A place to call home
Amy Taylor remembers the feeling of walking into Dawson Hall for the first time.
“I knew I was home,” she said. “It felt just like a family.”
At the time, Taylor was in her third year as an education major, unhappy with her choice and ready to quit school altogether. Her mother, a staff member in what was then the College of Home Economics, encouraged her to visit with faculty advisor Jane Rhoden before making any decisions.
“Within minutes of talking with Dr. Rhoden, I knew I was in the right place after many years of not feeling very much a part of anything,” Taylor said.
Rhoden convinced Taylor to major in consumer economics and home management, which proved a perfect match. She recalled a specific course taught by faculty member Anne Sweaney that required students to design a kitchen that would meet Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations.
Fittingly, Taylor has spent almost her entire career in the luxury kitchen appliance industry, now serving as district sales manager for BSH Home Appliances.
“I have used every bit of what I learned at UGA throughout my career,” she said. “Our classes really do prepare our students for their future.”
Not long after she graduated and took a job as a consumer information and education specialist at Atlanta Gas Light, Taylor began accepting invitations from Sweaney to speak to her students about career opportunities and to share advice. She has continued speaking to FACS furnishings and interiors students even today.
“I feel really close to all the students I’ve gotten to meet over the years,” Taylor said. “It’s always humbling and such an honor to spend time with them. I honestly feel like I get more out of it than they do.”
Taylor’s passion for the college is evident. She has served two terms on the FACS Alumni Association board and recently established the Amy Taylor Scholarship for an undergraduate majoring in furnishings and interiors, designating funds in her estate plan that will enable her to make the greatest impact on future FACS students.
She credits the college for not only launching her career, but for giving her a foundation of confidence and a spirit of resilience that has helped her thrive despite recent challenges brought on by the pandemic and even a bout with breast cancer.
“UGA and FACS was a springboard to every achievement in my life – not just my career,” Taylor said. “Life is a roller coaster – ups and downs and twists and turns – and we never really know what is around the corner. But UGA and Dawson Hall are home and a large part of my story.”
For Taylor, establishing the scholarship was a small way of expressing the deep love she has for the college, its students and for people like Sweaney, who she called one of her biggest supporters.
“I wanted to have something that would help future students achieve their dreams,” she said. “And hopefully it will inspire someone else to do the same thing. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to offer something to the college that has done so much for me.”
I wanted to have something that would help future students achieve their dreams. And hopefully it will inspire someone else to do the same thing. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to offer something to the college that has done so much for me.
BSHE, 1989 (consumer economics and home management)
District Sales Manager, BSH Home Appliances