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Nearly 550 UNG students turn their tassel and become college grads this summer

Almost 550 University of North Georgia (UNG) students with an associate, bachelor's or master's degree or certificate were released into the real world as their college careers came to an end during the 2017 summer commencement ceremonies.

For two UNG graduates, their post-graduate life will begin with them traveling the globe as Fulbright Scholars. Mitchell Fariss and Anita Renfroe were two of the nine UNG students selected earlier this year as finalists for the program, which offers research, study and teaching opportunities in more than 160 countries to recent graduates and graduate students.

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Credit: UNG Newsroom

Question: Who made that giant car sculpture in Midtown?

For the past three years or so, thousands of people a day passed Rockspinner, a 22,000-pound granite boulder that rested on a spinning base at the intersection of Peachtree and 10th Street.

But that installation was replaced last week with something new and, if you can believe it, heavier.

Autoeater, a 16-ton marble sculpture with a car sticking out of it, has taken the rock’s place.

The towering monument was installed just in time for thousands of runners and spectators passing by during the AJC Peachtree Road Race on Tuesday.

Surely they’ll look on in awe and wonder: Where did this thing come from?

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Credit: Becca J. G. Godwin, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

With over 100 million records sold, Billy Joel is one of America’s most popular music icons, but few of his fans know about his family’s escape from Nazi Germany.

To help bridge the gap, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, in partnership with the Atlanta-Nuremberg Sister Cities Committee and the Goethe-Zentrum German Cultural Center Atlanta, held an evening of entertainment and dialogue April 6 to highlight the Joel family’s tumultuous past.

The tribute act Billy and the Joels livened the night, with pianist Werner Kandzora and singer Stefan Angele performing classics such as “Piano Man” and “Just the Way You Are.” Nuremberg journalist and author Steffen Radmaier read excerpts from his book about the family history.

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Credit: Sarah Moosazedeh, Atlanta Jewish Times

“Berlin has a distinct flavor and offers a lot of opportunities to diverse groups,” German Consul General Detlev Ruenger said at the opening of the exhibition “Fashioning a Nation: German Identity and Industry 1914-1945.”

The opening was one of three panel discussions planned around the exhibit, hosted by the Goethe Zentrum Atlanta – German Cultural Center. The second, “Creativity vs. Commerce: What Shapes the Face of Fashion?” was held Jan. 12, and the third, “Fashioning Wellness: How Wearable Technology Improves Personalized Wellness,” was scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19, at the Atlantic Station offices of law firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough.

The exhibit offers a glimpse into Germany’s fashion industry before World War II, when it was dominated by Jews, and after the war by displaying dresses from the period.

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Credit: Sarah Moosazadeh

With people from a multitude of nations crowding the halls, the end of a class session at the Goethe-Institut in Freiburg, Germany, seems like a model United Nations with one exception - many are speaking German instead of their native language.

“You’re more fully immersed here because you have so many people from other countries who don’t speak English or very little English and so the only way you can communicate is through the German you both know,” said Kelly Reid, a UNG student majoring in athletic training and physical education.

This summer, Reid, Cheyne Jones, and Peyton King – all three minoring in German – were the first UNG students to enroll at the Goethe-Institut, the premiere global German language and cultural organization, thanks to a partnership that also allowed them to earn foreign language credits.

They found it necessary to understand German at every turn: in class, going on a cultural outing, taking a bus or train, buying food or other necessities, or even talking with a classmate.

“The Goethe experience was more than just credits for my minor; it was a life experience. I was tested daily with new issues, and it greatly improved my responsibility and problem-solving skills,” King said. “Every day I learned more about how to speak the language, the culture, and other people. No other program would have given me the academic and personal growth as the Goethe-Institut.”

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Credit: Edie Rogers, University of North Georgia

With at least 488 German facilities operating in Georgia employing 22,500 Georgians, it’s not surprising that the German Cultural Center, also known as the Goethe-Zentrum Atlanta, is thriving in Midtown.

Atlanta now can boast having the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche Cars North America as well as a host of German global brands; even the city’s new $1.5 billion football stadium slated to open next year will be named after Mercedes-Benz.

But it wasn’t always that way.

Goethe-Zentrum’s executive director, Miriam Bruns, told Global Atlanta that the momentum of German investment into the Southeast began to build in the mid-1970s and provided an opportunity for the Goethe Institut to be established in an Atlanta that was then merely an emerging regional center.

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Credit: Phil Bolton, Global Atlanta