TAKE 5   — President Jere W. Morehead on UGA’s economic development efforts

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Q: You have created a UGA economic development office in Atlanta and hired a director to oversee that office. How will this office serve the state of Georgia?

A: It is important for the University of Georgia to be more directly involved in the economic developments in Atlanta and throughout the state. This office will serve that effort by linking our faculty and staff with the work of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and others. I believe a closer relationship between our institution and the state’s efforts to grow the economy is essential if we are to have a more prosperous Georgia.

Q: How does the state benefit from having UGA more involved in economic development?

A: We have an important and historic land-grant function in this state, and any time we can offer our expertise in assisting the Department of Economic Development in encouraging new business activity we are all winners in building a more prosperous Georgia.

Q: What are the benefits to UGA?

A: Obviously a strong economy is critical to the growth and energy of the flagship institution of the state. Every new business and business expansion can have a direct and positive impact on the vitality of the state, which helps, directly and indirectly, the future of higher education in Georgia.

Q: You reinstated the New Faculty Tour this year after a five-year hiatus. What were your goals for that trip, which takes 40 faculty members on a statewide tour?

A: I want to congratulate Vice President for Public Service and Outreach Jennifer Frum and her staff for restarting this tour in such a bold and successful fashion. My own goals in asking her to reinstate the tour were reached and exceeded in every respect. It is important for UGA’s faculty to understand the impact and scope of the institution; the tour accomplished that and more. The faculty went literally from one corner of the state to the other and met with community leaders in city after city to learn how UGA contributes to the overall well-being and vitality of our state. It was a tremendous success, not only for the 40 faculty on the tour, but also for the people of those communities who had the opportunity to meet with them and understand how much we accept and embrace our role in giving back to Georgia in everything we do.

Q: How does the tour fit in with your vision for UGA’s economic development efforts?

A: That is an excellent question. As these faculty see from the outset of their tenure here how important our institution is to the state, they will better understand the important role they play in supporting the economic development of our state. It is important for faculty to look for ways to interact with and support Georgia’s communities in their economic development efforts.

UGA employees on the New Faculty Tour get a briefing at Fort Benning, a significant economic generator for the Columbus area.