At the top of her game


This time of the year we hear a lot about UGA Bulldog pride, but this week Bulldog pride has a very special meaning for Swainsboro. University of Georgia President Jere Morehead announced on Monday that following a nationwide search, Emanuel County’s own Jill Stephens Walton has been named vice president for Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) and Executive Director for the University of Georgia Foundation for UGA. Jill is the daughter of the late longtime former Sheriff Tyson and Susan Stephens and was the valedictorian of her 1995 Swainsboro High School graduating class. In a statement announcing Jill’s selection, President Morehead commented on Jill’s unique suitability for the new post, “Jill’s extensive experience across a variety of development areas, as well as her deep commitment to the University of Georgia, made her the top choice to lead the Development and Alumni Relations Division in a permanent capacity. Jill well knows the culture of philanthropy we’ve built at UGA over the last decade and has the right vision, personality, and tenacity to continue those efforts in new and great ways.”

Vice President Walton officially assumes her new role December 1, and will report directly to University President Morehead and will also serve as a member of the University Cabinet. “I appreciate President Morehead for entrusting me with the opportunity to serve an institution that has been part of my life since I was born,” Walton said. “From wearing red and black as a child to my time in 4-H serving as an orientation leader and being a proud recipient of scholarships during my time as a student, the University of Georgia means so much to me and this truly is a full circle moment. I look forward to continuing to serve UGA by helping donors, alumni and supporters make an impact across this incredible institution and beyond.”

Jill is a longtime development professional who has served UGA in a variety of key roles over nearly 25 years. From a start as an admissions counselor to assistant director of the Georgia 4-H Foundation to positions of progressive responsibility in the Terry College of Business including development and corporate relations to executive posts for corporate and foundation relations, Walton has a compiled level of experience and understanding that led to her selection as the new head of the 250 staff members of the DAR team.

Walton holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a Master of Public Administration from UGA. During her time as a student on campus, she served as a member of the Arch Society, Ag Ambassador and Alpha Chi Omega sorority. Jill is married to Geoffrey Walton, who is also a Double Dawg. They have three children: Callie, a first-year student at UGA and twins, Reese and Charlie.

With all of her credentials and dedication, Jill Stephens Walton is a solid bet to do her part to continue the culture of excellence that brands the University of Georgia. For us local folks, it’s just enough to say, we knew it all along. When asked for comment, Jill’s mom Susan added, “To say I’m proud of my daughter is certainly an understatement. I know that her Daddy is smiling down from above, and one more thing…GO DAWGS!

Thanks, and acknowledgement to

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