The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia: Old, White, Spendthrifts.

Criticism

I have written criticisms of The  Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, and feel compelled to continue, especially in the face of continued increases in tuition and fees, and their collusion with The Georgia Lottery Corporation and the antics of the Governor and Legislature of the State of Georgia. I might also direct well deserved criticism at the Chancellor, Errol Davis, and the President of the University of Georgia, Michael Adams.

When I review the biographies of these 20 distinguished individuals, I am immediately struck by two distinguishing characteristics, first, the absolute”whiteness and maleness” of the group, and second, the financial accomplishment, the wealth, of them all. Oh yes, there is a token white woman, Doreen Stiles Poitevint, and a token black woman, Wanda Yancey Rodwell, and let’s not ignore the two black men, one the Chancellor himself, Errol B. Davis Jr., and Larry R. Ellis.

That’s 16 white males, 1 white female and 2 black males. All but the Chancellor,  Mr. Davis, and Dr. Adams, The President of the University of Georgia, appointed through a system politely termed political patronage; none elected nor consented to by the voters of the State of Georgia.

It is a known fact that I like statistics, especially when they are derived from reliable data, such as is collected by the US Census Bureau. I refer specifically to the “raw” data collected by this venerable institution, which has existed since 1790. The use and manipulation of the “raw’ data to support desired conclusions by the political interests within the Federal Government is not at issue here; I will use the simple compilation of race, and gender information as reported in the 2010 Census data.

The Board of Regents has 18 members, 16 are white males…    88.89% of the appointed members are white males.

In the 2010 Census, the white male and female subset comprised 58.7% of Georgia’s estimated population of 9,687,653 people; white men were 49.2% of that subset or 28.89% of all of Georgia’s population.

Let’s compare these numbers:  Percent of White Males on the Board of Regents…  88.89%

Percent of White Males in Georgia…                                                                                 28.89%

It would appear that by percentage, there are roughly three times more White Males on the Board of Regents than there are in Georgia’ s Population. In other words, on a representative Board of Regents, white males would comprise no more than 5 members, not 16!

Next, let’s review the data for gender. The Board of Regents has 18 members, 2 of which are women.

In the 2010 Census, 50.8% of all respondents were female.

Lets compare these numbers: Percent of Females on the Board of Regents…. 11.11%

Percent of Female Citizens in Georgia’s Population…                                             50.8%

It would appear that by percentage, Women Citizens are under-represented by a factor roughly of 5 to 1. In other words, in a representative Board of Regents women citizens would comprise 10 members of the Board of Regents, not 2!

Next, and finally last, as nothing is as boring as statistics, lets review the data for race. The Board of Regents has 18 members, two of which are Black.

In the 2010 Census, 30.5% of all respondents were Black

Let’s compare these numbers: Percent of Blacks on the Board of Regents…    11.11%

Percent of Black Citizens in Georgia’s Population:                                                  30.5%

It would appear that by percentage, Black Citizens are under-represented by a factor roughly of 3 to 1. In other words, in a representative Board of Regents Black Citizens would comprise 5 members of the Board of Regents, not 2!

Note: It should be noted that I am not presenting data for Hispanics, as 2010 Census data does not differentiate between American Citizens of Hispanic Descent, and illegal immigrants. When such data becomes available, Americans of Hispanic Descent should be included in any representative government review. Further, please note that all percentages may not add up to 1, as some persons would be members of multiple subgroups, Black Females, Black Males, White Females, etc.

The Commentary

The following data I find most interesting. It reflects a prevailing belief among Georgia’s political leadership that financial success is the sole metric that has value when choosing or nominating members of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. In a very real sense, it accurately portrays a perverted view of “the protestant ethic,” a founding principle of America’s framers, that those who are just and work hard will be rewarded with material benefit.

None of the 20 individuals discussed above appears, and I am careful to say appears, to have a family income below the 2010 Census data median income for family’s in Georgia, of $58,842.00 Median income reflects the income amount that is squarely in the middle, with half of Georgia’s family’s earning less income, and half earning more income. Described another way, for every 100 families, 50 would earn more income and 50 would earn less income.

Importantly, this figure is not the average income of Georgia’s families, that is significantly lower. Per capita income for all Georgia’s Citizens is just over $25,000 a year, which includes those with no income, such as children, and those with limited income, such as retirees on Social Security, or the unemployed.

This article is not about class warfare, or wealth envy, but this data is important to frame the argument that the Board of Regents, Chancellor Davis, and President Adams are spendthrifts, persons so totally disconnected from any understanding of the value of a dollar to the average middle class Georgia Citizen; that they have embarked on wasteful capital programs and extravagant faculty recruitment programs that have in no way increased the excellence of instruction or the value of a Georgia University or College degree.

To quote from President Adam’s page:

“The UGA campus has been transformed since he took office, with more than $1 billion in new construction, renovation and infrastructure and 6.2 million square feet of new space completed.  The East Campus Village, served by the Harris Dining Commons, added space for more than 1,200 students to help meet demand for on-campus living, and another 500- bed residence hall opened for the fall 2010 term.  The new home of the Lamar Dodd School of Art, also on East Campus, opened in 2008, and an expansion of the Georgia Museum of Art is under construction.  A number of historic structures on North Campus have been restored and renovated.  A new Special Collections Library began construction in January 2010, and a range of student-serving facilities, including an expansion of the Tate Student Center, have opened recently.”

That’s One Billion Dollars to build facilities for students and faculty that are most often more plush, more fancy, richer that those of the student’s parents, and certainly superior to those offered employees of most Georgia Corporations.

Who paid for the opulence, this extravagance? Why, you and I, the taxpayers of Georgia; the parents who supported their college bound students; the self-sustaining students who support themselves, often by working two or more jobs; and the students receiving and relying on their well deserved HOPE Scholarship funding; as well as the Board of Regents, who received nearly $500,000,000.00, that’s a half billion dollars, from lottery funds.

When I was a freshman at the University of Georgia, I attended classes in buildings that were not air-conditioned! As an aside, that may have led to behavior that prompted Dean Tate to ask me to leave, but that is not germane to this paper. What is clear is that the Board of Regents has allowed Dr. Adams to spend our money in a wonton and wishful way, as if by ranking UGA in the top twenty research universities could erase the sigma of ranking 48th in K-12 education. Moreover, the gambit has failed. Other than providing world class research facilities for extremely well paid “imported” professors to do research for primarily out of state corporations,  our Land Grant State University is not at the center or at the end of a research “triangle” or “corridor” and our best and brightest students go elsewhere to work. We have not competed successfully for hundreds of multi-million dollar factories which have been built in adjoining states; we lead no one in manufacturing or high tech industries, and we aren’t creating enough jobs to keep up with population growth, let alone achieve the 5% employment growth needed to absorb the vast numbers of unemployed Georgia Citizens.

Those beautiful buildings seen at Georgia’s college campuses are a monument to nothing more that the “nouveau riche,” new money “boomer” middle class Regents who built their wealth on the sweat and achievements of the “Greatest American Generation,” their parents and grandparents who would be, who are appalled, at the excesses of their children.

This is my generation of which I am speaking, men of the same age and southern culture. I grew up in a Southern state paralyzed by the fear of change, a Southern state which institutionalized “civility” toward race and gender and economic achievement, but which sought to deny equality of opportunity to non-white, non-male through the perpetuation of social and economic segregation. Can any one seriously suggest that “only” two Georgia women are competent to sit on this Board? When one out of two graduates of the University of Georgia is a woman, did they skip class, drag down the GPA, fail to learn the same lessons as the male graduates?  Are the one in three Georgians whose heritage is African so inferior that only one of nine are fit to sit on the Board of Regents? Of those who sit on the Board today, do any of them speak about the disparity of funding between rural and urban school districts, or about the lack of demanding instruction in urban school districts, or about the disproportionate number of poor white and black Georgians in our state’s prison? Have any publicly voiced an opinion concerning the inept failure of the State Board of Education to raise the level of learning and achievement in our states primary and secondary schools?

Of course not! They would be risking shunning by their friends, golfing buddies, fellow bankers, attorneys, insurance brokers, their private club associates and regrettably, their church fellows.

How sad! How pathetic! How weak these Regents are, how little concern they have about two-thirds of Georgia’s Citizens! Are Dr. Adams and Mr. Davis to be commended for working so diligently to create a two-tier University System, carefully avoiding the stigma of re-segregation by race by segregating by class…high SAT scores, and income: children of the less fortunate, children of color, children attending rural school systems all do more poorly on the SAT than suburban, white, middle and upper middle class children do, and thus are far less likely to attend UGA than those suburban public and private school preppies.

Yes, Dr. Adams, and Chancellor Davis, you’ve done it, you raised yourself up on the backs of your parents effort’s and you’ve out done them! Look at the house you were raised in, and where you live now! Your desire and ambition has separated you from your boyhood friends, your family’s modest lifestyles. Your success reeks of material wealth, and as nabobs of the academic world, at least in Georgia, you and the unelected Board of Regents, have looted the taxpayers to the tune of Billions, and the HOPE Scholarship to the tune of Billions, all so that many of our Georgia Students can not afford to live in those beautiful dorms and finely built edifices without incurring tens of thousands of dollars in unforgivable debt, and/or saddling loving, concerned parents with a new type of tax, college tuition!

Those high rankings? Those honors capped students who walk through the Arch, where do they go to seek work? Not here. No one is hiring here. The best and brightest, the souls of the future south, black or white, man or woman; they are leaving Georgia for greener pastures.

The Conclusion

The Board should cut all tuition and fees 15%, instruct all colleges to cut their budgets 15%, including salaries of all academicians; encourage hiring more Georgia schooled “instructors” rather than hire high priced out of state Ph.D.’s;  build smaller buildings that are energy efficient, incorporate “green building” design and passive and active solar system installations, create a statewide Education REA and purchase an interest in a nuclear or coal fired generating plant. Speaking of planting, how about installing one gallon shrubs and grass seed in lieu of fancy landscaping, even water the lush grass less often. You could try skipping the brick facades, the wood paneling, the built in custom cabinetry. You might think of new ways to educate all our citizens, and integrate your efforts with all levels of state supported education.

Most of all, you on the Board of Regents should demand the right to stand for election, to be voted for by and accountable to your neighbors. Stop the “Pork Barrel”, “Good Ole Boy” politics, the “quid pro quo” back scratchings; you could give up your “special” privileges and admit the people know best, the citizens of Georgia; they are the power, you are just the tool of their intentions.

We need a complete reorganization of all instances of State supported education in Georgia. The august white male businessmen who populate all the State Boards would never work for, invest in or as a manager tolerate a company who organization was so fractious, whose mission was so splintered, who governance was so incompetent.

Democrat or Republican, in my opinion, we have been poorly served by your patronage and entitlement. We need new, fresh ideas. It’s time for a revolution in age, gender and race, and most importantly in ideas and solutions; and as usual, the best ideas have already been spoken, and spoken loudly by better men who have come before us:

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”  A. Lincoln

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” T. Jefferson

“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” John F Kennedy

 

What follows is a list of contact information for the members of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, The Chancellor, and The President of the University of Georgia. Please note that other than for Chancellor Davis, no modern means of communication such as email addresses are included for the Board Members.

Previous Chancellor: Erroll B. Davis

Biography of Erroll B. Davis Jr.

As chancellor of the University System of Georgia, Erroll B. Davis Jr. is responsible for the state’s 35 public colleges and universities, approximately 302,000 students, 40,200 faculty and staff, and an annual budget of approximately $6.3 billion. The University System also has administrative responsibility for the Georgia Public Library Service, which manages the state’s 58 public library systems.

Davis took office in early 2006. Previously, he had served as chairman of the board of Alliant Energy Corporation – an energy holding company with $8.3 billion in total assets and annual operating revenues of $3 billion at that time – since 2000. Davis joined Alliant in 1998 as president and chief executive officer. He retired from his dual roles as president and CEO in July 2005, and retained the chairman’s post until his move to the University System.

Prior to the creation of Alliant Energy, Davis served as president and CEO of WPL Holdings, from 1990 to 1998. From 1978 to 1990, he rose through the senior management ranks at Wisconsin Power and Light Company, starting as vice president of finance and ending as CEO and president.

Davis’ higher-education experience includes serving as a member of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents from 1987 to 1994, and as a former chairman of the board of trustees of Carnegie Mellon University, of which he is a life member. He presently serves as a member of the Southern Regional Education Board and the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago. A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Davis earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1965, and a M.B.A. in finance from the University of Chicago in 1967. He is a member of the board of directors of General Motors and Union Pacific Corp., and serves on the National Commission on Energy Policy along with numerous professional associations and civic organizations. He is a former member of the U.S. Olympic Committee Board (2004-2008).

Davis and his wife, Elaine, established the Davis Family Foundation, which makes annual grants to numerous students in need. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including recognition as one of Georgia Trend magazine’s “100 Most Influential Georgians” in 2008, the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “100 Most Influential Atlantans” in 2006 and 2007, one of the “75 Most Powerful Blacks in Corporate America” in 2005 by Black Enterprise magazine, one of the “Top 50 Blacks in Technology” at the Black Engineer of the Year 2005 Awards Conference and the Carnegie-Mellon Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 2004. Davis also was named one of the “50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America” by Fortune magazine in 2002 and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business in 1993, the same year he received a Bronze Medal in Financial World’s “CEO of the Year” competition. In addition, Davis was honored by the magazine U.S. Black Engineer as the “Black Engineer of the Year” in 1988.

Correspondence Address

Office of the Chancellor 

Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia
Suite 7025
270 Washington Street, SW

Atlanta, GA 30334

office: 404-656-2202
fax: 404-657-6979

email: chancellor@usg.edu

Current Chancellor: Hank M Huckaby

Chancellor Huckaby was not involved in USG BOD decisions as described in this article. 

Chancellor Hank M. Huckaby

The mission of the Chancellor’s Office is to serve the University System of Georgia, its Board of Regents and thirty-five institutions, the State of Georgia, and other constituencies by providing leadership in higher education and stewardship of state and University System resources.

  • The Chancellor’s Office will promote a statewide perspective on higher education that attends to the current and developing needs of the State, its citizens and students, and relates them effectively to the University System and its institutions.
  • The Chancellor’s Office will support the Board of Regents in furthering and achieving its vision for the University System by providing leadership in analyzing, monitoring, and anticipating higher education trends and developments, and by planning strategically for the future of the University System.

Contact Information

Office of the Chancellor 

Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia
Suite 7025
270 Washington Street, SW

Atlanta, GA 30334

office: 404-656-2202
fax: 404-657-6979

Henry “Hank” M. Huckaby was born in Spalding County, Georgia and grew
up in Hapeville. His career has focused on a long record of public service to
the state of Georgia in many areas of government.
Huckaby’s involvement with the University System of Georgia began when he
was a student. After earning an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts from Young
Harris College, he pursued his education at Georgia State University earning
both a bachelor’s degree in political science and an MBA in International
Business. He continued his education through additional graduate studies at the
University of Georgia. During the 1960’s and 70’s, Huckaby taught at the
college level, including DeKalb College (now Georgia Perimeter College) and Emory University. He
also has lectured at UGA and Young Harris College.
His career in higher education and his involvement with the University System continued with service in
a number of key administrative positions. Early in his career, Huckaby worked in the area of admissions
at Georgia State University (1967-71) and Gordon College (1972-73). Later, he served as director of the
Fiscal Research Program at Georgia State University (1995-97), director of the Carl Vinson Institute of
Government at UGA (1997-2000), senior vice president of Finance and Administration at UGA (2000-
06), and a special assistant to the president at UGA on a part-time basis (2006-09).
In a career that goes beyond his long association with the University System, Hank Huckaby has a long
history of public service to the citizens of Georgia. His service in the Governor’s Office of Planning and
Budget, first as a senior policy coordinator from 1973-75, and then as its director, from 1991-95 has
provided extensive experience in state finance. During that time, Huckaby was responsible for
overseeing the state budget on behalf of the governor. He also served as the interim chief financial
officer for then Gov. Sonny Perdue during Perdue’s transition period.
His commitment to public service during his career led to Huckaby being tapped on two occasions to
head other key state agencies. From 1977 to 1980, he was commissioner of the Georgia Department of
Community Affairs, and from 1980 to 1991, he was the executive director of the Georgia Residential
Finance Authority. During his tenure at both agencies, Huckaby was elected by his peers to serve as
president of their respective national organizations.
Huckaby was sworn in this past January to represent Georgia House District 113 as a Republican. His
legislative experience also includes a stint as the director of the Georgia State Senate Research Office
from 1975-77.
He has written articles related to state and national finance and budgeting and has held membership in a
number of higher education and government-related business, housing, health care and financial
associations.
As an involved resident of Oconee County, Huckaby has been active in a large number of civic
organizations in the community. He is currently a member of the Oconee County Rotary Club, the
Oconee County Chamber of Commerce and the Management Committee of the Hard Labor Creek
Reservoir and serves as a Trustee of the Ty Cobb Educational Foundation.
As a former resident of Douglasville, Huckaby also was active in the local community and was named
the 1995 Douglas County “Man of the Year.”
He also is active in the United Methodist Church and has held numerous positions at both the
conference and national level.
He maintains ties to Young Harris College, where he serves as a trustee.
Huckaby and his wife, Amy, have two grown children and six grandchildren.

Members of the Board:

Kenneth R. Bernard, Jr.

Kenneth R. Bernard, Jr., represents the 13th Congressional District on the Board of Regents, the governing body for the University System of Georgia. He was appointed to the board by Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2007 for a seven-year term as a regent. Bernard is the former chairman of the regents’ Organization and Law Committee, which oversees the legal affairs of the 35 public universities and colleges in Georgia. He was recently elected chairman of the University System of Georgia Foundation, Inc., which, among other activities, raises private funds for student scholarships and faculty recognition awards. Bernard is a partner with Sherrod & Bernard and serves as the county attorney for Douglas County. His litigation experience includes handling matters from trial through appeal before the Supreme Court of Georgia. Bernard has represented individuals in a variety of wrongful death, serious injuries, employment, and product liability cases, including, automobile, truck and motorcycle accidents. He formerly served as a Special Assistant Attorney General, Vice-Chairman of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA), and served on the Governor’s Development Council (GDC). Bernard, a former Captain in the United States Marine Corps, graduated from the University of Georgia and the University of Georgia School of Law. After completing Officer Candidate School (OCS), The Basic School (TBS), and Naval Justice School, he distinguished himself as a Marine Corps Judge Advocate General (JAG). Bernard’s military and life experience served him well as he transitioned to his current trial and general counsel practice. Bernard is a member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, the American Bar Association, Georgia Bar Association, Douglas County Bar Association and National Association of College and University Attorneys. He has served in a variety of state and local civic, charitable, and social organizations, where he has received recognition for his efforts on behalf of the community, region and state. Bernard enjoys an active life as a father, husband and youth baseball coach with two Georgia Pony Baseball State titles (Mustang 2008 and Bronco 2009) and a USSSA Georgia Travel Baseball 12U (AA) State Championship (2010).

Correspondence Address
Sherrod & Bernard
P.O. Box 1154
Douglasville, GA 30133

District: Thirteenth
Term: 01/01/07 – 01/01/14
Phone: (770) 920-8350
Fax: (770) 920-8970


Larry R. Ellis

Regent Larry Ellis is the chief executive officer of ESSE. He joined the Board of Directors of Point Blank Solutions in 2004 and served as president and chief executive officer through April 2009. He serves as a director on the boards of SRA International, the Armed Forces Benefit Association and the National Security Studies. Regent Ellis served in the United States Army for more than 35 years before retiring as a Four-Star General. He commanded units at every echelon of the Army, including the First Armored Division while deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As the U.S. Army’s Chief Operations Officer, he oversaw multi-year, multi-billion dollar budget programs supporting national strategic objectives. His military awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Bronze Star Medal. Appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue, Regent Ellis holds a bachelors degree from Morgan State University and a master’s degree from Indiana University. His honors include an Honorary Doctor of Laws, Honorary Master of Strategic Studies, the Distinguished Alumni Service Award, the NAACP National Service Award and the ROCK of the year award.

Correspondence Address
Ellis Services & Solutions Enterprises, LLC.
3835 Presidential Parkway, Suite 118
Atlanta, GA 30340

District: At-Large
Term: 08/01/09 – 01/01/16
Phone: (770) 458-3773


Rutledge A. (Rusty) Griffin Jr.

Appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue in January 2011, Rutledge A. Griffin, Jr., is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Griffin L.L.C. of Valdosta, GA., a manufacturer of crop protection & specialty chemicals founded in 1935. After the death of his father, Griffin became President and CEO (at age 26) of the family owned business. Griffin Corporation partnered in joint venture with Dupont in 1998 eventually selling its interest in the joint venture to Dupont in 2003. Griffin serves as a co-chair on the capital campaign for the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta and has served on the Georgia Ports Authority, Emeritus Trustee of the University of Georgia, and is past chairman of the South Georgia Fellowship of Christian Athletics. Born and raised in Valdosta, Griffin attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia, and received a B.S. degree from the University of Georgia with a major in Agriculture and a minor in Business in 1966. He and his wife, Barbara, have three children and eight grandchildren.

Correspondence Address
Griffin Corporation
3821 Skipper Bridge Road
Valdosta, GA 31605

District: First
Term: 01/01/11 – 01/01/18
Phone: (229) 245-1558
Fax: (229) 242-6612


Robert “Bob” F. Hatcher

Bob Hatcher is President and CEO of MidCountry Financial Corporation. He was the President and CEO of First Liberty Bank from 1988 until its merger with BB&T in 2000. Prior to First Liberty, he was with Trust Company Bank (SunTrust) for 27 years. Regent Hatcher is Co-Chairman of the Commission for a New Georgia. He serves on the boards of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and NewTown Macon. In 2007, Regent Hatcher was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team Foundation. He received the 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. Regent Hatcher is an honorary Lifetime Member of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, which named him its 2005 Citizen of the Year. Appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to as an at large member of the Board of Regents, Regent Hatcher resides in Macon.

Correspondence Address
MidCountry Financial Corp.
201 Second St., Ste. 950
Macon, GA 31201

District: At-Large
Term: 01/06/06 – 01/01/13
Phone: (478) 746-8222
Fax: (478) 746-8005


C. Thomas Hopkins, Jr., MD

Dr. Hopkins is board certified in orthopaedic surgery and orthpaedic sports medicine, engaged in private practice in Griffin. He served in the Air Force as a flight surgeon and orthopaedic surgeon. He is past president of the Griffin Rotary Club, Georgia Orthopaedic Society, medical staff of Spalding Regional Hospital and serves on the board of United Bank. He has served on the Georgia Health Strategies Council, Governor’s Physician Partnership, and is a member of the Gridiron Secret Society. Hopkins earned a bachelor’s degree from Valdosta State University, attended the University of Georgia, and completed his medical degree and residency at Emory University. He and his wife, Sara, have two children.

Correspondence Address
The Orthopaedic Sports and Injury Center of Griffin
717 South 8th St.
Griffin, GA 30224

District: Third
Term: 04/16/10 – 01/01/17
Phone: (770) 227-4600
Fax: (770) 227-9055


W. Mansfield Jennings, Jr.

W. Mansfield Jennings, Jr., a native of Hawkinsville, was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to represent the Eighth Congressional District on the Board of Regents. He is Chairman of ComSouth Corporation, a full-service telecommunications company. Regent Jennings served as ComSouth’s CEO for several decades until 2003. Regent Jennings also is Chairman of SunMark Community Bank and SunMark Bankshares, Inc., a bank holding company. In addition, he is the former Chairman of Taylor Regional Hospital, a past President and Director of the Georgia Telephone Association and a former member of the United States Telephone Association. Regent Jennings also is a long-time member of the Board of Trustees of the Middle Georgia College Foundation and is very active in his community, having served as President and Charter Director of the Hawkinsville-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, President of the Hawkinsville Rotary Club and District Governor of Rotary International. Regent Jennings earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management from Georgia Tech and a Master of Business Administration from Emory University. He resides in Hawkinsville with his wife, Genelle.

Correspondence Address
ComSouth Corporation
250 Broad St.
Hawkinsville, GA 31036

District: Eighth
Term: 01/06/06 – 01/01/13
Phone: (478) 783-4001
Fax: (478) 783-4620


James R. Jolly

Appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue in November 2003, to represent Georgia’s Ninth Congressional District, Jim Jolly is Chairman of the Board of J&J Industries, Inc., a carpet-manufacturing firm he joined in 1967 and retired from in 2007. Regent Jolly, a native of Dalton, is extensively involved in the community, serving as a charter member of the board of directors of the Dalton-Whitfield Boys and Girls Club and of Leadership Dalton. Jolly is a past Chairman of the local Governmental Study Task Force Committee, the local United Way campaign, the Dalton Junior College Foundation and the Carpet and Rug Institute. He is a former member of the executive board of the Dalton-Whitfield Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Tech Alumni Trustees, the Northwest Georgia Regional Advisory council, the Georgia Cities Foundation Board, and the Hamilton Medical Center Board. Regent Jolly currently chairs the Covenant College Foundation Board of Trustees and serves on the Dalton State College Foundation Executive Committee. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in textiles from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Regent Jolly resides in Dalton with his wife, Judy. They are active members of Grace Presbyterian Church.

Correspondence Address
347 Ivey Gate Ridge #2
Dalton, GA 30720

District: Ninth
Term: 01/01/08 – 01/01/15
Phone: (706) 226-2317
Fax: (706) 275-4433


Donald M. Leebern, Jr.

Don Leebern is Chairman of Georgia Crown, Alabama Crown, and Tennessee Crown Distributing Companies. Regent Leebern spends most of his time at the Atlanta office. Georgia Crown Distributing Company, Inc., is a wholesaler, bottler and importer of liquor, wine, beer, and water products. Regent Leebern was Chair of the Board of Directors of MCG Health Inc., the non-profit corporation that operates the Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics, now named MCG Health System. He also is a member of numerous industry and social organizations. First appointed to the Board of Regents in 1991 and re-appointed in 1998 by Governor Zell Miller and again in 2005 by Gov. Sonny Perdue, Regent Leebern serves as a member At-Large. Regent Leebern served as Board Chair from 1994 to 1995. He studied Business Administration at the University of Georgia and played varsity football in 1957, 1958, and 1959. He was honored with the Georgia Athletic Association’s 2002 “Circle of Distinction Award.”

Correspondence Address
Georgia Crown Distributing Co.
P.O. Box 308
McDonough, GA 30253-0308

District: At-Large
Term: 01/01/05 – 01/01/12
Phone: (770) 302-3000
Fax: (770) 302-3109


William “Dink” H. NeSmith, Jr.

Appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue in March 2008 to represent the Tenth Congressional District, Dink NeSmith is co-owner and president of Athens-based Community Newspapers, Inc., publisher of several dozen newspapers in Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas. A 1970 graduate of The University of Georgia (UGA), Regent NeSmith is chairman of the university’s Fanning Institute for Leadership, which promotes public service and outreach, and recently co-authored a biography of the institute’s founder, Dr. J.W. Fanning. He is past president of UGA’s National Alumni Association and a director of the Richard B. Russell Foundation. Gov. Perdue recently appointed Regent NeSmith to the 20-member Commission for a New Georgia. He also serves on the board of directors of Athens First Bank and Trust, Southern Mutual Insurance Company and Pattillo Construction Company. Regent NeSmith is past president of the Georgia Press Association and former chairman of Leadership Georgia (1986). He is an emeritus member of the UGA Athletic Association’s board of directors and the UGA Foundation’s Board of Trustees. As chairman of Athens 96 for the four years leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, Regent NeSmith led Athens’ involvement in the games’ soccer, volleyball and rhythmic gymnastics events. He and his wife, Pam, have three children and live in Athens.

Correspondence Address
Community Newspapers, Inc.
P.O. Box 792
Athens, GA 30603

District: Tenth
Term: 03/13/08 – 01/01/15
Phone: (706) 548-0010
Fax: (706) 548-0808


Doreen Stiles Poitevint

Appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue in January 2004, Doreen Poitevint is a partner in Stiles Apartments and A.B. Stiles Enterprises in Athens, Ga. She currently serves on the Board of the Decatur County Library Foundation and is a past member of the Executive Committee of the Bainbridge College Foundation and the executive boards of the Decatur County Library and the Southwest Georgia Regional Library. A former teacher in DeKalb County and Decatur County, Regent Poitevint previously served as Public Education Chairman for the American Cancer Society, President of the Bainbridge Book Club and President of the Decatur County Friends of the Library. She also is a past Director and member of the Executive Committee of the Friends of the Library USA and served as a member of the Department of Technical and Adult Education Commissioner’s External Advisory Committee for Statewide Public Libraries. Regent Poitevint earned her undergraduate degree, a master’s degree in education and an education specialist degree from the University of Georgia. Regent Poitevint resides in Bainbridge, where she is a member of First Presbyterian Church. She represents the Second Congressional District on the Board of Regents.

Correspondence Address
2001 Twin Lakes Dr.
Bainbridge, GA 39819

District: Second
Term: 01/01/11 – 01/01/18
Phone: (229) 246-8577
Fax: (229) 248-1922


Willis J. Potts, Jr. (Chair)

Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed Willis J. Potts of Rome to represent the Eleventh Congressional District on the Board of Regents. Potts retired in June 2004 as the Vice President and General Manager of Temple-Inland Corporation, based in Rome, following a 35-year career in the international pulp and paper industry. He began his career as an engineer at the Union Camp Corporation’s Savannah pulp and paper mill in 1969. He held a series of operational and management positions, including Resident Manager of Union Camp’s mill in Prattville, Ala., before being named General Manager and Senior Vice President of Union Camp in 1992. In 1999, following a 30-year career with Union Camp, Potts moved to the position he retired from at Temple-Inland. Potts served as President of the Paper Industry Management Association in 1995, and in 1999, the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI) recognized his outstanding service to the industry by naming him a Fellow. In 2002, the Pulp and Paper Safety Association presented him with the Executive Eagle Award, conferred on outstanding paper industry executives who have made major contributions to the cause of accident prevention in his/her company and beyond. In 2010, TAPPI chose Potts to receive the Herman L. Joachim Distinguished Service Award which recognizes an individual for voluntary leadership and service that has significantly and demonstrably contributed to the advancement of the organization. Potts also is active with the United Way, the Boy Scouts of America, Boys and Girls Clubs and Chamber of Commerce. He is Chairman of the mentoring program “Communities in Schools.” Potts earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology and completed the University of Virginia’s Executive Program.

Correspondence Address
2614 Horseleg Creek Rd., SW
Rome, GA 30165

District: Eleventh
Term: 03/07/06 – 01/01/13
Phone: (706) 802-1313
Fax: (706) 802-1313


Neil L. Pruitt, Jr.

Neil L. Pruitt, Jr. is Chairman and Chief Executive officer of UHS-Pruitt Corporation, an integrated health care company offering independent and assisted living, skilled nursing services, rehabilitation services, home health and hospice care as well as pharmacy services, community-based services, medical supplies and care management. Regent Pruitt also serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the American Health Care Association. He is a recognized leader in the health care profession and is a member of The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, a board member of the United Hospice Foundation and past Chairman of the Georgia Health Care Association.

Regent Pruitt graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of the South. He was awarded a Master’s of Business Administration and a Master’s of Health Administration from Georgia State University in 2000. He and his wife, Mebane, have three children.

Correspondence Address
UHS- Pruitt Corp.
1626 Jergens Court
Norcross, GA 30093

District: Fifth
Term: 04/19/11 – 01/01/17
Phone: (770) 806-6893
Fax: (770) 925-4619


Wanda Yancey Rodwell

Wanda Yancey Rodwell serves as Director of Communication for Coca-Cola, an appointment to which she was named in 2005. For five years, she was General Manager of corporate communications at Delta Air Lines, directing internal and external communications for the marketing division. Before joining Delta, she was Vice President of Public Affairs/Executive Director of the Henry W. Grady Foundation for the Grady Health System, the Southeast’s largest public hospital system. During this time, Rodwell was named one of “Georgia’s Most Powerful Women in Health Care Industry/Medicine” by Women Looking Ahead News Magazine. Rodwell began her career as a journalist, writing award-winning news reports for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, before transitioning into corporate communications at Cox Enterprises, the newspaper’s parent company. She serves as Chair of the Calvin A. Rodwell Foundation and DBR Enterprises, Inc., and is a member of numerous civic organizations, including the Economic Development Authority of DeKalb County, as well as numerous professional organizations. Rodwell was awarded the nation’s first full four-year Cox Enterprises Minority Journalism Scholarship, along with an Honors Program Scholarship from Spelman College, where she ultimately earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in journalism. Regent Rodwell resides in Stone Mountain. She represents the Fourth Congressional District on the Board of Regents.

Correspondence Address
5628 Silver Ridge Dr.
Stone Mountain, GA 30087

District: Fourth
Term: 01/1/05 – 01/01/12
Phone: (770) 879-5700
Fax: (404) 598-1068


Kessel Stelling, Jr.

Appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue in February 2008 to represent Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, Kessel D. Stelling, Jr. is the President and CEO of Synovus Financial Corp., a financial services company with $31 billion in assets based in Columbus, Georgia. Synovus Financial Corp.’s bank divisions provide commercial and retail banking, investment and mortgage services to customers in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee. Stelling, a Georgia native, is an accomplished business and community leader whose leadership abilities and dedication to service have benefited many civic organizations. He is currently a member of the board of directors of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, where he served as Chairman in 2008. He is also a member of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, where he served as the Interim President from 1994-1995 and Chairman in 1998 and 2006. He is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the University of Georgia Terry College of Business and a Trustee of Kennesaw State University. Regent Stelling earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Banking and Finance from the University of Georgia and attended the Graduate School of Banking of the South at Louisiana State University. He and his wife, Carol, have two sons.

Correspondence Address
Synovus Financial Corp.
1111 Bay Avenue
Columbus, GA 31902

District: Sixth
Term: 01/01/08 – 01/01/15
Phone: (706) 649-2924
Fax: (706) 649-5297


Benjamin “Ben” J. Tarbutton, III

Ben Tarbutton is Assistant Vice President of the Sandersville Railroad Company, where he oversees daily operations, including maintaining the infrastructure, train transportation and customer service. He serves on the boards of directors for Sandersville Technical College, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and on the Board of Trustees for Leadership Georgia. Regent Tarbutton is a past chairman of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Sandersville Rotary Club and a past member of the Georgia Rural Development Council. He is a 2004 graduate of Leadership Georgia and a graduate of Leadership Washington County. He earned a bachelor’s degree in management from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue as the Twelfth Congressional District representative to the Board of Regents, Regent Tarbutton resides in Sandersville, where he and his family are active members of the Sandersville United Methodist Church.

Correspondence Address
Sandersville Railroad
206 North Smith St.
Sandersville, GA 31082

District: Twelfth
Term: 01/06/06 – 01/01/13
Phone: (478) 552-5151 x208
Fax: (478) 552-1118


Richard L. Tucker

Richard L. Tucker was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to represent the 7th District on the Board of Regents. He is the principal and managing partner of Arlington Capital LLC, a mezzanine lending fund. He is also principal in other business ventures involving investments, real estate development, and retail. Regent Tucker served as President and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce from 1996-2003 and as its Chairman in 2005. He currently serves as Chairman of the Gwinnett Convention & Visitors Bureau, Chairman of the University System of Georgia Foundation and President of The 1818 Club. He is also a charter member of the Georgia Gwinnett College Board of Trustees. In addition, Regent Tucker serves on the Board of Directors of the Brand Banking Company, Medical College of Georgia Health, Inc., Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful and Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. Regent Tucker has been recognized four times by Georgia Trend magazine as one of Georgia’s 100 Most Influential Leaders and was selected as one of Gwinnett’s most influential leaders by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. In 2003, Tucker was honored by the Council for Quality Growth as its “Button Gwinnett Award” winner, Gwinnett’s most prestigious award. Regent Tucker is a former member of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) and the Governors Development Council. He received his undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Georgia. His principal residence is in Suwanee.

Correspondence Address
Arlington Capital LLC
One Sugarloaf Centre, 1960 Satellite Blvd, Suite 3500
Duluth, GA 30097

District: Seventh
Term: 01/28/05 – 01/01/12
Phone: (404) 463-0592
Fax: (404) 657-7913


Larry Walker

Walker is an attorney with Walker, Hulbert, Gray & Byrd. He served in the Georgia General Assembly for more than 30 years, where he served as Administration Floor Leader for Governor Joe Frank Harris and as Majority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives from 1986-2002. Walker also served as Chairman of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation for four years and was named one of “The 100 Most Powerful and Influential People in Georgia” by Georgia Trend for twelve straight years. Most recently, he served on the Georgia Department of Transportation Board, representing the Eighth Congressional District. Walker earned a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from the University of Georgia. He and his wife, Janice, have four children and eight grandchildren.

Correspondence Address
P.O. Box 1234
Perry, GA 31069

District: At-Large
Term: 08/01/09 – 01/01/16
Phone: (478) 987-1415


Philip A. Wilheit, Sr.

Appointed by Governor Nathan Deal in January 2011, Philip A. Wilheit, Sr., is the president of Wilheit Packaging and Marketing Images. Regent Wilheit serves on the Georgia Department of Economic Development Commission and the Commission for a New Georgia. He is a member of Georgia. Chamber Transportation Commission and the Georgia Chamber Advisory Committee on School Board Governance. In addition to his service on the State Board of Education from 1996-1999, Wilheit served for more than 40 years on the board of the Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce with one year as chairman and more than 20 years on the Georgia Chamber of Commerce with one year as chairman. He also served as treasurer for Congressman Nathan Deal for 28 years and served as the Statewide Chairman of the Deal for Governor campaign. Regent Wilheit received a B.A. in English from the University of the South-“Sewanee” in 1966. He and his wife Mary Hart have two adult children and three grandchildren.

Correspondence Address
Wilheit Packaging
P.O. Box 111
Gainesville, GA 30503

District: At-Large
Term: 01/18/11 – 01/01/13
Phone: (770) 532-4421
Fax: (770) 532-8956


 


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