Proust Q&A: Andy Roddenberry

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Proust Q&A: Andy Roddenberry

Name:  Andy Roddenbery, MD

Family: Mary (wife), Mimi (8), Anderson (6), George (4)

Hometown: Columbus, Ga.

Current Town: Columbus, Ga.

What Years at UGA: 1996-2000

School/Degree: Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, B.S. Cellular Biology 2000 / MD, Medical College of Georgia 2004

Profession: General Surgeon, President of Columbus Surgical Specialists LLC

Accolades: Phi Beta Kappa, UGA, 40 Under 40, UGA (2015), University of Georgia Alumni Board (current), Chief of Surgery, Piedmont Northside Medical Center

What life lessons did you learn while at UGA?

At my first advisory meeting, I declared a pre-med track.     

I worked hard to keep my grades competitive to gain acceptance to medical school.  The early success I experienced in college gave me confidence going forward in my career.  My work ethic, which started at the University, has served me well in life. I met so many wonderful people in Athens, many of whom are dear friends today.  I think it was my time at UGA that taught me to value and cultivate relationships. It still amazes me to this day, driving across the state, knowing someone from just about every town.

What professor did you most admire?  

Loch Johnson was my Political Science professor in 1998.  He is an expert in national security and intelligence. His lecture style and fund of knowledge was captivating.  The students arrived early to class and hung on to his every word. Dr. Johnson went on to help develop the School of Public and International Affairs and win multiple teaching awards.  He was kind to write me a letter of recommendation to medical school. I feel really honored to have had him as a professor.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

This is a tough question, but I’d honestly have to choose Theodore Roosevelt.  Throughout his life, he had a love for zoology. He dealt with health issues as a child and was known as a hunter-adventurer-outdoorsman on his path to becoming President.  ManRobery of his political views were avant-garde in his day. I believe I’ve been innovative in my field while possessing a passion for nature and conservation.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My grandfather and father have always been my heroes.  My grandfather played football for UGA, and my father was on the golf team which I have always admired.  Although they had different careers in medicine and business, both have given me great advice over the years.  My father instilled in me how to treat others with respect and compassion. They both taught me, by example, how to be a true gentleman in every sense of the word.

Quote to live by: “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit” Robert Woodruff.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being in Athens on a fall afternoon surrounded by family and friends, clad in red and black.  Watching the Dawgs win a big game between the hedges. Throwing the ball with my kids. Relaxing on the beach with my family on a summer afternoon.  Sitting on the porch in the mountains sharing stories. Calling in a turkey on opening morning in late March. Going on a good dove or quail hunt. Playing a round of golf on a nice course and playing well.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement was meeting my wonderful wife, Mary.  We met in New Orleans where we were both working at the time. I was a surgical resident at the Ochsner Clinic.  A mutual friend from UGA introduced us, and the rest is history. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without her in it.  She does an incredible job keeping our family grounded and balanced. She deserves more credit than I could ever give her.

What is your most marked characteristic?  

I think my determination defines me. I may not be the most gifted or talented across the board.  Once I’ve prioritized a goal, I’m going to find a way to make it a reality despite any limitations.  I get a mental picture in my mind and continue focusing on the image until it’s a reality. I just “keep choppin”- as we say in these parts.

What do you most value in your friends?      

I love being with friends and having a good laugh.  I enjoy seeing my friends have success personally and professionally.  I value reliability and longevity in those friendships that are most dear to me.  I’ve always befriended people with attributes I admire. That makes me a better person by being around them.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?  

I’d like to find time to relax more and not be quite so serious. Over time, I think I’ve learned to dial back the intensity.  It’s important for me to be able to turn it on and off. Some days I’m better at doing that than others.

Who are your favorite writers?  

I decided a long time ago that Hemingway is my favorite writer.  I’ve read every novel he wrote, and I’ve read most of the work of his contemporaries.  I appreciate his simple, direct style that achieves a deeper meaning. Ayn Rand is another important writer to me, more for content than style.  I also enjoy reading the biographies of American leaders, present and past.

Fave social media and who to follow?

I’d have to go with Twitter.  I follow a lot of people associated with UGA athletics. Coach Smart, Aaron Murray, Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb, Bubba Watson- just to name a few.  I like to catch news updates via Twitter when I’m on the go.


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