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    Nation Photoblog: The Atlanta Welcome

    By: Eric SanInocencio
    Twitter: @EricSan
    SEC Digital Network

    Birmingham, Ala. -- Today, it was Atlanta's turn.

    Even though the Southeastern Conference's newest additions, Missouri and Texas A&M, don't join the league officially until July 1st, the SEC's welcoming committee has already started.

    Whether it is billboards across the Southeast or alumni gatherings in conference strongholds, the newest fan bases have gone great lengths to show their excitement for their new found SEC roots. Wednesday was another instance of that, as both universities put on a "welcome" event in Atlanta for the new members of the family. As evidenced by the photos below, fans from several league institutions joined together to give a big "howdy" and "M-I-Z" to the new kids on the block.

    Celebrating A New Era

    The theme of the night was "celebrating a new era", as this poster in the front entrance explained. Once you walked into the building, you knew exactly what was going on. The scene was set quickly.

    A New Look Logo

    All SEC fans are going to need to get used to two new color versions of the SEC logo. In one room, the SEC's famous mark was on display in both Aggie and Tiger shades.

    Intersections Galore

    One of the SEC's famous phrases is "the intersection of life and learning". In this picture, both Missouri and Texas A&M connect with the conference, putting together a three-way sign for this special night.

    Welcome To The Family

    There was no doubt that the SEC had their arms extended for their two new family members. This photo pretty much explains that perfectly.

    The Main Stage

    There were several speakers during the night, as staff members from the SEC, Texas A&M and Missouri all talked to the crowd. Their backdrop can be seen in the picture below, a visually impressive combination of both the new schools and the conference logo.

    Welcome To The Family, Part II

    You didn't think they'd leave the Aggies out did you?

    Alumni Event

    Alumni groups from both schools had rooms setup along the main corridor. In these breakout areas, representatives from the groups explained their school's mission, while also sharing success stories of their notable alumni. Yup, I heard about Brad Pitt.

    Sumlin Speaks

    As I mentioned earlier, several people took to the stage to speak to the gathering guests. Among them was Texas A&M head football coach Kevin Sumlin, who shared his excitement about being able to coach in the SEC.

    The New SEC Country

    The other major theme was declaring "SEC Country", a nod to the conference opening up to two new states. As you can see below (and in the handbags of the logo picture), the statement was prevalent on lots of signage in the facility.