Terry commits to diversity and inclusion

A message from Dean Ayers and Terry's Alumni Board leadership

To the Terry Community,

The Terry College of Business hosted a collegewide conversation on race, justice and equity, led on June 24 by two of our faculty: Dawn Bennett-Alexander and Marie Mitchell. It was meaningful and important dialogue following the senseless shootings of Rayshard Brooks of Atlanta, Ahmaud Arbery of Brunswick, and the violent deaths of George Floyd and so many other Black lives across our country. These combined events have become the inflection point of a movement to end racism, promote justice and encourage greater diversity and inclusion in our communities. I stand united with you in these efforts.  

It is my belief as Dean that we have an obligation to ensure a fair and equitable campus environment — one that promotes dignity and respect within the Terry College community, and in all of our interactions. We are committed to fostering a welcoming, diverse and inclusive environment, to preparing our students to serve and lead effectively in diverse communities, and to helping those underserved in our local communities build a better tomorrow.

We act upon these commitments through sponsored events, year-round diversity and inclusion programs, academic courses that provide a deeper understanding of discrimination and cultural experiences, meaningful service that benefits those at risk in our community, and most importantly, in how we interact with each other daily. The significance of our commitments and actions, their potential to effect good, and the opportunities to carefully review and improve upon our efforts have never been more evident. To this end, we are reevaluating our programs, events and actions underlying our diversity, equity and inclusion commitments to ensure that we seize the opportunity in front of us.

This year has brought many difficult challenges. They weigh heavily on our hearts and minds, and they come with no easy answers. However, I remain optimistic that, by working together, we will create real and lasting change. I pledge to you that the Terry College will do its part to prepare conscientious leaders who are equipped to enter their professions and communities and to effect positive change as they lead and serve.

 

Benjamin C. Ayers 
Terry College of Business Dean and Earl Davis Chair in Taxation

 

A message from the Terry College of Business Alumni Board

 

To Fellow Terry Alumni,

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Terry College of Business Alumni Board and Young Alumni Board share in the difficult emotions of sadness and pain caused by the tragic deaths of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black lives.

Along with these deep emotions is a strong conviction to act together with clarity and resolve on a path forward that begins with self-reflection on how we must be better. We must be strong in our resolve to end racism and foster a more diverse, inclusive and understanding community. We must embrace courageous conversations with fellow alumni, family and friends so that we can listen and learn.

As alumni of the Terry College of Business, we are often leaders within our various industries and business communities and best positioned to lead by example in a meaningful way. The Terry Alumni Boards must reflect these meaningful changes, starting with the decision made in March by Dean Ayers and the boards to create a Diversity and Inclusion Committee composed of diverse members across all boards: Alumni Board, Young Alumni Board, and Emeritus members. The mission of this committee is to support Terry’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives and strengthen Terry’s connection to its diverse alumni community, allies and corporate partners.

However, the efforts of the Terry College of Business and the Alumni Boards are not enough. We need the entire Terry alumni community to get involved in this meaningful progress. Below are actions that you can take to support these efforts:

Our work as alumni is critical to the continued success of the alumni community, future alumni, as well as the culture of the Terry College of Business — and we hope you join us as we listen, learn and act together. Dr. Bennett-Alexander, a prominent Terry professor, said “When we accept each other’s reality, it brings us a new understanding.” We believe that this new understanding will provide the foundation needed to address systemic racism and create a more equitable and inclusive future.

Rachel Cornelius Perry (BBA ’93)
Alumni Board Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair

Raymond Phillips (BS ’12, MBA ’18)
Young Alumni Board Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair

Blake Bruce (BBA ’03)
Terry Alumni Board Chair