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.
The University of Georgia has announced a major faculty hiring initiative that will reduce class sizes, create new course sections, and increase students’ interaction with faculty. The new faculty members hired through this initiative will allow the University to add more than 300 new course sections in 81 majors and to reduce many class sizes to fewer than 20 students. Smaller class sizes will promote more personalized instruction and mentoring.
The University of Georgia community has joined together to set a new record in fundraising for a second consecutive year. In fiscal year 2015, 59,086 contributors donated nearly $144.2 million in gifts and pledges to advance the various missions of this great institution.
On Friday of this week, the University of Georgia will hold spring commencement ceremonies and welcome more than 5,600 students into the special family of UGA alumni. As we prepare to close the book on one of the most successful years in the long history of this great institution, let us celebrate some of our major accomplishments from the 2014-2015 academic year.
Earlier this month, I was delighted to participate as a discussant in an Atlanta regional forum for the Lincoln Project. The Lincoln Project is a three-year initiative designed to identify and develop effective new strategies to address the challenges facing public research universities. The goal is to inspire new federal, corporate and philanthropic support to help advance public higher education in every state. Clearly this is important work and, on behalf of the University of Georgia, I am pleased to have a voice in the national conversation.
Last week, the University dedicated Delta Hall, our newest residential learning facility in Washington, DC. For more than 15 years, UGA has been offering superb experiential learning opportunities to students in our nation’s capital. Delta Hall will not only enhance the quality of these experiences but will also make them more accessible and more cost-effective for our students.
University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead delivered the annual State of the University address Jan. 21 at 3:30 p.m. in the UGA Chapel. This year’s address focused on four areas: building a world-class learning environment, expanding the research enterprise, promoting prosperity, and securing the University’s long-term success.
The Fall 2014 semester will come to a close next Friday, December 19, with two commencement ceremonies in Stegeman Coliseum. Ceremonies such as commencement are a very important and exciting part of academic life on the campus. We mark significant milestones in the lives of students and faculty by gathering in a common space for reflection and celebration.
The University of Georgia has offered early admission for fall 2015 to the largest and most academically qualified pool of early applicants in the institution’s history. The University is on pace to continue the trend of enrolling the best and brightest students from this state and from across the nation. It is not enough, however, to enroll outstanding students. As a leading public research university, we also must create a learning environment on campus that promotes timely graduation, and we are. I am pleased to report that the graduation rates at UGA have reached record highs.
The University of Georgia’s annual Spotlight on the Arts Festival begins November 6 and spans nine days. The Office of the Provost established this initiative in 2011 to foster an awareness and appreciation of the arts. Now in its third year, this festival is a vibrant thread in the fabric of intellectual life at UGA.
Georgia Trend’s Susan Percy talked to President Jere W. Morehead in his office in Athens about the first year of his presidency, an upcoming capital campaign, a new emphasis on economic development and how he stays connected with the students.
When I became President on July 1, 2013, I expressed my support for finding a replacement to the University’s aging coal-fired boiler, which has served our campus nearly 50 years. I am pleased that our Facilities Management Division (FMD) has now developed a proposal to replace this boiler with an electrode boiler.
Welcome back to the University of Georgia and the start of the 2014-15 academic year. The University has enrolled a class of first-year students that, once again, has set a record for quality and academic achievement. The 5,285 freshmen have entered UGA with an average high school GPA of 3.90, an average score of 1289 on the SAT and an average of 29 on the ACT.
It takes a bold, inquisitive and adventurous student to seek out international learning opportunities. Thanks to the thousands of students willing to take these journeys and to the dedicated faculty and staff who make these opportunities possible and safe for students, UGA is helping to create a globally aware workforce better prepared for tomorrow’s challenges.
Even though it might seem that activity slows during the summer at UGA, our faculty members work non-stop year-round with their research to add to the knowledge base that makes our world a better place. Recently, some of our faculty members have produced groundbreaking research that will have an impact locally and globally.
The softball, baseball, golf, tennis, track and field, and cross-country teams all competed with the true Bulldog spirit. From the softball team, Alex Hugo and Chelsea Wilkinson were named All-Americans, and from the tennis team, Nathan Pasha and the doubles team of Ben Wagland and Hernus Pieters made it into the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament and also were named All-Americans. I was honored to introduce swim team member Shannon Vreeland as the Boyd McWhorter SEC Female Athlete of the Year at the recent SEC annual meeting.
Preparatory work has begun for construction of the new Science Learning Center on Carlton Street next to D.W. Brooks Mall. Thanks to Governor Nathan Deal, the Georgia General Assembly, the University System Chancellor and the Board of Regents, we are moving forward with this facility that will transform science education on our campus.
As I watched in awe at the creativity that was honored at the 73rd Annual Peabody Awards ceremony, I thought about a world, where despite our many challenges, excellence exists in so many places. I saw that excellence recognized in broadcast media as 46 recipients of the Peabody Awards accepted the industry’s most prestigious prize, presented by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Every day on this campus, dedicated faculty and staff carry out important work that supports the mission of the University of Georgia. Much of that work goes unnoticed. One of those groups deserves our special attention and recognition. For over two years, faculty and staff in the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology and the Office of the Vice President for Instruction, along with many other key individuals across the entire campus, have worked tirelessly to implement Athena, the new comprehensive information technology system at UGA. Athena replaces technologies and methods that had been in place for 30 years. It provides a centralized source for student information, which will improve institutional planning, record-keeping, and decision-making.
Graduation ceremonies are an important part of the academic life of a university campus. We take this time to mark an important milestone, and to celebrate with our graduates.
Congratulations to former UGA golfer Bubba Watson for winning his second Masters championship on Sunday, April 13. He led a group of UGA golfers who played quite well at the annual tournament in Augusta, giving the University some remarkable national and international exposure.
But that exposure is just one of the many benefits of intercollegiate athletics at the University of Georgia.
Honors Week, which runs from Monday, April 7 through Friday, April 11, is, in my mind, the most important week of the academic year at the University of Georgia. During Honors Week we celebrate the excellence of our students, faculty, staff and alumni as it relates to our mission to teach, to conduct research and to serve the state of Georgia, the nation and the world.
I spent a few days last week in Washington, DC with a group of first-year Foundation Fellows on their annual Spring Break trip to the nation’s capital, a tradition that I began as director of the Honors Program many years ago. UGA has always had a strong student presence in Washington through the Washington Semester Program, the Honors in Washington Internship Program and other programs managed by various colleges, schools and departments. I know from my own conversations with our students that their experiences in Washington have been invaluable.
I am very proud of UGA Miracle, a student-led organization which raised more than $500,000 last weekend for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta through a Dance Marathon held in the Tate Student Center, exceeding the organizers’ goal by almost $100,000. More than 1,000 UGA students participated in the events.
I want to express appreciation to those who worked, despite the weather, to keep our operations in good shape and to keep our many important efforts from losing momentum. At the core, of course, is the academic enterprise. We know many students used the extra time to good advantage to study course materials, prepare projects and remain prepared to return to class as soon as possible. Faculty members began work immediately adjusting syllabi to assure that course materials are delivered both completely and with the quality we all expect