For this family, being a Georgia Bulldog isn’t just a tradition: It’s a legacy. Grandfather Robert Sharpless started it off with a BBA in 1950, but Ann Hamsley and her husband Danny kept up the tradition with degrees from Warnell— Ann with a BSFR in 1977 and Danny with a BSFR that same year, followed by an MS in 1979.
Their daughters became Bulldogs, too: Dr. Kristen Hamsley has both a BSA and DVM from Georgia, and Jenn Jarvis earned a bachelor's degree. But it was daughter Amanda Hamsley Lang who followed their parents' footsteps to Warnell: She earned a BSFR in 2005, and followed that up with an MS in 2008. Now she’s married to a Double (Warnell) Dawg, too: Max Lang, who got the same degrees the same year.
Doing the math: That's 11 total University of Georgia degrees, and seven of those were earned at Warnell. To celebrate Mother’s Day, we talked to Amanda and Ann about this amazing family legacy—and what this might mean for future generations in the family.
(Left to right) Ann Hamsley, Danny Hamsley, Jenn Jarvis, Kristen Hamsley, Amanda Lang and Max Lang.
WHAT KIND OF THINGS INSPIRED YOUR LOVE OF NATURAL RESOURCES?
Amanda: I grew up on 200 acres of timberland in Houston County, Georgia, and I loved playing outside in the woods. I enjoyed going camping with my mom, dad, and sisters in the North Georgia mountains every year. My dad grew up just through the woods from our house, and he talked with me about having a connection to the land. I felt (and feel) that same connection with the land that I grew up on. My dad was a forester, and my mom worked for a lumber company before I was born, so I learned about natural resource careers from my parents. I was also active in FFA in high school, and the forestry competition (particularly tree id) was my favorite.
Ann: I grew up in an Army family and moved around. There were no particular activities I did that involved natural resources. My inspiration came from my professors in the forestry school.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE GROWING UP IN A WARNELL FAMILY?
Amanda: I loved to hear the stories from my parents about the forestry school and their friends. My favorite stories were about forestry conclave; I thought that sounded like so much fun to compete with other forestry schools in events like log burling and crosscut sawing! The characters that they described as their professors also intrigued me. So, it certainly influenced my decision. My dad was involved in the forest industry, so he also told me that Warnell was one of the strongest forestry schools for a job in the industry, which is what I wanted to do. The decision really came down to the school’s reputation, which stood for itself.
WHAT LED YOU TO WARNELL?
Ann: I went to a career fair at my high school and there was a display there from the Georgia Forestry Commission. After looking over the information I decided to make forestry my major. I went to North Georgia College my first two years, but I had contacted Mr. Reid Parker at the forestry school and we had a plan so my credits would transfer.
WHAT DO YOU TWO DO TOGETHER THAT YOU REALLY ENJOY?
Amanda: Even though Momma doesn’t always like to cook, I love cooking family holiday meals with her. I still can’t make her biscuits, though! She is teaching my daughter, Maddy Claire, how to make them, so maybe there is hope. But seriously, I do enjoy cooking with her, especially family recipes. I also enjoy going on walks with my mom and kids at her house. I love visiting and walking on the property and talking about whatever is going on in our lives, and watching the kids walk along or ride in the stroller (and trying to keep up with our dogs).
Ann: Spending time together. Now that Amanda is an adult and has a family of her own, having that time is special.
ARE THERE THINGS YOU’VE LEARNED FROM EACH OTHER, EITHER PROFESSIONALLY OR JUST THINGS IN LIFE THAT YOU’VE SHARED?
Amanda: My mom has always pushed me to be the best that I can be. I was very shy growing up, but she encouraged me to be active in FFA events and to spend the summer at an honors camp in high school that I really resisted. It turned out to be one of the highlights of my high school experience. My mom also encouraged me to pursue whatever career I wanted to, and that there were no boundaries on what I could study or do professionally. I pictured her as the one woman with a crew of men sampling PMRC plots and camping all summer and knew that a career in forestry was possible for me. I also got my organizational skills from my mom; she taught me how to set goals and work to achieve them.
Ann: Amanda has shown us just what a young woman can achieve in a field that has historically been dominated by men. When I was in forestry school at Warnell in the 1970s, there were only a few women. I have watched her become a professional in her career and seen her develop into a great Mom. She has shown us what a young woman with drive and determination can achieve in life.
YOU’RE NOT ONLY WARNELL GRADS, BUT YOUR FAMILY IS CREATING THIS UGA LEGACY. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BEING A FAMILY OF BULLDOGS?
Amanda: It is fun! My three-year-old daughter already loves to watch the Georgia Bulldogs play football, and she has so much fun calling the dawgs. I’m sure that our son will love it too, once he is old enough (just turned one). It is fun to be a part of the UGA family and see friends at homecoming and tailgate with our kids, and to watch the dawgs play with my parents and kids.
Ann: My Father was a UGA grad. Sadly, he has passed away, but his diploma still hangs in our home. He was an ardent Bulldog. I would love to see my grandchildren follow in their Mom and Dad’s, Grandfather and Grandmother’s, and Great Grandfather’s footsteps and become ardent Bulldogs, too.
ARE YOU GOING TO ENCOURAGE THE NEXT GENERATION IN THE FAMILY TO ATTEND WARNELL OR UGA?
Ann: This is such an easy question! YES!