Published on 08/01/11

Parsons named CAES assistant director of college advancement

By Sharon Dowdy

University of Georgia alumna Mary Ann Parsons has been named assistant director of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Office of College Advancement and External Affairs. Parsons’ appointment is effective Aug. 1, 2011.

Parsons joined CAES in 2005 as a development coordinator for the Georgia 4-H Foundation and was promoted to executive director in 2010, a position she will continue to hold.

“I am pleased that we will now be able to better coordinate development activities in 4-H and the college,” said Scott Angle, CAES dean and director. “The appointment of Mary Ann Parsons to the assistant director’s position is an important step in this direction.”

Georgia 4-H state leader Arch Smith agrees. “I know that the new arrangement will allow the Georgia 4-H Foundation to continue to increase our private funding efforts to meet our program and facility needs.”

In her new position with the college, Parsons will be responsible for day-to-day operations of the office, including developing and implementing a fundraising strategy with an emphasis on major, planned and annual fund gifts to benefit the college’s programs, events and facilities.

“We have a vision and a plan for great things here in the CAES, and Mary Ann’s promotion and involvement in day-to-day activities are critical to the success of this mission,” said Rodney Miller, director of the office of college advancement and external affairs and assistant to the dean. “She has a unique blend of ‘outside the box’ forward thinking, coupled with a detailed approach to development, and she has the experience and personality needed to be successful.”

Parsons’ agricultural roots run deep. A native of Bainbridge, Ga., she grew up on a cotton and peanut farm and began showing livestock in the fifth grade as a member of the Decatur County 4-H Livestock Team. Through middle and high school, she raised a swine herd which included more than 20 sows. In high school, Parsons also showed cattle and still maintains a small cattle herd from some of the animals she exhibited.

Parsons was very involved in her local FFA chapter, serving in various leadership roles on the local and regional level as well as state vice president. She won a bronze award in national prepared public speaking, received her American FFA degree in 2000 and was a Southern Region Star Farmer.

While a college student at UGA, Parsons was a charter member of the university’s first agricultural sorority, Sigma Alpha. She served as the charter president during its development and later as president for two terms.

Parsons holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications with a minor in agribusiness and a master’s degree in agricultural leadership from UGA. She is a graduate of the Georgia Agri-Leaders Forum.

She volunteers with the CAES Alumni Board and received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the alumni association in 2005.

Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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