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Morehead Named UGA President

The Board of Regents met via conference call this afternoon and unanimously voted to make Provost Jere Morehead the next UGA president when Michael Adams retires June 30. Here’s the news release:

Jere Morehead, senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost at the University of Georgia, was named today as the 22nd president of UGA by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

Morehead will assume his new post on July 1, 2013, according to Board of Regents Chair “Dink” NeSmith.

“Jere has devoted the bulk of his career to the University of Georgia and he has a great passion for the University and its service to students and the State of Georgia,” said NeSmith. “He knows the University and it became clear to all involved in the search that he is the right person to take UGA forward. He has tremendous challenges ahead and the Board will support him as he works to strengthen UGA’s programs.”

University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby said that Morehead’s appointment “is the right decision for UGA. I have known and worked with Jere for many years and am delighted he will have this great opportunity to serve the university he loves so well. Our students will be in excellent hands under his leadership. Jere will bring the vision and energy essential to UGA advancing its land grant mission.”

Regent Larry Walker, who chaired the search committee, said, “This was a comprehensive and thorough national search that identified strong candidates. But it became clear to the committee that Jere stood head and shoulders above a national field.”

“Becoming President of the University of Georgia is a dream come true for a UGA graduate who has spent more than half of his life on this campus,” said Morehead. “While the University of Georgia faces economic challenges, if we focus on our academic priorities we will reach new heights. The University is poised, thanks to the quality of the faculty, staff, and students, to become one of the greatest public universities in the United States.”

Morehead noted, “In preparation for the UGA Presidency, I plan to spend the coming months evaluating our strengths and weaknesses, visiting with other presidents and key constituents, contemplating possible organizational changes, and beginning preparation for a major capital campaign. I am appreciative to the Chancellor, the Chairman, and the Board of Regents for giving me the opportunity to serve the University and the state of Georgia.”

Morehead’s career covers a wide range of faculty and administrative posts at UGA. Prior to his current position, which he assumed in 2010, he served as UGA’s vice president for Instruction, vice provost for Academic Affairs, director of the Honors Program, and acting executive director of Legal Affairs.

Morehead also serves as vice chair of the Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors, vice chair of the UGA Research Foundation, a UGA Foundation Trustee, and a UGA Real Estate Foundation Trustee.

In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Morehead is the Meigs Professor of Legal Studies in the Terry College of Business where he has had a faculty appointment since 1986, first as an assistant professor teaching legal studies, rising through the ranks of associate professor to full professor. He also directed the UGA Law School Advocacy Program from 1986-1995.

After serving as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan in 1995, Morehead returned to the Terry College faculty in 1996.

Before joining the UGA faculty, Morehead worked for the U.S. Department of Justice as a United States Attorney from 1980-1986.

Morehead has published numerous books and scholarly articles on several legal topics ranging from export controls to jury selection, and he has served as editor-in-chief of the American Business Law Journal.

He is the recipient of several University-wide teaching awards, including the Josiah Meigs Teaching Award, the highest award the University provides for teaching excellence, the Richard B. Russell Undergraduate Teaching Award, the Teacher of the Year in the Terry College of Business, and the Tresp Teaching Award in the Honors Program.

A native of Lakeland, Fla., Morehead moved with his family to Atlanta as a teenager. He earned his undergraduate degree from Georgia State University. He is a 1980 graduate of the UGA School of Law where he earned his J.D. degree.

Morehead will assume the UGA presidency from Dr. Michael Adams, who will retire on June 30 2013, after serving as president since 1997.

Unsurprisingly, Gov. Nathan Deal is a fan:

“I believe firmly that Jere Morehead is the right leader for UGA at this time when the university is on a positive trajectory. There are times when an organization needs to bring in an outsider to shake things up, but that’s not the case at UGA. The university has made tremendous strides under President Michael Adams over these last 16 years, and I think Jere’s vision for the school will take it to the next level. His mandate from the Board of Regents and me is not to maintain the status quo; it is to push to reach new heights for the University System’s flagship. Jere knows the institution inside and out, he understands its strengths and weaknesses, and he has a plan for further bolstering UGA’s growing reputation for top-quality students, groundbreaking research and academic excellence. Talking to Jere, you know he loves this school, and talking to his students, you know he’s a committed and revered educator. I expect great things from the incoming president, and I know Georgians will join me in congratulating him and wishing him the best in this endeavor.”

Pick up a copy of Wednesday’s Flagpole for more on Morehead.