Dr. Thomas C. Meredith Inaugurated as USG’s 10th Chancellor
Atlanta — June 12, 2002
An historic ceremony held today at the Georgia State Capitol marked the formal investiture of Dr. Thomas C. Meredith as the 10th chancellor of the University System of Georgia.
Meredith, formerly chancellor of the University of Alabama System, took office in Georgia on Jan. 1, 2002. He is responsible for the USG’s 34 public colleges and universities, which currently enroll more than 217,000 students and employ 35,000 faculty and staff.
The Georgia House of Representatives made a rare exception in allowing the chancellor’s inauguration ceremony to be held in its meticulously restored chamber. Former Gov. Joe Frank Harris - the incoming chair of the Board of Regents - opened the program with a moment of inspiration, and Gov. Roy E. Barnes later delivered remarks. Several other elected state officials attended, as did delegates from a number of education organizations, members of the Board of Regents, the presidents of University System campuses, the staff of the University System Office, and USG faculty representatives.
“Today is an exciting day for the University System and the State of Georgia,” said Gov. Barnes. “Chancellor Meredith already has been on the job for more than five months, and in that time, I’ve been more convinced than ever before that we got the best person possible to lead our great University System.” After Meredith received greetings from the heads of other university systems, University System of Georgia presidents, faculty, staff and students, and was presented with a specially designed medallion, the new chancellor delivered his inaugural address.
Near the end of a speech in which he assured Gov. Barnes that accountability has become the University System’s watchword and that economic-development initiatives to help the state prosper will be expanded, Meredith made the following promise: “Governor, members of the General Assembly, I pledge to you that the University System of Georgia will lead the way to excellence as it has for so many years. We are your partners in creating a More Educated Georgia.” Presiding over the 90-minute ceremony was Hilton H. Howell Jr., the outgoing Board of Regents chair, who noted that the inauguration was “a truly historic occasion in the 70-year history of the Board of Regents, an event in which we are lucky to take part.”
Adding to the day’s pageantry was the reading of a poem created for the occasion by Georgia Poet Laureate and Georgia State University Professor of English David Bottoms.
Prior to Meredith’s appointment in Georgia, he had served as chancellor of the University of Alabama System since June 1997. A native of Owensboro, Ky., he served from 1988 to 1997 as president and professor of education at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. Meredith joined that institution from The University of Mississippi, where he had served as vice chancellor for executive affairs from 1987-88 and adjunct professor of higher education and executive assistant to the chancellor from 1984-1987. Before that, Meredith had served as an academic programs officer and as an associate director for programs and planning for the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning in Jackson, Miss., from 1974-1984.
Meredith holds a bachelor of arts degree in social studies from Kentucky Wesleyan College, a master of arts degree in education administration and supervision from Western Kentucky University, and a doctor of education degree in administration and supervision with an emphasis in secondary and higher education from The University of Mississippi. He also completed the Institute for Educational Management program at Harvard University and was a participant in the October Higher Education Roundtable at Oxford University.
He is the incoming president of the National Association of System Heads and is on the Southern Regional Education Board’s Board of Control.