UGA Graduate School Honors 2019 Alumni of Distinction

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Graduate School has honored ten graduates with the 2019 Alumni of Distinction Award for achieving exceptional success in their professional careers and in service to their community.

The Graduate School Alumni of Distinction Award was established in 2012 by the University of Georgia’s Graduate Education Advancement Board; the first recipients were named in 2013. Recipients have accomplished meritorious achievement and success in their professional field, exemplify themselves as a mentor and a role model in their profession, and have made substantive contributions to their professional field at the regional and national levels as evidenced by honors earned in the profession. The professional achievements and contributions to society made by these graduate alumni exemplify the University of Georgia mission, “to teach, to serve, and to inquire into the nature of things.” All graduate-level UGA alumni are eligible to be considered for the annual award. Awardees are:

Marion Bradford, of Hendersonville, North Carolina, Bradford developed and patented the Bradford protein assay, a method to quickly quantify the amount of protein in a sample. His paper describing the method is among the most cited scholarly articles of all time. He worked in corn processing technology for more than 30 years. The majority of his career was spent at Tate and Lyle. He also served on the U.S. Department of Energy Plant Vision 2020 and Chemical Vision 2020 Platform Document Committees. Post retirement, he continues to consult for various organizations including as an adviser on renewable energy to USDOE. He also enjoys playing in the Blue Ridge Orchestra and tutoring students in math and science.

Z. Andrew Farkas, of Elliott City, Maryland, is the Director of the National Transportation Center and Professor of Transportation at Morgan State University in Baltimore. His research and teaching covers transportation economics and policy, logistics, public transportation, and land use. More recently, he has focused on commuting with electric vehicles and willingness-to-pay for connected vehicles. He has presented many papers in the U.S. and abroad in addition to publishing numerous articles on his research in transportation. The American Road and Transportation Builder Association presented Dr. Farkas with the S.S. Steinberg Outstanding Educator Award in 2011.

Barry Fields, of Decatur, Georgia, is a microbiologist and Legionnaires’ expert at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. In 2010, he moved to Nairobi, Kenya to focus on to international disease control where he coordinated responses to disease outbreaks all over Africa, including the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. He has received recognition for investigations of the anthrax and SARS outbreaks in addition to the William C. Watson Metal of Excellence, the CDC’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He plans to retire at the end of 2019 after 39 years of service at the CDC.

Eddie R. Hays, of Marietta, Georgia, retired from The Coca-Cola Company in March 2019. He worked in various roles during his 34 years at company, most recently as the Senior Vice President and Chief Technical Officer supervising areas such as Coca-Cola Freestyle, Global Sustainable Procurement, Research and Development, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, and Technical Governance. An avid supporter of the arts, he has served on the Advisory Board of the Savannah College of Art and Design, the Board of Directors of the Atlanta College of Art, and the Science and Technology Museum of Atlanta.

James Hindman, of Santa Monica, California, has spent most of his career in cinema and performing arts, creating and leading professional and public education programs at major institutions. He spent 24 years at the American Film Institute (AFI) prior to leaving to develop and lead film schools in the U.S. and internationally. He co-authored Becoming AFI: 50 years Inside the American Film Institute, TV Acting, and The Practice of Filmmaking: The AFI Conservatory remembers Toni Vellani. He has also served on the boards of the AIDS Service Center and Los Angeles Men’s Place (LAMP).

Robert J. Jones, of Champaign, Illinois, is Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he has implemented programs to increase diversity, build partnerships that promote the Land-Grant Mission, and drive economic vitality statewide. Previously, he established the nation’s first integrated College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity as President of the University at Albany, State University of New York. He began a 34-year career at the University of Minnesota as faculty and rose to administration. He established the University’s first urban research and outreach/engagement center which was recently named for him.

Pat Mitchell, of Atlanta, Georgia, is a journalist and Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated producer. President of CNN Productions and the first woman president and CEO of PBS and the Paley Center for Media, she leverages the power of media to tell women’s stories and increase their representation. The Women’s Media Center honored Ms. Mitchell with its first-annual Lifetime Achievement Award, named in her honor to commend other women whose media careers advance the representation of women. Her book, Becoming a Dangerous Woman: Embracing Risk to Change the World will debut later in October 2019.

Thomas Rainer, of Arlington, Virginia, is a registered landscape architect, teacher, and author. He is a leading voice in ecological landscape design and has designed landscapes for the U.S. Capitol grounds, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and New York Botanical Garden. He specializes in applying innovative planting concepts to create ecologically-functional designed landscapes. He applies the technologies of plant systems to bring natural functions back into cities and towns. His co-authored Planting in a Post-Wild World which was selected by the American Horticultural Society as one of the 2016 books of the year.

Denise Spangler, of Athens, Georgia, is the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Georgia. Supported by $4.5 million in external funding, Dr. Spangler seeks to understand how novice teachers put into practice what they have learned from their teacher education programs, their experiences in schools, and their own experiences as students. She has authored approximately 100 journal articles, book chapters, or books. Additionally, she has chaired editorial panels for prestigious journals in mathematics education and served on the board of directors for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Page Walley, of Bolivar, Tennessee, is President and Chief Public Policy Officer for Saint Francis Ministries, a national and international social services provider and consultation organization that strives to bring hope and healing to children and families. Prior to SFM, he was Managing Director of Strategic Consulting for Casey Family Programs working to reduce the number of children in out-of-home care. While he was Commissioner of the Departments of Human Resources and Children’s Affairs in Alabama, the departments gained national recognition for their work including the Food Stamp Program’s response to Hurricane Ivan.


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