In fact, they stuck close to the arches and hired UGA Provost Jere Morehead.
The regents who oversee the state’s public universities voted 18-0 to hire Morehead, a 1980 graduate of the University of Georgia Law School who also served as senior vice president for academic affairs. Other key credentials include vice chair of the Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors; vice chair of the UGA Research Foundation; a UGA Foundation trustee; and a UGA Real Estate Foundation trustee.
In other words, this Top Dawg is connected.
He becomes the 22nd president of the university and is set to start July 1.
Interestingly, the new president wasn’t just the top choice. He emerged late in the game as the only choice.
A presidential search committee named Morehead as the sole finalist for the position. In mid-December, the committee, headed by attorney and former state lawmaker Larry Walker, announced the field had been narrowed to nine candidates — five of whom were college presidents.
By going with the homegrown favorite, the regents are getting someone who needs no learning curve and can immediately contribute from day one. That’s important, as public funds for higher education get increasingly tight while the need for an educated workforce continues to grow.
For his part, Morehead said he plans to spend the next few months evaluating the university’s strengths and weaknesses and meeting with key groups, while considering possible organizational changes and beginning preparations for a “major capital campaign.” Let’s hope he plans to visit this area soon.
Not surprisingly, the new president calls his job “a dream come true for a UGA graduate who has spent more than half of his life on this campus.”
He also said that “while the University of Georgia faces economic challenges, if we focus on our academic priorities, we will reach new heights. The university is poised, thanks to the quality of the faculty, staff and students, to become one of the greatest public universities in the United States.”
University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby, who’ll be Morehead’s boss, called the vote “the right decision for UGA.” He didn’t add “woof, woof, woof,” but you couldn’t blame him if he did.