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Finalist Named for the Georgia College & State University Presidency

Atlanta — August 12, 2021

Cathy Cox thumbnail
Cathy Cox

Board of Regents Chairman Sachin Shailendra and University System of Georgia (USG) Acting Chancellor Teresa MacCartney have announced Cathy Cox, dean of the Mercer University School of Law, as the sole finalist for president of Georgia College & State University.

“Cathy Cox knows and appreciates the impact of a 21st-century liberal arts education while deeply understanding the need to support students and commit to their success,” MacCartney said. “I’m grateful to the members of the campus-based Presidential Search and Screen Committee for the time they took to help find the institution’s next president. Cathy’s experience and record show she is the best candidate to continue Georgia College & State University’s progress toward becoming a preeminent national public liberal arts university.”

Cathy Cox became dean of Mercer University School of Law in 2017 after serving 10 years as president of Young Harris College and eight years as Georgia’s Secretary of State.

As the 21st president of Young Harris, a private liberal arts college in the north Georgia mountains, Cox led its transition from a two-year college to a four-year institution and oversaw unprecedented growth. Prior to assuming the Young Harris presidency, Cox served two terms as Georgia’s secretary of state, and was the first woman in the state’s history to be elected to the post, first in 1998 and again in 2002. In the spring of 2007, she held the Carl E. Sanders Political Leadership Chair at the University of Georgia School of Law.

“Georgia College has found an ideal candidate to build on its momentum and champion students, faculty, staff and alumni,” said Regent Samuel D. Holmes, chair of the Regents Special Committee which also helped with the search. “Cathy Cox understands its unique mission as the state’s liberal arts college, and will be an incredible leader on campus and in the community.”

A native of Bainbridge, Cox served two terms in the Georgia House of Representatives and has remained an active member of the State Bar of Georgia. In 2011, she was presented with the Traditions of Excellence Award for General Practice by the State Bar’s General Practice and Trial Section. In 2020, she was named the Outstanding Woman Lawyer by the Middle Georgia chapter of the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers.

Cox worked as a newspaper reporter for three years before entering law school, working for The Times in Gainesville and The Post-Searchlight in Bainbridge. She earned a degree in journalism, summa cum laude, from the University of Georgia and is a 2013 inductee to the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Grady Fellowship. Cox also holds an associate’s degree in agriculture from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton.

“As someone who earned her undergraduate degrees through the University System of Georgia, I know how important it is to give students a strong foundation and the skills they need to help themselves and the state succeed,” Cox said. “I am very excited for the chance to build upon Georgia College & State University’s reputation, and work with faculty and staff to create a world-class destination for the liberal arts right here in Georgia.”

Cox was a magna cum laude graduate of Mercer Law School, where she was editor-in-chief of the Mercer Law Review. She practiced law full-time for 10 years in Atlanta and Bainbridge following her graduation.

Cox is a graduate of Leadership Georgia and the recipient of Leadership Georgia’s prestigious J.W. Fanning Award for progressive leadership and service. She serves on a number of philanthropic and civic organizations and boards and is married to attorney Mark Dehler.

The Board of Regents will take action on the position at a future board meeting, no sooner than five days from naming a finalist. Current Georgia College President Steve Dorman has announced he is leaving this fall.

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