Dean’s Message: Excellence in Economics and beyond

Ben Ayers

It’s been a great year in the John Munro Godfrey, Sr. Department of Economics.

Last fall, through the generosity of alumnus John Munro Godfrey, Sr., and his wife, Flavel McMichael Godfrey, the Terry College of Business unveiled the department’s new name. In April, the couple received the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award for their tireless commitment to the Terry College. In the nine months since the naming, the Economics Department has seen several students and faculty members honored for their fine work. 

Senior Ashni Patel was selected for the prestigious Schwarzman Scholarship and invited to pursue a master’s degree in global affairs at Tsinghua University in China. 2023 Godfrey grads Maeve Breathnach and Zainub Ali won Fulbright Scholarships from the venerable State Department program that offers graduate-level educational exchanges in more than 160 countries.

Godfrey associate professor Laura Zimmermann received the Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the university’s highest early-career honor for outstanding instruction. She was joined by associate professor Meghan Skira and William Lastrapes, the Bernard B. and Eugenia A. Ramsey Chair of Private Enterprise, who received the college’s Teaching Excellence Award and Distinguished Research Award, respectively. It’s no surprise the department is ranked in the top 15 of public research rankings.

In late April, Terry hosted the inaugural Godfrey Conference, an event fostering intellectual exchange in the field of economics while highlighting alumni achievements. There’s much to celebrate with the positive momentum created by John and Flavel’s generous support.

Our cover story details the impact of the Godfreys’ endowment and spotlights outstanding economics students and alumni. Elsewhere in this issue, management graduate Jake Carter talks about developing one of Georgia’s top agritourism destinations. Four Terry student-athletes hope to compete on an international stage at the Summer Olympics, and our Distinguished Alumni Award winners Carol Yancey and Howard Young inspired us with their resilience and determination.

Recent rankings show our undergraduate and graduate students are receiving a top-rate education at an excellent value. Financial Times ranked our Full-Time MBA its No. 1 value for the money worldwide, and the latest U.S. News & World Report and Fortune surveys place the Full-Time and Professional MBA programs, respectively, at No. 9 among public business schools. For the first time, Terry’s Full-Time, Professional, and Executive MBA programs received simultaneous recognition as top 10 public programs. 

As we finish this academic year, we are grateful for the tremendous support we received from the state of Georgia, our alumni and friends, and look forward to the upcoming year with great anticipation of the exciting new opportunities we’re creating for our students and positive outcomes fostered by our faculty and staff.


Benjamin C. Ayers, Dean
Earl Davis Chair in Taxation