As seniors in the Corps of Cadets at the University of North Georgia, Addyson Albershardt and Sarah-Anne Payne have heard several alumni deliver speeches about their time at the university and their life beyond the collegiate halls. But listening to 1989 alumnae Ann Padgett Hammel was a first for them.
"We have male leaders in the Corps who have come and spoken, but I've never seen a female leader who graduated from the Corps since I've been here," Albershardt said. "This will be the first alumnae and we are both seniors. So this is really great."
Honoring successful alumnae such as Hammel and introducing them to female UNG students was part of the program at the recent Women's Leadership Recognition Luncheon on UNG's Dahlonega Campus. The other alumnae recognized were Ann Couch Alexander ('64), Betty Rucker Chapman ('58), Emily George Dunn ('83), and Sue Haynes Malone ('74).
"You've made UNG so proud," said Karen Frost ('74), chairwoman of the alumni Women of UNG shared-interest group, which sponsored the luncheon with support from the UNG Alumni Association.
Frost then turned her attention to the UNG female students in the room.
"We want you to know that some of you will be standing here in the future and we will talk about the differences you've made in the world," she said.
The students already are making a difference at UNG. In fact, the luncheon honors female student leaders from UNG's five campuses every March for Women's History Month. It celebrated its second year by honoring 24 students nominated by faculty and staff for their integrity, responsibility, courage, and positivity, Frost said.
"We asked for the best of the best and that's what we have here," she said.
Students honored were:
Albershardt, a senior kinesiology major from Charlotte, North Carolina
Chandler Alligood, a senior business major from Toccoa, Georgia
Kaitlyn Bowling, a freshman nursing major from Ellijay, Georgia
Callie Brock, a junior biology major from Nicholson, Georgia
Jemmy Case, a junior communications major with a concentration in organizational leadership from Gainesville, Georgia
Renee Clement, a sophomore psychology major from Watkinsville, Georgia
Abby Hood, a senior marketing major from Buford, Georgia
Molly Martin, a senior kinesiology major with a concentration in health and fitness from Lewes, Delaware
Kendall Maze, a senior biology major from Johns Creek, Georgia
Julie McKie, a senior kinesiology major with exercise science concentration from Smyrna, Georgia
Nataly Morales Villa, a senior double majoring in political science and Spanish from Gainesville, Georgia
Payne, a senior communications major with a concentration in multimedia journalism from Dahlonega, Georgia
Lily Rainwater, a senior chemistry major from Cumming, Georgia
Martin Rogers, a senior business management major from Dahlonega, Georgia
Sarah Rogers, a sophomore education major with a specialization in counseling from Ellijay, Georgia
Jenna Sanborn, a senior nursing major from Rome, Georgia
Kristen Shadrix, a senior athletic training major from Carrollton, Georgia
Kathryn Shafer, a senior athletic training major from Jacksonville, Illinois
Sidney Sprague, a senior special education and childhood education double major from Columbus, Georgia
Michelle Vatral, a senior art marketing major from Columbus, Georgia
Ella Wasiluk, a junior physics major from Newnan, Georgia
Ansley Watson, a senior nursing major from Cleveland, Georgia
Rachael Williams, a senior international affairs major with a concentration in the Middle East from Senoia, Georgia
Andrea Zarate, a junior athletic training major from Milton, Georgia
A few of the students were honored at being recognized during the luncheon but were surprised at the nomination.
"I thought I was another face in the crowd," said Clement, a non-traditional student who connected with Hammel's speech. "I see a lot of similarities in my life and where I go from here."
In her speech, Hammel mentioned several key points that she described as non-revolutionary.
"I know as a confident leader, I have to work hard and smart. And hopefully, we are never done," she said. "But each of you are in a different stage in your life and careers who are sharing an amazing bond and legacy."
"Sarah-Anne and I were suit-mates our sophomore year," she said. "And the bond she and I have is friendship."