Oglethorpe University has been preparing leaders to make a life, make a living and make a difference in their professions, their communities and the world since 1835. Here are some of Oglethorpe’s more notable alumni. If you know someone you think should be considered for our list, please email [email protected] with their name and qualifications.
- Tim Tassopoulos ’81 is President and Chief Operating Officer of Chick-fil-A. While a student at Oglethorpe, he began his career at Chick-fil-A in 1977 as a restaurant team member and joined the home office staff as a business consultant in 1983. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Oglethorpe University and on the Board of Advisors at Georgetown University McDonough School of Business.
- Q. William “Bill” Hammack, Jr. ’73 President and CEO of C. W. Matthews Contracting Co., Inc. (retired). Hammack began his career at C.W. Matthews while a student at Oglethorpe, rising to the top of the renowned paving contractor that built the highways and runways of Atlanta and Georgia. In September 2017, Mr. Hammack made a $50M gift to establish the Q. William Hammack, Jr. School of Business at Oglethorpe.
- Cameron Bready ’94: President and Chief Operating Officer, Global Payments, a FinTech giant with a worldwide customer base of 3.5 million merchants, 1,300 financial institutions, 600 million cardholders, and facilitating approximately $50 billion of transactions per year. Bready also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees at Oglethorpe.
- Cody Partin ’02 is Senior Vice President, Total Rewards & People Operations at Cox Enterprises. He leads the planning, strategic design, implementation and administration of benefits for Cox’s approximately 55,000 employees and currently serves on the Oglethorpe Board of Trustees.
- Scarlet Pressley-Brown ’95: Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at National Center for Civil and Human Rights. She was formerly director of external affairs & community relations at Delta Air Lines and vice president of the Delta Air Lines Foundation. She is a member of the National Black M.B.A. Association, Clark Atlanta Guild, American Institute for Managing Diversity and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.
- William Howell Gower ’68: Co-founder and owner of MATRIX Resources, Inc., a privately-held staffing services company that provides deliverables-based professional services in areas of application development, business intelligence, client infrastructure, and delivery management services. The private company is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and has additional offices in Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Birmingham, Alabama; Chicago, Illinois; Jacksonville, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston, Texas; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and New York, New York.
- Sanan Angubolkul ’75: He is the Chairman and President, Srithai Superware, the largest manufacturer of melamine plates in the world.
- Carol Flammer ’89: is a public relations and social media marketing expert, strategist and consultant. With 20 years of experience, Carol has established herself as the “go to” for real estate and construction products public relations and social media. Carol is president of Flammer Relations, Inc., and managing partner of mRELEVANCE, LLC, an Internet Marketing, Social Media and Public Relations firm with offices in Atlanta and Chicago. Carol was also the recipient of the Spirit of Oglethorpe Award from Oglethorpe University in 2009.
- Jim Winestock ’14: Senior Vice President (retired), United Postal Service (UPS)
- Cemal Özgörkey ’84: was named to the Order of Rio Branco by the Government of Brazil as a civil servant and honorary consul in 2017. A citizen of Turkey, Özgörkey was formally inducted during a ceremony in Istanbul, where he was presented with the Rio Branco Medal. Özgörkey is the chairman of Özgörkey Holding and a member of Oglethorpe’s Board of Trustees. Özgörkey’s brother, Armagan Özgörkey ’84, is also an Oglethorpe alumnus. The Lupton Hall bell tower is named in honor of their mother, Lale Özgörkey, in recognition of a generous gift from the Özgörkey family towards the Turner Lynch Campus Center.
Law and Politics
- Charles Longstreet Weltner ’48: Son of University President Philip Weltner and a member of the class of 1948. Elected to Congress in 1962, Weltner was the only Representative from the Deep South to vote in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Two years later, in 1966, Weltner chose not to run for a fourth term rather than acquiesce to his party’s command that he sign a “loyalty oath” supporting the entire ticket, which was led by an avowed segregationist. Twenty-five years later, Weltner was named the recipient of the second annual Profile in Courage Award, given by the John F. Kennedy Library. The library noted these acts of civic leadership at the time. Oglethorpe University created an award in his honor, The Charles Longstreet Weltner Award. This award is presented annually to a student who demonstrates analytical and persuasive skills and an appreciation for the elements of civic leadership, as determined through a competitive essay and interview process. (deceased).
- Dar’shun Kendrick ’04: Business Attorney and Owner of Kendrick Law Practice in Atlanta. She is currently the elected State Representative for District 93 at the Georgia General Assembly.
- Mary Williams Cazalas ’54: Retired nurse and attorney. She served as assistant district attorney in New Orleans during the time of Jim Garrison and the JFK conspiracy theories on which Oliver Stone’s film JFK is based.
- Robert P. Mallis ’62: Retired Superior Court Judge for the Superior Court of DeKalb County. He is currently on the bench part-time in Fulton County.
- Robert B. “Bobby” Baker ’79: Former chair of the Georgia Public Service Commissioner first elected in 1992, the first Republican elected to statewide constitutional office in Georgia since Reconstruction. Bobby is currently a Partner at Freeman, Mathis & Gary, LLP.
- Christopher McFadden ’80: Elected as an Appellate Judge in Georgia in 2010 for the term beginning in January 2011.
- Drew Findling ’81: Prominent criminal defense attorney in Atlanta at the Findling Law Firm, a national presenter on death penalty defenses and television legal commentator. He has represented several high-profile clients, including Grammy-nominee Faith Evans, Former Fulton County, Georgia, Sheriff Jackie Barrett, Former President of Morris Brown College Dolores Cross, NBA Superstar Shaquille O’Neal and former NBA great Dennis Rodman. He was named one of Georgia’s Legal Elite in Georgia Trend Magazine and as a Georgia “Super Lawyer” by Atlanta magazine.
Arts, Culture & Media
- John Burke ’11: Energetic and innovative pianist who has captured audiences with his rich, powerful sound and gregarious personality. Was nominated for the Best New Age Album Grammy Award in 2016 for, Orogen. Won a Telly Award for Outstanding Live Performance of his album, Chirality!
- Matthew Claiborne ’11 currently serves as a producer for ABC News where he earned two Emmy awards and helped launched GMA3 and The Breakdown. After graduating from Oglethorpe with a degree in Communications, Matthew received a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and worked for CBS News.
- Merriman Smith ’36, ’64H: White House Correspondent and United Press International journalist over a 30-year career. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1964 for his remarkable coverage of the JFK assassination, during which he was the first to report the tragedy. Smith also authored the UPI column “Backstairs at the White House” and established relationships with the six presidents who served during his journalism career, from FDR to Nixon. A celebrity journalist, he appeared regularly on Merv Griffin and The Tonight Show. In 1968, President Johnson awarded Smith with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. When Smith died in 1970, President Nixon held a moment of silence in his honor. The National Press Corps continues to recognize the journalist’s accomplishments by annually presenting the Merriman Smith Award.
- Sidney Lanier, class of 1860: Oglethorpe’s most distinguished alumnus from the antebellum era. The work of Sidney Lanier, American poet, critic, and musician, bridged southern romantic literature and 20th-century realism. He spent his life trying to convince America that poetry and music are governed by similar artistic laws. He is best known for his novel “The Boy’s King Arthur” and well-known poems “The Song of the Chattahoochee” and “The Marshes of Glynn.”
- Vincent Sherman ’25: Acclaimed Hollywood film director with more than thirty movies to his credit, including Mr. Skeffington (1944) and The Young Philadelphians (1959).
- Samuel Earl Blackwell ’29: Founder of Celebrity Services, Inc. In 1939, he founded the lucrative New York-based Celebrity Service, an information and research service that has since opened branches in Hollywood, London, Paris and Rome. (deceased)
- Donald Rubin ’56: Founder of Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. Donald Rubin has been passionate collector of Himalayan art for over 30 years. In the Spring of 2011 Donald Rubin’s Collection, Goddess, Lion, Peasant, Priest: Modern and Contemporary Indian Art was exhibited at the Oglethorpe Museum of Modern Art. This was the first public display of more than 50 works from 30 of India’s most famous artists, including Francis Newton Souza, Sakti Burman, Seema Kohli, and Maqbool Fida Husain. The Huffington Post called the collection, “important and extraordinary”.
- David Bauman ’64: Owner of Bauman’s Rare Books in Philadelphia and New York. Most recently, in 2008 they opened up a store in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas store replicate the Madison Avenue gallery in design, inventory and exceptional customer service, but provides the added dimension of being open over twelve hours a day, seven days a week, and has the distinction of being perhaps the only place in the world where you can purchase a Shakespeare folio at 10:30 on a Saturday night.
- Carl David ’70: 4th generation art dealer with a gallery in Philadelphia specializing in American and European seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth- and twentieth-century paintings, watercolors, sculptures and drawings. He is the author of Collecting & Care of Fine Art published by Crown in 1981 and most recently the novel Bader Field.
- Bob Amick ’72: Owner of successful restaurant group in Atlanta, Ga., Concentrics Hospitality. Restaurants include: ONE.midtown kitchen, TWO.urban licks, TRIOS, Piebar, Murphy’s and Lobby at TWELVE.
- Thomas Stevenson “Tom” Douglas ’75: American country music songwriter. Active since the early 1990s, he has written Top Ten hits for John Michael Montgomery, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Collin Raye and others. Most recently, Tom won a Grammy in 2010 for writing “The House that Built Me” by Miranda Lambert, which won “Song of the Year”.
- Christopher Fulton ’80: A sound engineer who has worked for bands all over the world. He has worked with U2, the Olympic Games in Vancouver and Barbara Streisand to name a few.
- Ivan Bilancio ’81: A film editor who specializes in animation. He is known for his work on The Lion King, Hercules and Surf’s Up. Ivan’s father, Dr. Leo Bilancio, was a beloved member of the Oglethorpe history faculty from 1958 to 1989.
- Johnny White ’88: A filmmaker and artist in Chicago. He is currently making a name for himself as a photographer. In addition to capturing iconographic images of the cityscape, he is a successful independent filmmaker, with production credits in Temporary Girl, TAX DAY, Paula Froehle’s Underground Women and Up on the Rope, Hollie Lavenstein’s Just Act Normal, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Master and Commander, and Home Alone 3. He has been Art Director on television’s The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Top Design and Top Chef.
- Samson Desta ’94: The Pakistan & Afghanistan Bureau Chief at CNN.
- Nick Chawhala ’03: CEO of Swarm Logic, Inc. which created, manages, and operates Bravo Ocean Studios in Atlanta, Ga. Nick’s clients have included: Atlantic Records, Def Jam, Universal Records, Tricky Stewart, Mariah Carey, Gym Class Heroes, Beastie Boys, Ferrari, and Elton John just to name a few. Most recently, Nick earned a Grammy nomination for engineering Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”, which was up for “Album of the Year” in 2010.
- Joe Sutton ’09: Joe started at CNN/TBS at age 16 and by the age of 25 was a regional news editor at CNN, where he continues to contribute to news gathering for the United States and Canada. Sutton worked for NBC during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, and now serves as a fashion consultant and entertainment correspondent as well as manager of his own company, Joe Sutton Enterprises, LLC.
- Kardea Brown ’11: has been featured on the Food Network‘s Farmhouse Rules, BBQ Blitz, Chopped Junior, Beach Bites, Beat Bobby Flay, Cooks vs. Cons, Family Food Showdown, and hosted Cupcake Championship. She now has her own show on the channel titled, Delicious Miss Brown, which shares the family events, culture, and recipes of traditional Gullah dishes she learned as a child in her grandmother’s South Carolina kitchen.
- Malika Whitley ‘11: is the founder of the nonprofit ChopArt, which seeks to help homeless teens build community, cope, and heal through the arts. For her efforts, she has been highlighted on the Today Show, Atlanta Magazine, and was a panelist in the Women of Color in the Workforce Dinner & Dialogue. Whitley delivered a TED Talk on her work, and she was named to Creative Loafing’s “20 People to Watch” list in 2016.
- Charles Allen Stillman, class of 1841: A member of the first graduating class of Oglethorpe, Stillman went on to found Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (deceased)
- Robin Whyte Hoffman ’70: Formerly the President of Dekalb Technical College is now vice president with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), which is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the 11 Southern states.
- Dr. Michael Quick ’82: Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, University of Southern California
- Sable Elyse Smith ‘11: was the Artist in Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2018 during its 50th anniversary year. Sable is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and educator whose practice considers memory and trauma. She has performed at the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, Eyebeam, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Her work has also been screened at Birkbeck Cinema in collaboration with the Serpentine Galleries, Artist Television Access, and MoMA Ps1. Her writing has been published in Radical Teacher, Selfish, Studio Magazine, and with Recess Art’s Critical Writing Fellowship. Sable has received grants and fellowships from Creative Capital, the Queens Museum, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Franklin Furnace Fund, and Art Matters. In 2017, she received the Emerging Artist Grant in New York City from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation. Sable’s video, “How We Tell Stories to Children,” was on exhibit at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center in 2018.
- Kerensa Wing ’91: is the current Principal of Collins Hill High School in Georgia’s Gwinnett County School District. She was named the 2020 National Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and was featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) for her award. Kerensa is a graduate of the Gwinnett County School District’s 2008 Quality-Plus Leadership Academy Aspiring Principal Program, as well as a finalist for the Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year in 2002.
- Luke Appling ’32: Led the 1930 Stormy Petrels to a 15-0 season and college championship of the south prior to signing a pro contract with the Atlanta Crackers before completing his college degree. During his twenty-one year career with the Chicago White Sox he compiled a .310 lifetime batting average and, in 1964, became the 101st member inducted into Pro Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. After retirement from playing ball, he served as a major and minor league manager and coach, ending his career as the minor league batting coach for the Atlanta Braves. Appling was inducted into the OU Hall of Fame in 1962 and named Honorary Coach of the 1990 Stormy Petrels before he passed away in 1991.
- William J. Sasnett, Class of 1839: a member of Oglethorpe’s first graduating class in 1839 and a founder of the Thalian Society, served as the first pastor of the Methodist church at Prattville, Alabama, taught English at Emory College, and served as president of LaGrange Female College in LaGrange, Georgia, before becoming the first president of Auburn University (1858–1861).
- Robert E. Wolfe ’80: Executive Vice President of the L.A. Dodgers, former Executive Vice President of the Washington Nationals and former Senior Vice President for administration with the Atlanta Braves.
- Cmdr Dan Martin ’91: Blue Angel, Commanding Officer, Strike Fighter Squadron 37
Science / Medicine
- Gregory Adams ’79: Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit hospital and health insurance organizations, which serves more than 12.2 million members and pulls in an annual revenue of more than $82 billion.
- Ronald Charles Remington, Ph.D., ’06: A senior research scientist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, he is a part of the team that discovered the so-called “God particle” while working at the Large Hadron Collider and studying high energy particle physics in graduate school.
- Zachary Vealey ’13: is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Yale University, one of 35 students named a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow for 2015.
- Jessica Belen Rodriguez ’15: is one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “30 under 30”, a biology major who works with humanitarian organizations as a health educator in rural communities in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Jamaica.
- Dr. Janice Galleshaw ’75: is a Breast Cancer Specialist at Georgia Cancer Specialists which is the largest private medical oncology/hematology practice in the Southeast and a leader in advanced cancer treatment and research. Janice was recently featured in major Atlanta media outlets for being named a Top Doctor by Atlanta magazine for medical oncology.
- Claire Coles ’75: is the director of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Drug Exposure Center at Marcus Autism Center. Dr. Coles also is professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine with a joint appointment in the department of pediatrics.
- Dr. Ray Lucas ’86: Chief of Emergency Medicine at George Washington Hospital in DC.
- Dr. Emily Gurley ‘96: was the 2010 Spirit of Oglethorpe Award winner for her embodiment of the Oglethorpe motto: Make a life. Make a living. Make a difference. As an Associate Scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Gurley led the development of an online course designed to get new contact tracers quickly up to speed during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The course is supported by the app, ConTESSA, which she developed with colleagues in the Infectious Diseases Dynamics Group at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Wake Forest University.