If you look closely, you can find a subtle expression in Chris Taylor’s work that provides a direct glimpse into his personality.
About three years ago, Taylor, art director for Terry's Office of Marketing and Communications, created a signature “swoop” design that graces every piece of promotional material the college creates, from magazines to bumper stickers. A narrow, arcing line, the swoop serves as a unifying symbol for the Terry College, giving its materials a consistent theme. But it’s also a nod to the connectedness to UGA as a whole.
“Its curve was actually taken from a giant, enlarged picture of the Arch. The angle comes directly from that,” Taylor said. “That was my subliminal tie-in to show that we’re all a part of the University of Georgia. It implies an umbrella.”
That same sort of connectedness is evident in nearly every area of Taylor’s life. His sense of community is vast.
“One thing I really enjoy about working here is that we’re all here for the same purpose: To promote the university, to get these kids in, graduated and into good jobs,” he said. “I’ve been very fortunate to work here with some great people.”
It doesn’t stop there, however. The 41-year-old Taylor serves as a deacon at Milledge Avenue Baptist Church, volunteers regularly for Athens-Clarke County Public Schools and has become an indispensable part of the Food 2 Kids Project, which provides free meals to needy elementary and junior high students in the area.
“About 80 percent of kids in Athens-Clarke County are on free and reduced lunch programs, and the majority don’t eat on the weekends,” said Taylor, who hauls in donations to the organization once a month. “We send them home with food for the weekends, something they can make themselves in a microwave. It’s a way to make sure they have food on the weekends instead of going hungry.”
For the school district, Taylor has spearheaded funding drives for things like multiplication flashcards, and he volunteers once a week to lead a music-themed enrichment cluster for students in kindergarten through second grade. In addition, he plays drums with the Classic City Dance Band, a big-band style jazz ensemble with about 20 members, and formerly was a drummer with the Athens Symphony.
He sees sharing his gifts as a way to give back to the community and also strengthen its future.
The same drive runs in his family. His wife, Jenny, who he describes as having “the perfect heart to help people and the perfect mind for business,” is senior director for workforce development at Goodwill of North Georgia. They have a daughter, 9-year-old Emma Rose, who is in third grade at Oglethorpe Elementary.
From his office in Brooks Hall, Taylor oversees the aesthetics of every element of Terry College materials from it website and T-shirts to informational pamphlets. He works in front of two large Macintosh monitors that sit about 5 feet off the ground. But his unusual desk setup isn’t the reason that colleagues call him a stand-up guy.
“He’s been a real blessing to me,” said Marisa Castengera, a marketing assistant at the Terry College who works closely with Taylor. “He’s here all day every day, then somehow in addition to having a daughter with whom he’s incredibly close, he is really active in his church, then he finds time to also volunteer for so many charitable organizations within the community. I guess it’s a part of who he is. He is somebody who just has to be involved with things when he sees a need. He’s not the guy who says, ‘Somebody else will take care of it.’”