Achieving Success in a Uniquely Challenging Year

May 13, 2021
by Jere W. Morehead, President

This week, spring Commencement ceremonies will mark the conclusion of the 2020–2021 academic year at the University of Georgia. As we celebrate the triumphs of over 7,500 students in completing their degrees, I want to take a moment to thank the entire UGA community for their extraordinary dedication during a uniquely challenging year.

Not only did the University successfully fulfill its teaching, research, and service missions this year, our institution recorded a number of achievements along the way. Among them:

  • UGA ranked #15 among the top public colleges and universities in the nation in U.S. News & World Report, marking our fifth consecutive year in the top 20.
  • Three UGA faculty members were elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Our faculty received the second-largest research contract in UGA history—up to $92 million from the National Institutes of Health—to establish a Center for Influenza Disease and Emergence Research.
  • UGA students were selected for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, Gates Cambridge Scholarship, Churchill Scholarship, Schwarzman Scholarship, and other awards.
  • We implemented 16 recommendations from the Task Force on Race, Ethnicity, and Community to improve our campus culture and learning environment.
  • We adopted a five-year plan to advance diversity and inclusion across the University from the recommendations of the Planning Committee on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence.
  • UGA received a record number of applications for admission to the incoming first-year class.
  • We reached our highest-ever four-year completion rate and tied the previous high for six-year completion.
  • Construction advanced on the I-STEM Research Complex, UGA’s largest-ever capital investment in the research enterprise.
  • We ranked #1 nationally among U.S. colleges and universities for the number of products developed by industry partners based on our faculty’s research discoveries.
  • The Innovation Hub opened as part of UGA’s Innovation District initiative, and funding for UGA startups increased by 60%.

These achievements—along with many others—are a testament to the determination and resourcefulness of UGA’s faculty, staff, and students as well as the loyalty and generosity of our alumni and friends. I am deeply grateful to everyone in the UGA community for helping to make this year a success.