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New Chancellor and New College Top List of University System’s 2005 Accomplishments

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Atlanta — January 11, 2006

The selection of Erroll B. Davis, Jr. as the new chancellor and the creation of Georgia Gwinnett College came at the top of a list of accomplishments during 2005 for the University System of Georgia, according to Interim Chancellor Corlis C. Cummings. Speaking to the Board of Regents today, Cummings provided the 2005 overview as part of the annual “State of the System” address.

“We have a strong system. We have a system of excellence. We have a system that is responsive,” said Cummings in her remarks. “And we have a system that is not afraid to tackle the important issues and devise solutions that serve the state well.” Cummings told the 18-member board their work and actions are having a positive impact on public higher education in Georgia.

The strong support in Fiscal Year 2006 of Gov. Sonny Perdue and the General Assembly with a record $1.8 billion appropriation to the University System has “put the System on a course that will have even greater impact in the future,” Cummings said, in a note of appreciation for this support.

The responsibility of the Board of Regents, she said, is to use state dollars wisely to enable the 35 campuses to build upon a growing national reputation for academic excellence.

She cited the presence of both Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia on US News & World Report’s annual ranking of top public universities for the sixth consecutive year as an indication of this strong national standing. Tech currently ranks 9th and UGA 19th in the current rankings, and Georgia is one of only four states with two or more public universities in the top 20.

In addition to the selection of Davis as the System’s chancellor-designate and the creation of Georgia Gwinnett College, other major accomplishments during 2005 cited by Cummings included:

  • The setting of records in terms of both student enrollment (253,552 students in fall 2005) and extramural funding ($980.6 million);
  • The launch of a new $7 million public/private partnership to add more than 300 nurses and technologists to the Georgia workforce over the next two years under the System’s Intellectual Capital Partnership Program (ICAPP);
  • The awarding of grants to ten USG institutions under the African-American Male Initiative designed to Black male participation in college;
  • The launch of a yearlong push to increase retention and graduation rates with a goal of attaining national averages in these two areas;
  • The elimination of the use of the SAT and ACT scores at two-year colleges to expand access to public higher education;
  • The celebration of the 10th anniversary of GALILEO, Georgia’s electronic library available at no cost to all Georgians; and
  • The quick response of the System’s institutions to meet the needs of students and citizens displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Cummings said that all of these accomplishments taken together would have a significant long-term impact on the state in terms of the ability of Georgians to take advantage of better jobs. She said the December Bureau of Labor Statistics report indicates that the 2006 job market confirms a growing trend for the future – the employment prospects are harsher for high school dropouts than those with a college degree.

While the System has a record number of students, Cummings cautioned that the state needs many more Georgians to pursue higher education. She said that encouraging more Georgians to attend college reflects not just the University System’s goal, “Creating A More Educated Georgia,” but also the state’s new slogan, “put your dreams in motion.”

“I don’t think that any other organization does that more effectively that public higher education,” Cummings said. “It is the essence of what we are about. We’re putting the dreams of thousands of individuals in motion through higher education.

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