Board of Regents’ Meeting Marks Start of Former Governor’s Second Term as Chair
Atlanta — August 5, 2003
Former Georgia Governor Joe Frank Harris today presided over the first meeting of his second term as chair of the Board of Regents, the 18-member governing body for the University System of Georgia. Harris is the first former governor to have held a seat on the board or served as its chair. Harris’ second consecutive term as the board’s chair will run through June 30, 2004.
Harris served as governor of Georgia for two terms from 1983-91. He was appointed to the Board of Regents in 1999, by Georgia Gov. Roy E. Barnes.
“I am honored to have been asked to serve as the board’s chair for another year,” Harris said. “Serving on this board and as its chair is truly as important a role as anyone can play in contributing to our state.”
Harris said he is proud of the progress the board made during his first year as chair in meeting the 11 goals in its Strategic Plan, forging strong partnerships with other agencies and focusing on the future needs of the state, as well as the University System. As examples, he cited progress made in such areas as enhancing access to the University System, the growth of research funding and increasing operating efficiencies on the campuses.
Harris’ gubenatorial administration is known for having made improvements in education through the Quality Basic Education Act (QBE) and for enhancing the state’s economic development activities through the creation of 850,000 new jobs. Before his gubernatorial election, Harris served 18 years as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, the last eight as chairman of the Appropriations Committee. His fiscal management brought higher bond ratings for the state and, during his term as Governor, Georgia was rated among the country’s top 15 best-managed states by Financial World magazine.
Barred by law from seeking a third term as Governor, Harris returned to life as a private citizen in 1991. He is chairman of the Harris Georgia Corporation and a member of the boards of directors of AFLAC, Inc., and Bankhead Railway Services, Inc.
He is the first Distinguished Executive Fellow at Georgia State University, where he is a public-affairs professor in the Department of Public Administration and Urban Studies.
Harris earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia, where he was named an “Outstanding Business Alumnus” and served as co-chairman of the Third Century Campaign, which raised more than $150 million dollars for UGA. He and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Cartersville. The couple’s son, Joe Frank Harris Jr., is a Cartersville attorney.
The Board of Regents is a constitutional body that governs and manages the University System of Georgia, comprised of 34 public colleges and universities. Currently, more than 233,000 students are enrolled in System institutions and there are approximately 35,000 faculty and staff.