PROUST: UGA Alumnus Lex Kenerly

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PROUST: UGA Alumnus Lex Kenerly

Lex Kenerley
Lex Kenerley

Name: Lex Kenerly (J. Lex Kenerly, III)
Family: Joy (spouse, UGA ’83), John Lex (son, UGA MAcc ’15, UGA Law ’20); Adeline (daughter, UGA 2016, UGA Law ’20); Jameson (daughter, UGA 2017, Medical College of Georgia 2022); Asher (son, Georgia Tech, Class of 2019).
Hometown: : Jesup, Ga. 
Current Town: Jesup, Ga.
What Years at UGA: 1974-78
School/Degree: Franklin, BS in Biochemistry (PreMed)
Profession: Orthopaedic Surgeon
Accolades: UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors (’15-present), recipient of Bulldog 100, (’15-’17), diplomat of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery, founder and president of Bone and Joint Institute of South Georgia.

What life lessons did you learn while at UGA? 

“I thought I was going to be a football star. I played on the UGA freshman football team in 1974-75 for Coach Vince Dooley and “Doc” Ayers. Before the year was out, I had to readjust my life goals. Goodness, those guys were big and fast and good. I retired from football and became a PreMed UGA underclassman. But hey, getting to make a few snaps in that one G-Day game in Sanford Stadium was the pinnacle of my fledgling UGA football career.

What professor did you most admire (and why)?

“Dr Norman Sansing, Associate Professor in the UGA Department of Biochemistry and Associate Dean of the UGA College of Arts and Sciences. He served for many years as advisor to Premedical students like myself and played a huge role in our success in taking the MCAT and applying to medical school. I admired him for going way beyond his classroom commitments and making me know that he truly cared. He said he was honored to have played even a small part in the lives of so many distinguished physicians and dentists and was proud to call many of them friends. He was a DGD. Funny anecdote: He was called “Stormin’ Norman” by his students and hated paper cups on his lecture desk. He would knock them to the floor when he walked into the room. So, of course, they often seemed to accumulate there. Who knows how that happened?

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

“Honestly, my family. I met my lifemate, Joy (Bland Kenerly) when she was twirling for the National Championship Dawgs in 1980. We married and were blessed with four children (all born in five years). Three of the four are Dawgs and our baby, Asher, is a junior at Georgia Tech (CS major, class of 2019). Our oldest, John Lex, was a champion water skier for the University of Alabama, then did the MAcc program at UGA, worked as a CPA, and now is at UGA Law. Adeline twirled for the Dawgs and was 2014 Miss UGA and 2015 Miss Georgia (crowned in Sanford Stadium before the largest live audience in Miss America history) and was inducted into Sphynx (the greatest honor at UGA). She is now at UGA Law. Jameson was Feature Twirler for the Dawgs, 2016 UGA Homecoming Court, 2016 National Collegiate Twirling Champion, ‘Blue Key, Palladia (greatest honor a female at UGA can receive), and 2014 UGA Miss Sorority Row. She has just been accepted to the Medical College of Georgia. Asher is extremely involved at Georgia Tech at the Baptist Collegiate Ministries (Outreach Vision Team Leader) and is on the Georgia Tech water ski team.”

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

“I certainly identified with UGA sports announcer Larry Munson when Georgia played Florida on that October day in 1980. The receiver of the famous “Run, Lindsay, Run” play, #24 Lindsay Scott, is from my hometown of Jesup, Ga. The headlines of our local paper that week said, “Great Scott. Jesup loves you, Lindsay.” Of course, thatbecame UGA’s undefeated season which led to the Dawgs beating Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl and becoming 1980 national champions. If Larry Munson is not a historical figure, well … he should be.”

Who are your heroes in real life?

“Without hesitation, John and Dorothy Kenerly, my dad and mom. Neither of my parents attended college but lived their lives instilling a passion and a drive in me that education was paramount. They worked hard, loved hard, prayed hard, and lived by incredible example. They now live with Jesus but I can’t help but see their smiling faces as they watch their grandchildren pursuing professional degrees. My mom, at age 90, went to her only game in Sanford Stadium to watch her two granddaughters twirl ‘tween the hedges. She even attended Redcoat Band practice that morning and absolutely loved meeting all the UGA Majorettes and Georgettes. It was the last trip she ever took. I miss my parents every day but the greatest gift I can leave them is to instill a similar love of education in my children.”

Quote to live by:

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela. Or “You can’t teach an Old Dawg new tricks.”

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

“A beautiful, sunny fall day walking my miles on the UGA campus with my UGA kids, talking, laughing, sharing stories … new and old. Telling them what we used to do and listening intently to their stories and great times. I even went to OChem class with one of my daughters recently and rode a University bus! With two of my children now at UGA Law, I have enjoyed recent times hanging out on North Campus with them. I can’t help but wonder if one day they will walk the hallowed grounds of UGA with kids of their own. I surely do hope so.”

What is your most marked characteristic?

“I just try to live it. What I believe in, I don’t waiver from.”

What do you most value in your friends?

“I cherish longevity in relationships and staying in touch with my college and medical school friends. With three of our four kids at UGA, my wife and I have laughed at all the connections of our children with our UGA friends’ children. It’s been a fun ride!”

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

“Let me ask my wife!”

Who are your favorite writers (and why)?

“Sports Writers: I enjoy the AJC’s Chip Towers’ take on the Dawgs and Loran Smith has been a family friend of ours for many years. We enjoyed a cup of coffee with him on a recent trip to Athens.”

Fave social media and who to follow (and why)?





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Cheri Leavy is a connector, cheerleader and marketing consultant for fellow entrepreneurs. Constantly on the lookout for the newest talent in the South, Cheri has a passion for helping entrepreneurs create and share their brand storytelling through her endeavors - The Southern Coterie • guide2athens • Bulldawg Illustrated