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Huckaby: “We must be Georgia’s most powerful economic asset”

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Hank Huckaby invested as USG’s 12th chancellor

Atlanta — November 9, 2011

Henry “Hank” Huckaby was formally invested today as the University System of Georgia’s 12th chancellor, pledging to dignitaries and guests to help effect a transformation to a more highly educated Georgia and thanking them for the opportunity to lead the System.

“There is much to be proud of in the University System of Georgia,” Huckaby said. But he noted, “higher education today faces the challenge of becoming more than it has been in the past.” To meet that challenge, he is focusing the System on three long-term strategies: performance, partnerships and value. “The goal is not merely to have more. It is also to be more,” he said. “The University System will be the state’s most powerful economic asset.”

Huckaby’s remarks concluded the investiture ceremony in the historic House of Representatives Chamber at the state capitol in Atlanta. Gov. Nathan Deal conducted the formal investiture ceremony of the chancellor.

Deal said, “Chancellor Huckaby has proven time and again – even early in his tenure – that he’s the right person to lead our University System through challenging times. Chancellor Huckaby has long enjoyed deep respect for his many years of excellent public service to the people of Georgia, and that admiration will expand as more see the extraordinary work he’s performing at our University System. The chancellor has experience, the ability and the vision we need to build on the progress we have made in Georgia. He will lift our University System to the next level of excellence.”

In his remarks, the chancellor noted that Georgia’s future economic success will be determined by how well the state does in both producing and being a magnet for intellectual capital. “The places that are the hotbeds of discovery and innovation and have the educated workforce …will be the economic spikes that will flourish,” he said. “If Georgia is to become one of those 21st century spikes, it is the University System of Georgia that will be the state’s most powerful economic asset,” he said.

Citing a number of studies that today’s students need to be learning more, Huckaby said that his role as chancellor is to ensure the University System is organized and focused in ways that can best prepare students. Huckaby gave some highlights of where the System will target its efforts.

In the area of performance, Huckaby pledged good stewardship of the System’s resources, both the use of physical space and the deployment of academic programs and employees. “If we are to do more in a time of austerity…we must become more strategic about deploying our resources,” he said.

Huckaby noted that to meet the current challenges, partnerships are essential. He singled out efforts to strengthen partnerships with K-12 education, the Technical College System of Georgia, and business and industry.

The third area of focus, and for Huckaby, what he terms the most critical, is that of increasing the value of higher education. “We need to improve what we do, rather than simply growing the enterprise,” he said. To that end, the focus on value means students ability to learn “critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities they will need to succeed and thrive in the world of the 21st century.”

Preparing students for the workforce and as future citizens, parents, community volunteers and leaders is the essence of the value of higher education, Huckaby said. “If we prepare them well for all of these roles, then higher education will transform our citizens and our state, and take us where we want to be.”

The 18-member governing Board of Regents selected Huckaby as chancellor in May. He has been on the job since July 1, meeting with leaders and individuals throughout the state and conducting visits of all 35 USG institutions, a process that will conclude later this month.

A Georgia native, Huckaby’s career has focused on a long record of public service to the state of Georgia in many areas of government, including the University System, where he earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees.

He has headed up at various times in his career the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and the Georgia Residential Finance Authority.

Huckaby was sworn in this past January to represent Georgia House District 113 as a Republican. His legislative experience also includes a stint as the director of the Georgia State Senate Research Office.

For the full text of Huckaby’s remarks, visit: http://www.usg.edu/chancellor/speeches/investiture_ceremony_remarks/

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