When the University launched the public phase of the campaign last fall, we called on our alumni and friends to help us expand the impact of this great University on the world. They are answering that call with extraordinary generosity and support, and I am deeply grateful.
In the first year of the public phase of the Commit to Georgia campaign, UGA donors set a new record in fundraising, contributing $227.8 million in new gifts and pledges.
This marks the fourth consecutive year that UGA donors have set a new record in fundraising and the first time in the University’s long history that the annual total has surpassed $200 million. The unprecedented total represents a 24 percent increase over last year’s record of $183.8 million and nearly doubles the amount raised in FY13.
With summer orientation underway at UGA, we are reminded of the exciting new initiatives launched recently that will be available to our newest class of students. One of these initiatives, called “The UGA Advantage” or “Double Dawgs,” was introduced in February to create structured pathways for qualified students to earn an undergraduate and graduate degree within a five-year timeframe. In the coming year, UGA will seek to increase the number of Double Dawgs pathways, providing students with an even greater number of opportunities to tailor their education to their academic and career goals.
Meeting with students and alumni in California last week, I was inspired by the broad reach of the University of Georgia. Our alumni in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas—approximately 5,000 strong—are outstanding representatives of this institution on the West Coast. They serve as leaders in their communities and industries, and they maintain deep connections to one another and to their alma mater.
The University of Georgia was proud to host the 76th Annual Peabody Awards in New York City last weekend, where UGA’s commitment to excellence was once again on display. As the home of these prestigious awards, as well as the extensive Peabody Awards Collection, UGA plays a meaningful role in promoting and preserving stories that matter to our nation and world.
In an exciting development for 2017, a television special of the awards ceremony will be telecast on both national broadcast and cable television for the first time. I invite the University of Georgia community to join others around the country in watching the 2017 Peabody Awards special on Friday, June 2 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on UGA’s broadcast partners PBS and Fusion.
As the spring semester concludes, the University looks forward to welcoming more than 5,000 new graduates into the family of UGA alumni. At Friday’s Commencement ceremonies, we will celebrate their hard work and determination and their dedication to the ideals of this great institution. All of our graduates are equipped to continue making a positive impact on the world. I am proud of what the Class of 2017 has accomplished so far, and I am confident they will go on to achieve even more as alumni.
Since the 1930s, the University of Georgia has set aside a special time each year to recognize the achievements of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Now known as Honors Week, this annual tradition provides a valuable opportunity to celebrate individuals who are helping UGA fulfill its mission through their unyielding pursuit of excellence.
Students at the University of Georgia benefit from an unparalleled academic environment that is made even more vibrant by undergraduate research. UGA is one of only a handful of institutions across the country where undergraduate students can complete up to four years of faculty-mentored research in any discipline on campus. This type of hands-on learning helps students build enduring relationships with faculty and valuable skills for the future.
At the University of Georgia, we know that the success of our institution and the success of our home state go hand in hand. With an estimated $5.25 billion impact on the state’s economy, the University is more invested than ever before in helping businesses and communities succeed in our state. UGA contributes to Georgia’s economic vitality in a number of ways, from translating faculty research into innovative products for the market to helping entrepreneurs start new businesses.
Each spring, we are reminded of the passion that UGA students have for serving others. Student-run philanthropies are one way that our students demonstrate this commitment. Volunteer service is another form of student engagement that makes a difference in the lives of others. Energized and transformed by these experiences, our students are able contribute in new ways to the vibrant learning environment at the University of Georgia, and they are better prepared to make a positive impact on their communities as alumni.
Below is a message from the University System of Georgia concerning the most recent executive order affecting international travel.
The University of Georgia shares USG's unwavering commitment to our international students and faculty. More specific information is available at Immigration Services — UGA.
The University System of Georgia greatly values the contributions of our international students, faculty and staff. International education, research and collaboration enrich our academic culture, benefitting students, faculty and staff throughout our 28 institutions across our University System. It is important that we continue to remain in close communication as new information and direction becomes available about policy changes impacting international travel and visa holders.
The University of Georgia has launched an exciting new initiative—called the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program—to grow dramatically the number of need-based scholarships awarded each year to students from low-income backgrounds. By uniting around this initiative, the Bulldog family will create a permanent legacy of support that provides for our students pathways to futures that would otherwise be unreachable. This is an opportunity we simply cannot afford to miss.
Today was an exciting day for the Bulldog Nation as we dedicated the Indoor Athletic Facility—a world-class facility that supports the training needs of our more than 600 outstanding student-athletes. Working together, we are fulfilling our commitment to provide our student-athletes with the tools and resources they need to succeed at the highest levels—from conference and national championships to Olympic competition on the international stage. I am deeply grateful to all of the individuals whose generous contributions made this exceptional facility possible.
I was honored to deliver the 2017 State of the University Address today and share a vision for the future of the University of Georgia. In the address, I outlined three priorities to advance the mission of our great University: (1) increasing scholarship support for our students, (2) further enhancing our learning environment, and (3) solving the grand challenges of our time.
Highlights from the speech can be viewed here.
Faculty at the University of Georgia are making a positive impact on the world by conducting research that creates tangible benefits, from vaccines that protect us from devastating diseases to drought-resistant crops that bolster our food supply. Working with industry partners, the University of Georgia translates many of the discoveries made by our faculty into products for the marketplace. For the last three years, in fact, UGA has been ranked among the top five universities in the nation for translating research to the market, and to date, UGA has introduced 622 products derived from faculty research, including 35 in the last fiscal year.
As 2016 concludes, I would like to thank our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends for another outstanding semester at UGA. Together, we shared many accomplishments. They illustrate the continued upward trajectory of the University of Georgia, to which the entire UGA community has contributed. Thank you for your hard work and commitment to this institution. I wish each of you a joyful and restful holiday season.
The University of Georgia has launched the largest capital campaign in the history of our great institution. Aptly named Commit to Georgia, this campaign aims to raise $1.2 billion in private support to amplify the impact of our students, faculty, and staff on the world around us. The campaign is guided by three priorities: (1) eliminating financial barriers and opening doors for our students, (2) enhancing our learning environment, and (3) solving grand challenges for our state and the world.
The University of Georgia’s four-year graduation rate climbed three points to 66 percent, an historic high and another strong signal of the University’s upward trajectory. To put this achievement into context, the average four-year graduation rate among our peer institutions is 49 percent and is 44 percent among SEC institutions. Our six-year graduation rate remained at a record level of 85 percent, well above the average of 74 percent among our peer institutions and 70 percent among SEC institutions.
Another key measure of student success is freshman retention, which measures the percentage of first-time, first-year undergraduates who continue at UGA the next year. Our retention rate matched last year’s record of 95 percent. Again, to provide context, the average retention rate is 89 percent among UGA’s peer institutions and 88 percent among SEC institutions.
Through their cutting-edge research, UGA faculty are improving human health, safeguarding and sustaining our world, and changing lives through the land-grant mission. The impact of our faculty’s important work can be seen throughout our state and around the world.
Outstanding faculty in all disciplines across campus are expanding UGA’s research enterprise to record levels. This year, the University’s research expenditures increased by 14 percent, a key indicator of growth in research productivity. Research awards from external funding sources, which provide another metric of productivity, grew by 12 percent over the past year.
By investing in the burgeoning field of informatics, the University of Georgia is expanding its capacity to help solve complex challenges facing our state and nation. The University recently hired eight outstanding informatics researchers, bringing the total number of UGA faculty engaged in this discipline to more than 160. These individuals conduct research using massive data sets in vital areas such as national security, health care, agriculture, and financial systems.
In addition, UGA is creating the Georgia Informatics Institutes for Research and Education (GII) to enhance the University’s ability to prepare our students for successful careers in informatics while expanding research and collaboration. Administered by the College of Engineering, the GII will create new synergies among faculty across campus to promote groundbreaking discoveries. A core curriculum also will be developed to serve as the foundation for undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in informatics.
The University of Georgia recently opened the Exploratory Center for Student Advising to provide enhanced advising services to students who have yet to select a major or who intend to major in business or journalism. Housed in the heart of campus, the center’s specially trained advisors help students to develop academic plans that closely align with their career aspirations and make the most of their course credits, promoting timely graduation and cost savings.
This new initiative is part of a larger effort to provide the very best academic support for our students. Other related initiatives include increasing academic advising services for incoming students, hiring 35 additional advisors to provide more personalized attention, and introducing new web-based tools to help students and advisors track progress toward degree completion.
Our commitment to student learning and success remains unyielding, and enhancing academic advising is just one way we are transforming the educational environment for students at the University of Georgia.
Guided by our land-grant mission, the University of Georgia maintains an unwavering commitment to the state we proudly call home. For the past four years, Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and I have embarked on an annual farm tour to learn about current issues facing the agriculture community and to understand the ways in which the University can further its support of the state’s leading industry.
We were pleased to be joined on this year’s farm tour by a number of outstanding agriculture supporters: state Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman John Wilkinson, state House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Chairman Terry England, state House of Representatives Agriculture Chairman Tom McCall, and UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean and Director Sam Pardue. We visited several sites in middle and south Georgia, including locations where UGA researchers have ongoing studies and where high-value cultivars developed by UGA scientists are being marketed and reproduced.
Throughout the tour, I was reminded of the strength of the University’s enduring partnership with farmers and industry leaders around the state. Agriculture in Georgia is thriving, and UGA is committed to promoting its success through continued scholarship, education, and outreach.
This month, we celebrated the opening of the Science Learning Center, a new instructional facility that will transform undergraduate science education at the University of Georgia. This state-of-the-art building includes technology-enhanced classrooms and laboratories that promote the highest levels of student learning and collaboration.
The addition of the SLC to our campus comes at the right time for the University and the right time for our state as demand for training in science, technology, engineering, and math continues to rise in Georgia and across the nation. More than one in five UGA students now graduate with a degree in the STEM disciplines. We expect that many students who take classes in the new center will go on to make discoveries and develop technologies that advance our knowledge and lead to positive, tangible outcomes for individuals and communities around the world.
A new era of undergraduate education has begun at the University of Georgia with the implementation of the experiential learning initiative. The Class of 2020, our most academically qualified and diverse in history, is the first to participate in this bold new initiative. Experiential learning helps our students apply content from their coursework to pressing issues outside of the classroom, connect with faculty and professional mentors, enhance their problem solving and critical thinking skills, and prepare for graduate school and career opportunities. UGA is now the largest public research university in the nation to require all undergraduate students to engage in this unique type of learning prior to graduation.
As this short video demonstrates, at the University of Georgia we are defined by our shared commitments—a commitment to teaching and learning at the highest levels, a commitment to groundbreaking research and discovery, and a commitment to service that changes lives and communities for the better. As a new academic year begins, we reaffirm these commitments with the guiding belief that what we do here makes a positive impact on our state and the world around us.
The University of Georgia community—yet again—has demonstrated its unyielding dedication to elevating this great institution to new heights of excellence. For the third consecutive year, UGA has set a new record in fundraising, bringing in $183.8 million in new gifts and pledges during fiscal year 2016. This year’s historic total represents a 28 percent increase over the previous year’s record of $144.2 million.
This significant accomplishment was made possible by the high levels of commitment and teamwork that characterize the UGA community. I am deeply appreciative to our alumni and friends for their unwavering generosity and loyalty. I also am grateful to our development team; the UGA Foundation Trustees; leaders of our schools, colleges, and other units; and our outstanding faculty, staff, and students.
Excellence in teaching, research, and service would not be possible at the University of Georgia without dedicated staff members. Our outstanding staff help this great institution promote student learning, advance knowledge, foster economic development, and improve the quality of life in our state and beyond.
I would like to say once again how grateful I am to our staff members, who do so much to make the University of Georgia one of the best public research universities in America.
The University of Georgia is proud to be home to the Peabody Awards and to the Peabody Awards Collection, which contains more than 90,000 works submitted for the awards program since 1941. The collection is part of our renowned Special Collections Libraries and is open to archival researchers. It is one of the many ways in which UGA carries out its land-grant mission of teaching, research, and service.
This year’s awards ceremony reminded us once again of the value of connecting individuals to important ideas and to one another through stories. The Peabody Awards remain a vital institution, encouraging the media to produce meaningful work that enriches our culture, educates our society, and strengthens our democracy.
As the academic year comes to a close, I am reminded of the deep ties that bind us as a UGA family. Together, we learn, we make new discoveries, and we serve our communities. During times of tragedy, we also come together to care for one another—just as we did recently, following the devastating automobile accident involving five of our students.
As a community, we also celebrate significant accomplishments together, such as the graduation of a new class. Tomorrow’s Commencement ceremonies represent meaningful goals achieved and new beginnings made possible by the hard work of our students and the support of faculty, staff, family, and friends.
University of Georgia alumni living throughout the nation and around the world are bound by a common thread—they love this institution. Engaged alumni support academic initiatives, provide personal and professional networks to students and fellow graduates, and create a welcoming global family.
This week the University of Georgia comes together to celebrate the successes of outstanding members of our community. Dating back to the 1930s, Honors Week features daily activities to recognize the faculty, staff, students, and alumni who contribute to this vibrant academic institution.
Yesterday we honored the many significant ways the University of Georgia is fulfilling its land-grant mission through public service and outreach efforts. We also honored members of the faculty who facilitate learning at the highest levels. Today it is my privilege to host a luncheon to salute students who have won national scholarships, received the Presidential Award of Excellence, led the Student Government Association, or achieved First Honor Graduate status by maintaining a 4.0 grade point average throughout their undergraduate career.
The University of Georgia provides students with extraordinary learning experiences. Among them is undergraduate research, facilitated by the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO). Undergraduate research helps our students form relationships with faculty, develop problem solving and critical thinking skills, and produce innovative scholarship.
The University of Georgia offers academically enriching activities that introduce community members to pioneering research, scholarship, and ideas. Renowned experts and leaders are invited to campus throughout the year to speak with students, faculty, and staff on a variety of topics. Just this week, for example, the University’s Signature Lecture series features two distinguished speakers in the areas of genetics and education.
Undergraduate education is a cornerstone of the University of Georgia’s mission, and UGA faculty hold a deep commitment to teaching and learning.
We were proud to recognize three professors recently with the Russell Award, which is given to early career faculty who have demonstrated excellence in undergraduate teaching. In addition, five faculty members were named Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professors, the University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching. Faculty also are recognized annually with Creative Teaching Awards for developing and implementing creative methods to enhance student learning.
Combining the personal attention of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a top public research university, the University of Georgia’s Honors Program provides students with a world-class undergraduate experience. At UGA, Honors students engage in exciting and challenging learning opportunities that make a significant impact on their lives and give them the tools to make a difference in the lives of others.
The University of Georgia’s Honors students energize every aspect of this institution. These outstanding undergraduates bring a spirit of collegiality and a passion for learning that inspires others to achieve higher levels of academic and personal excellence.
The University of Georgia’s research productivity continues to rise, thanks in part to faculty hiring initiatives, streamlined processes for grants management, and, most importantly, the dedicated work of our remarkable faculty. Research expenditures, a clear signal of research strength, surged upward by seven percent at UGA last year, and early signs for fiscal year 2016 indicate this trend remains positive.
We recently concluded a presidential hiring initiative to recruit extraordinary, grant-active research faculty. Five internationally recognized faculty members joined UGA in 2015 through this initiative—including Dr. Eric Harvill, Georgia Athletic Association Professor in Medical Microbiology. Dr. Harvill studies respiratory pathogens, such as the bacterium that causes whooping cough, a potentially fatal disease that affects one million Americans each year. He is leading the charge to fight this and other communicable respiratory diseases with more than $5 million in external grant support.
The University of Georgia is a statewide leader in economic development. With a $4.4 billion impact on the state of Georgia, this institution plays a critical role in supporting businesses, introducing new technology into the marketplace, and educating our workforce.
I was honored to deliver the annual State of the University Address on January 20. This year’s address focused on accomplishments and initiatives related to three important themes: preparing leaders, addressing grand challenges, and fulfilling our promise to serve. A video of highlights from the speech can be viewed here.
I am grateful to the outstanding students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends who have positioned this great institution as a leader among the very best public research universities in America.
When the University of Georgia celebrated fall Commencement in December, we were reminded of the deep connection between this institution’s outstanding alumni and the state we proudly call home. The majority of UGA’s nearly 300,000 alumni live in Georgia, supporting every major sector, from agriculture and education to business and government.
Graduates leave the University of Georgia ready to contribute to communities across the state and to work for organizations large and small. Most UGA alumni find employment prior to or shortly following their graduation. Of the students who graduated in the Class of 2015, 94% were employed, interning, or enrolled in graduate school within six months, and most remained in Georgia. It is clear that UGA graduates are putting their education to good use, and the resources invested in their education continue to benefit our state.
As the fall 2015 semester comes to a close and we prepare to graduate another class of outstanding students, I would like to take a moment to thank our faculty, staff, and students for all they do to make a difference at the University of Georgia.
Every day, faculty members teach and engage in research and scholarship to advance knowledge and enhance our quality of life. Staff members provide integral support for teaching, research, and service endeavors. Students work to become the next generation of leaders in their academic and professional fields. The combined talents and efforts of all members of this University are what allow us, together, to improve lives and to improve communities across our state and nation.
I appreciate all that our exceptional faculty, staff, and students do on behalf of UGA, and I wish everyone a joyful and restful holiday season.
At the core of the University of Georgia’s mission is the commitment to service. During the holiday season, we are reminded of this priority. For UGA students, faculty, and staff, however, service is a year-round endeavor. In fact, this institution’s values of community engagement and extension permeate much of the teaching, research, and outreach activities performed by members of the University.
As the University of Georgia prepares to accept the first members of the Class of 2020, we remain confident this institution is doing all it can to not only recruit the best and brightest students but also to retain them and facilitate their successful degree completion.
Our freshman retention rate is the highest in the University’s history. Of the first-year students who began their academic careers at UGA last year, 95.2% returned for their second year this fall. The University’s 85.3% six-year graduation rate is also at an all-time high. Both of these numbers are well above the national averages and those of our peer institutions.
The University of Georgia’s visual, performing, and literary arts create an enriching academic and cultural environment. During the fourth annual Spotlight on the Arts festival November 5-14, UGA students, faculty, and staff will join together to celebrate this unique aspect of our community with opera, theater, music, and dance performances; art gallery and library tours; a Shakespeare symposium; and book talks and sales.
The University will host an opening celebration that is free and open to the public on Wednesday, November 4 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center. This event will feature a welcome from University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby and a spectacular sample of student music, dance, and dramatic performances.
As the University of Georgia prepares to welcome thousands of alumni back to campus for the 2015 Homecoming weekend, let us remember the important role that our graduates play in the continued success of this institution.
University of Georgia alumni are making a difference in organizations and communities throughout Georgia and around the world. Our alumni include founders and owners of innovative businesses; executives in health care, finance, government, and philanthropy; scientists and medical professionals; educators and many more.
Science education is flourishing at the University of Georgia. With record numbers of students enrolled in the College of Engineering, a state-of-the-art Science Learning Center under construction, and more than 30% of incoming first-year students declaring majors in science fields, the University’s leadership in STEM areas (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is evident.
The University of Georgia Athletic Association continues to demonstrate a deep commitment to UGA’s academic mission. For many years, the Association has provided an annual contribution to the UGA Foundation to support significant institutional priorities. The contributions, ranging in recent years between $4 million and $5 million, have totaled more than $28 million since fiscal year 2007. A significant portion of these funds has been used to support student scholarships, academic initiatives, and endowed faculty positions.
On September 18, the University of Georgia celebrated the completion of Phase I of the Terry College’s new Business Learning Community by dedicating Correll Hall and breaking ground on Amos Hall and Phase II of the project. These state-of-the-art facilities are designed to elevate business education at UGA to a new level of excellence.
I was pleased to participate in the third annual farm tour this week with Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black and Dean Scott Angle of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. We were joined by Chairman of the state House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Terry England; and Chairman of the state Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, Sen. John Wilkinson.
Faculty play a vital role at the University of Georgia. Across disciplines, they conduct groundbreaking research and inspire student learning. Recruiting and retaining the very best faculty members remains a top priority of the institution, and, toward that end, UGA has introduced five major faculty hiring initiatives during the last two years.
As the 2015-2016 academic year begins, the University of Georgia community has much to celebrate. As you will see from this short video, it is certainly an exciting time at the nation’s first state-chartered university. Together, we are reaching new heights of academic excellence. Thank you for your continued support of UGA.
The University of Georgia has once again enrolled a record-setting class of first-year students. The approximately 5,300 freshmen arriving on campus next week have an average GPA of 3.91 and an average SAT of 1301—the highest scores in the University’s 230-year history.