. He has taught courses at Emory University, University of North Texas, UGA, and American University. Among his accolades are a commendation from the Bureau of Industry and Security in the U.S. Department of Commerce, nomination to the President’s Export Council Subcommittee on Export Administration, and National Merit Scholarship.


Peter C. Griffith, Ph.D.
Dr. Griffith is the founding director of NASA’s Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office at the Goddard Space Flight Center. As coordinator of the North American Carbon Program, Dr. Griffith aims to quantify continental-scale sources and sinks of carbon-based greenhouse gases in North America and adjacent oceans. He is a member of the Science Definition Team for the Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment, which is a major field campaign planned for Alaska and Western Canada. Currently, he is the chief support scientist for Sigma Space Corporation and previously was the lead support scientist for Science Systems and Applications. He has numerous publications and has been an invited speaker to audiences of formal and informal educators throughout the country and world. He is science advisor to NASA and the U.S. Park Service’s Partnership for Building Climate Literacy for Informal Educators, member of the board of directors of the Instituto Araguaia de Proteção Ambiental, member of the American Geophysical Union, and a volunteer scuba diver at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. As a result of his efforts with the Large Scale Biosphere Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia, NASA presented him with a Group Achievement Award.


Joel D. Haber, Ph.D.
Dr. Haber is a clinical psychologist and expert on bullying whose work has received international attention. He founded the Respect U Program, a bullying management and prevention program for children and adults that is used in schools, sports, workplaces, and other organizations nationwide. He is a world-renowned author, speaker, and consultant. His clinical practice specializes in depression, anxiety, and relationship issues. His work experience includes positions at the University of Alabama, Birmingham Medical School, White Plains Hospital Center, and New York Medical College. He has published numerous articles and has been featured in the New York Times, on ABC, CBS, ESPN Radio, and NPR. He is a member of the advisory board for the Bully Project and was credited in the 2012 film, Bully. He has been a speaker for the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention, is a leading expert for the LG Text Education Council, and is an advisor to Cartoon Network’s STOP BULLING: SPEAK UP campaign. Each year, he speaks to thousands of parents and teachers about strategies for dealing with bullies and how to improve the lives of children.


Charles E. Hamner, D.V.M, Ph.D.
Dr. Hamner is chair of the board of directors of the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, a private, nonprofit organization that provides collaborative approaches to translational biomedical research. He is also chairman and CEO of Hamner Advisory Services, and also served as president and CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center for 14 years while also teaching in the obstetrics and gynecology department at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Prior to his tenure at the Biotechnology Center, he was associate vice president for health affairs at the University of Virginia Medical Center, and also served as the director of the reproductive biology division at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. His pioneering work in the pharmaceutical and health care industries has been pivotal in transforming North Carolina into one of the top biotechnology states in the country. He is the recipient of the Archie K. Davis Award for Development of the Research Triangle Park, Charles Duncan McIver Medal, Healthcare Lifetime Achievement Award, North Carolina Award for Public Service, WRAL Techwire Lifetime Achievement Award in Biotechnology, and the Nanotechnology Lifetime Achievement Award.


Donald K. Ingram, Ph.D.
Dr. Ingram is a professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University. Dr. Ingram founded the Laboratory of Experimental Gerontology at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and was instrumental in establishing the Primate Aging Database and the Interventional Testing Program at the NIA. He is the current editor-in-chief of AGE, the journal of the American Aging Association, and also serves as the organization’s treasurer. Dr. Ingram’s research has led to four Alzheimer’s disease drug patents, the discovery of several mechanisms pertaining to long-term calorie restriction and its benefits to brain aging and function, and the establishment of the calorie restriction mimetics research field. He has several hundred publications and has given over one hundred invited lectures nationally and internationally in the past twenty-five years. Dr. Ingram received the S.T. Huang-Chan Memorial Lecture Award, the Harman Research Award and Lecture, the Merit Award from the National Institute on Aging, and the Zimmer Award for Research Productivity in the psychology department at the University of Georgia. He is very involved in his community, coaching youth soccer, teaching Sunday school, and leading a Boy Scout troop.


William B. Jones, M.Ed, L.L.B.
Mr. Jones is the founder and president of Jones Petroleum Company, Inc., as well as CEO of JP Capital and Insurance, Inc. He is a former school teacher and Butts County School System superintendent. While superintendent, Mr. Jones established the first fully-funded public kindergarten program in a rural Georgia school system. From 1977 to 1984, Mr. Jones served as a Georgia state representative during which time he was instrumental in passing legislation that required prospective teachers to undergo professional testing prior to receiving a teaching certificate. He is the former chairman of the board of directors of the Georgia Oilman’s Association and Butts County Water and Sewer Authority. He is a board member of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority Board of Governors, and member of the Georgia State Bar Association and American Bar Association. In 2012, he received the Butts County Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame Award. Mr. Jones received his B.B.A. in risk management and insurance, and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Georgia. He obtained his L.L.B. from the Atlanta Law School in 1973.


Thomas L. Lyons, M.D.
Dr. Lyons, of the Center for Women’s Care and Reproductive Surgery in Atlanta, is considered a pioneer for his breakthroughs in gynecologic surgery, which have garnered him numerous awards. Throughout his career, he has participated in numerous academic and clinical studies and has authored more than 150 scholarly publications, dedicating his work to the education and training of gynecologists, particularly in the area of minimally invasive surgery. He is an adjunct assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia, a clinical associate professor at Emory University Medical School, and an honorary professor at the Kulakov Institute for Perinatology and Gynecology in Moscow. He is also director of the Southeastern Institute for Endoscopic Laser Surgery and the AAGL/SRS Fellowship in Endoscopic Pelvic and Reconstructive Surgery. A former UGA football player and Denver Bronco, Dr. Lyons was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1986 and won the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award in 1996. In 1999, the UGA Athletic Association inducted him into the Circle of Honor, the highest tribute paid to Bulldog athletes, and he received the Bill Hartman Award in 2001.


Carl E. Swearingen, M.A., M.S.
Mr. Swearingen began his telecommunications career with Southern Bell in 1972 in Tucker, Georgia. He rose to senior vice president and corporate secretary for the BellSouth Corporation, retiring in 2001. As a University of Georgia Air Force ROTC cadet, Mr. Swearingen was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He served on active duty as an air intelligence officer in Cam Rahn Bay and Saigon, South Vietnam, and at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. He received the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam. He served on the boards of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, UGA Foundation, and Berry College. He has been chairman of Governor Zell Miller’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology, UGA National Alumni Association, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, and National Board of Advisors of the Museum of Aviation. Following Governor Sonny Perdue’s election in 2002, Mr. Swearingen served as chairman of the governor’s transition team and was appointed special advisor to the governor on military affairs. He also was appointed by Governor Perdue to the Commission for a New Georgia and to the Technical College System of Georgia board.


Ronald L. Vaughn, Ph.D.

Dr. Vaughn has served as president of the University of Tampa since 1995. Prior to becoming president, Dr. Vaughn was the coordinator of the marketing department and was the Max H. Hollingsworth Endowed Chair of American Enterprise. He was director of the M.B.A. program, dean of the College of Business and Graduate Studies, and co-chief academic officer. The University of Tampa has flourished under his tenure. Prior to joining the University of Tampa faculty, Dr. Vaughn owned a marketing research and consulting company. He is very active in his community and has served on the boards of the Performing Arts Center, Gulf Ridge Council of Boy Scouts, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and Florida Aquarium. He has been the president of the Florida West Coast Chapter of the American Marketing Association, Tampa Bay Chapter of the Planning Forum, and Sunshine State Athletic Conference. He has been the chair of the American Red Cross Tampa Bay Chapter and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida.


Karl E. Wycoff, M.A.
Mr. Wycoff is the senior policy advisor to the Corporate Council on Africa. He was previously at the U.S. Department of State for over ten years, serving in a variety of roles that included deputy assistant secretary for African Affairs, director for Central African Affairs, head of the Action Against Terrorism Unit, and deputy coordinator for Counter Terrorism. Mr. Wycoff earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from the University of Georgia in 1975 and 1977, respectively.

Ready to apply?