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.
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.