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Gov. Sonny Perdue Conducts Historic Swearing In Of New Regent

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Atlanta — November 18, 2003

Gov. Sonny Perdue made his first official visit to a monthly meeting of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents today, with a historic swearing-in ceremony of new regent Jim Jolly of Dalton, Ga.

The governor’s visit marks the first time in the Board of Regents’ 71-year history that a regent has been sworn in at the regents’ office, and not at the State Capitol.

The governor, in swearing in Jolly, said that the Board of Regents is “the premier board in this state,” and cited the quality of those serving on the board as well as the quality of the University System’s mission. He charged Jolly to “go to work and grasp this opportunity to put your imprint on the Georgia of the future.”

Jolly, 62, who will represent Georgia’s Tenth Congressional District, will complete the term of former regent Allene Magill, who resigned following her change of primary residence from that district. Jolly is chairman and chief executive officer of J&J Industries, Inc. He serves on the board of The Carpet and Rug Institute, is a member of the Covenant College Board of Trustees, and is chairman of the Covenant College Foundation. He also is a charter member of the board of directors of the Dalton Whitfield Boys and Girls Club. In addition, Jolly has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association and the executive board of the Dalton-Whitfield Chamber of Commerce. He received his bachelor degree in textiles from Georgia Institute of Technology. Jolly and his wife, Judy, have two sons and five grandchildren.

In other comments to the Board of Regents, Perdue said it was the University System that gave the state “a leg up during the 1990s and was responsible for much of the success Georgia enjoyed during this period.” Alluding to current tight state budgets, the governor said he did not want the University System’s contributions to stop. “I am committed to continuing the long-term investment in capital and in people,” Perdue said.

The governor also noted the decade-long impact of the HOPE scholarship program, which he said has helped to reverse a “brain drain” out of Georgia and created a “problem of success.” According to Perdue, when HOPE began in 1993, only one of four of the state’s brightest high school graduates elected to remain in Georgia for a college education. But today, Perdue said, three out of four students stay in Georgia. “These students are magnets that attract other bright students from elsewhere in the United States.”

Perdue said the University System continues to be a “jewel for the state,” and that it was “important not to lose the stature and momentum that has been created for the System nationally and internationally.”

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