All in the family

The Courts legacy continues at UGA

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All in the family

Richard W. Courts IV

Dinner at the dean’s house was an event that Richard W. Courts IV enjoyed while attending UGA. Former Terry College of Business Dean Al Niemi would invite Courts (BBA ’95) and a few other students to his home a couple of times a year for what Courts calls “meaningful adult conversations.”

“It meant so much to me as a student at the time,” says Courts, principal at Atlantic Realty Co., an Atlanta privately held real estate investment company his great-uncle founded in 1936. “I’ve encouraged each of the deans that I’ve had relationships with to do the same type of thing.”

Now, Courts says he is going back to school in his new role, as an advisory trustee of the University of Georgia Foundation. As the only one of his siblings to attend UGA, Courts is continuing a family legacy that began with his late great-uncle, Richard W. Courts Jr. (AB ’18), who was a Foundation member 1945-1970. Courts’ father, Richard W. Courts II (BBA ’59), chaired the Foundation from 1990-1992 (a scholarship in his name established the first two Foundation Fellowships) and his mother, Lynda Courts (AB ’63), was chair in 2003. His grandfather, Malon C. Courts (AB ’29), also is an alumnus.

A display etched in glass fills a wall in the Buckhead offices of Atlantic Realty Co., telling the story of the family’s history in real estate as well as its commitment to philanthropy.

One of the younger Courts’ earliest memories was performing magic shows at then-Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta. The elementary school-age magician would share his tricks with hospitalized children and their families, and even bring his show to the bedside for kids too sick to travel to the lobby.

“I was raised in a family that promoted and encouraged giving back,” he says.

Courts served on the Terry College of Business Alumni Board for 10 years (he also chaired Terry Third Thursday, a breakfast speaker series at the Executive Education Center in Buckhead) and the UGA Foundation’s Board of Visitors. It’s been a “natural progression” to the role as advisory trustee with the foundation.

“I’ve got my mom’s and dad’s passion for Georgia,” he says. “My mom was a great role model for me to kind of find something that I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about education.”

As Courts represents the next generation of his family’s involvement at UGA, he’s also been pleased to see an upward shift in alumni giving time and resources to mentor and network with students.

“You get the opportunity to meet and try and influence students,” he says. “You’re kind of a dot connector. Nothing makes me happier than being able to help connect a student with a prospective employer. Hey, what a great thing.”

—Lori Johnston is a writer living in Watkinsville.