A Message from Michelle Cook

Michelle Cook

There are so many opportunities for us as individuals to create positive change in the world. This simple truth is often ignored as we are overwhelmed by large, societal challenges that may seem insurmountable. In the face of such adversity, we may feel that our capacity to initiate change is limited. But, this is because we underestimate the exponential effect that commitment and determination can have.

This edition of the Diversity Newsletter is a testament to the impact that individuals can have when they want to do good in the world. For the University of Georgia, this is not surprising or uncommon. The culture of our institution is one of service. In every corner of our campus, you will find individuals engaged in service to the community. I believe that this contributes significantly to what makes UGA a very special place.

The Bobbi Meeler Sahm Service and Outreach Fund, as well as the UGA Mentor Program, provide incredible service as we expand the reach of the University of Georgia in meaningful and impactful ways. Mentors working with current UGA students not only assist them in charting their professional path, but also model how important it is to give back and motivate the next generation, one person at a time.

Through Road Dawgs, dozens of students have given up their spring break to travel around the state of Georgia encouraging high school students to set collegiate goals. These UGA students embody a strong sense of community responsibility that pushes them to be influencers in the lives of high school students. They are having a direct impact on the lives of others. They are selfless in their willingness to step up, and we continue to see the positive outcomes of their work, especially in rural communities.

At the University of Georgia this semester, we have had the opportunity to hear firsthand from two true changemakers, Dr. Art Dunning and Mrs. Marilyn Holmes. In their own words, both individuals shared with the community, personal stories of commitment and determination. Their lived experiences are a reminder to us that individual people can bring about significant change. As friends of the University, both Dr. Dunning and Mrs. Holmes have been incredibly generous with their time and their wisdom. We are truly a better institution because of their engagement with our community.

Those who serve are often very self-aware; aware of the opportunities that they enjoy as they work to make sure that others have similar opportunities. We see this throughout our community. Amazing students, faculty and staff continue in their commitment and determination to be agents of positive change. Rosa Parks said, “One person can change the world.” The simplicity of this statement is often lost in the complexity of societal problems. But as we look across our great university, we see thousands of people doing just that… changing the world!

Michelle Cook
Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Strategic University Initiatives