Dean’s Message: Following our leaders

Ben Ayers

Thousands of successful women stand on the shoulders of Terry’s first female graduate, Anne Ruth Moore Crawford, who made history by earning a UGA business degree 100 years ago. Thanks to Anne Ruth leading the way, business and civic leaders such as Terry Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Bonney Shuman have charted their path here during our first century as Georgia’s preeminent business school. Countless more graduates will follow those leaders while making their mark over the next hundred years, paving the way for future generations.

As Cecil Cooke reflected on receiving the Terry Distinguished Alumni Award this spring, he spoke about leading with a servant’s heart in support of the people and places near and dear to him throughout his life. An Emeritus Alumni Board member, Cecil counts Terry among those special places, and since retiring from Aon he has served the college as an adjunct instructor in the Risk Management and Insurance Program. “We stood on the shoulders of the people who were here before us, and they raised us up. That is one of the things that I try to relay to our students,” he offered. “They’re going to leave here and, hopefully, they’re going to be very successful. They need to come back and provide their shoulders for the next generation that is coming through.”

In this spirit, the Terry College has expanded experiential learning and leadership opportunities for current students and alumni. A $10 million endowment from Chick-fil-A provided the means to double the size of this year’s Leadership Fellows class and hire additional faculty in the Institute for Leadership Advancement (ILA). Their gift also enabled the launch of an alumni initiative called Leadership Dawgs. The group assembled in Atlanta for leadership training with ILA faculty to kick off a yearlong community impact project with nonprofit partners.

Looking to the fall and opportunities to prepare our students for a business world driven by innovation, we are excited to welcome new scholars and instructors to Terry. Gerald Kane, an expert on digital transformation and decision making from Boston College, joins the MIS department as part of UGA’s two-year faculty hiring initiative in data science and AI. We’ve also committed to a new academic option for undergraduates. Beginning next year, an area of emphasis in business analytics will be offered as a credential that students in every business major at Georgia can add to their résumés.

With purposeful focus on fostering an innovative and collaborative educational experience that encourages students to reach their full potential and positively impact their professions and communities, we are excited to help strengthen the shoulders on which the next generations of Terry students will stand.


Benjamin C. Ayers, Dean

Earl Davis Chair in Taxation