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Native son heads UGA alumni group

POSTED: January 12, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Trey Paris is about as deep in Bulldog legacy as one can get.

His grandfather, Tom Paris, was on the 1929 football team that defeated Yale in the first game ever played at Sanford Stadium.

His father, Tom Jr., was a letterman on the 1959 SEC Championship team that featured a few notables, such as Fran Tarkenton, Pat Dye and Bobby Walden.

And there are no divisions of loyalty at the Paris households. Both father and son married UGA women. Thomas "Trey" Paris of Gainesville is the current president of the University of Georgia Alumni Association, a job that, in effect, makes him the head of Bulldog nation.

Paris, 46, will be a part of the official UGA delegation when Georgia squares off against the University of Hawaii in tonight’s Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

"It’s quite an honor," said Paris, who began his two year term in July. His involvement with the alumni association goes back to his days as a student at the university and has continued for more than two decades.

"This experience has been exciting, exhilarating and rewarding," Paris said.

Paris, a government relations executive with the General Electric Co., said this is a particularly exciting time for the University of Georgia.

"We are just coming off a very successful ‘Archway to Excellence’ capital campaign; academics are on a very high plane; and athletics are doing well," he said.

Paris is the second Hall Countian to serve as leader of the alumni. Abit Massey, president of the Georgia Poultry Federation, served as president from 1991 to 1993.

"It is a special treat and opportunity for service," Massey said. "I’m pleased that we have another president from Gainesville and Hall County."

In his first few months in office, Paris has been given high marks.

"Since assuming the presidency of the board, Trey has made numerous appearances at alumni gatherings and university events around the country," said Deborah Dietzler, executive director of the alumni association. She said Paris has worked tirelessly to encourage graduates to support their alma mater.

"We’ve got 250,000 University of Georgia alumni," Paris said. "Only 10 percent of those are members of the alumni association."

In Hall County, Paris said there are 6,100 UGA grads. Among his goals before leaving office is to establish a Gainesville-Hall County chapter of the alumni association.

Beyond his support for the institution, Trey Paris is an unabashed Bulldog. It began at the age of 8 in Sanford Stadium. It continues now through his son, Thomas IV, 12, who received a haul of UGA paraphernalia for Christmas.

"He had his picture taken recently with Knowshon Moreno and Herschel Walker. That’s as good as it gets for him," Paris said.

His daughter, Eliza, 15, is an enthusiastic fan, as well.

He said having the football team as the prime time game on New Year’s Day is great exposure for both the team and the college.

And you can rest assured that the head of the Bulldog Nation is predicting a win tonight.

"I think you’re going to see some points get put up on the board, but I’m predicting Georgia, 38 to 21."



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