September ’22 DAR Star: Jennifer Messer

Jennifer Messer DAR Star
by Elizabeth Elmore

We work with absolutely incredible people—and we all have have varied interests and experiences, which adds to the unique makeup of the University of Georgia. We’ll be regularly spotlighting a few rock stars from around the division so that even if you don’t cross paths with them in the break room or Zoom with them on a weekly basis, you can get to know colleagues who can enhance your work life and productivity.

Without further ado, please enjoy our Q&A with Jennifer Messer …

Name: Jennifer Messer

Title: Director of Development, College of Environment + Design (CED)

  • I work with donors, alumni, faculty, and friends who wish to financially support CED. These donors work with me to create funds to help students and faculty through scholarships, fellowships, professorships, travel funds, etc. I am a staff of one, so I also handle all stewardship, donor relations, planned giving, annual giving, and our Dean’s Advisory Council.
  • What might people not know about your job? Our faculty and staff are great; they are helpful and eager to be involved in development, which is awesome. Our students also are happy to help and are the best at thanking donors for scholarships. I love my job and even though it’s challenging being the only development person at the CED, it makes for a varied and exciting work environment!

Where can we find you?

Time in DAR: 22 years

  • Why do you love working here? I believe in what we do at CED and take great pride in seeing our students succeed. I love UGA and Athens, and I am so happy to be a part of the DAR team.
  • No. 1 tip for someone joining DAR: Try to meet as many people as you can. Take people to coffee, lunch, etc. Go out and see the campus and learn what people do. I love when people come visit me!
  • What have you been most proud of working on? The Cheese Lady! I worked with a wonderful donor in Dallas to secure a $5.1 million gift for the CED, the largest in the college’s history.

Where did you grow up? Piscataway, New Jersey. A college town (Rutgers University). I moved to the South when I was 22.

Where do you like to grab lunch in Athens? Probably the National if I have more time. If I’m in a hurry, I love the poke places that have popped up downtown.

Jennifer Messer and Family

Tell us about your family. My husband Scott and I met as graduate students at the CED (we both have degrees in historic preservation). He has been with the University Architects office doing project management and historic preservation for 22 years. Our daughter Grace is 10 and attends Athens Montessori School. Our 14-year-old tripod, Daisy, is a sweet pup.

Jennifer Messer and daughter

Describe your typical Saturday evening. Chilling out on the sofa after a long day of tennis and whatever else Grace has had me doing all day!

Outside of work, what are you passionate about? Doing fun things with family and friends, tennis, cooking (eating!), and allowing myself to be lazy.

Favorite book or podcast? I read a lot, so I don’t have a favorite book. I just finished The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles, which was great. I listen to the Smartless podcast when I need to laugh, and The Daily for great summaries of current news and events.

What have you been watching lately? Re-watching Stranger Things. I missed the last season, so I am starting over.

What is a song that pumps you up? Yeah by Usher

What would be your dream vacation? Spending a month in Italy.

What is something your colleagues might be surprised to know about you? I performed with Mickey Rooney when I was 12.

Jennifer Messer and Family

We hope you learned something new about Jennifer. If you see opportunities to collaborate with the College of Environment + Design, don’t hesitate to reach out to her—even if you’re just looking for a poke bowl partner in crime!