University System of Georgia

The central communications/public information operation for the USG

Wooten Named Chair of Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia

Atlanta — June 9, 2004

Columbus attorney Joel O. Wooten today was elected to a one-year term as chairman of the Board of Regent of the University System of Georgia, the 18-member governing body for the state’s 34 public colleges and universities.

He will replace Former Georgia Governor Joe Frank Harris, who served in two consecutive one-year terms as chair of the board – a rare occurrence. Harris initially was elected to serve as chair beginning on July 1, 2002, and was re-elected to serve another term that began on July 1, 2003.

Currently serving as vice chair, Wooten will assume the chair’s role on July 1, 2004, and serve through June 30, 2005.

“I am honored to be chosen to lead the Board of Regents during this period of great challenges,” said Wooten. “The University System of Georgia is faced with burgeoning enrollment growth, increased need for facilities and record budget cuts. But we must continue to provide the leadership and resources that foster high-quality academic programs for all Georgians.”

Wooten has served as the managing partner at Butler, Wooten, Fryhofer, Daughery & Crawford, LLP, a law firm with offices in Columbus and Atlanta, since 1988. Previously, he spent 13 years as a member of the Columbus law firm of Kelly, Denney, Pease & Allison.

Wooten was named to the Board of Regents in 1999. He was a founding member and on the board of directors of the Georgia Center for Law in the Public Interest. He is a past president of the Columbus Bar Association and a former chair and member of the executive committee of the General Practice and Trial Section of the State Bar of Georgia. In 2000, the State Bar honored Wooten with its Tradition of Excellence Award for outstanding service to the Bar and to the state of Georgia.

Raised in Hazlehurst, Ga., Wooten graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia in 1972, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He earned a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1975.

Wooten and his wife, Sybrina, live in Columbus. His oldest son, Joel III, graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2000, earning the institution’s highest honors. His other two children, Katherine and Frank, both are students at the University of Georgia.

The Board of Regents is a constitutional body that governs and manages the University System of Georgia. The USG’s 34 institutions presently enroll more than 247,000 students and employ approximately 35,000 faculty and staff.

To obtain a .jpeg photo of Wooten, please contact Diane Payne at (404) 657-1295 or

« News Releases