Graduating with a CAES bachelor’s degree in horticulture 25 years ago, I would have never imagined that the opportunity to serve as the 2019-2020 CAES Alumni President would become part of my CAES journey. I am Ag Dawg Proud to have had the honor to represent 20,000+ living CAES alumni.
As we think about the “Extensive Influence” CAES has on our communities, state, nation, and world, we do not have to look much farther than the University of Georgia motto… “to teach, to serve, and to inquire into the nature of things” to affirm that no other college on this campus embodies the mission of this great land-grant university more than CAES.
The extensive influence CAES has had on my education, my career, and my family is astonishing. As I reflect on milestones in my life, CAES has been part of my journey each step of the way. From my early memories of the Extension Service working with my grandfather’s Oconee County farm, to my mother’s 20+ year career with CAES, to the privilege of completing my undergraduate degree under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Dirr, CAES laid a strong foundation for me. CAES continues to be an integral part of the life of my family as a decade ago I was afforded the opportunity to return to UGA in a professional role where I now serve as Assistant Director of Innovation Gateway. Serving in this role allows me the privilege to work with our talented CAES plant breeders to commercialize their new plant varieties in the marketplace. I am also a proud CAES spouse supporting Mandy in her role as an Extension 4-H Specialist and we love encouraging our sons’ endeavors with Georgia 4-H. Completing a graduate degree along with being a part of the leadership development program, Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture and Forestry (AGL), I thought my journey had come full circle. However, I have learned that the CAES journey is lifelong and I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to volunteer with the CAES Alumni Association, giving back to the college and Ag Dawg family that has given so much to me.
I can capture my CAES journey in four words…heritage, education, family, career – which can be translated into a journey to connect, engage, and celebrate! My story is one of many CAES journeys that resounds the extensive influence of our college spanning much farther than the years spent matriculating. As alums of this great college, I encourage you to look for those opportunities to continue the legacy of CAES and find a way to expand your own journey.
I am Brent Marable, and I am Ag Dawg Proud!