Benjamin C. Ayers, director of the J.M. Tull School of Accounting in UGA’s Terry College of Business, has been named dean of the Terry College. The appointment is effective July 1.
“Ben Ayers has done an exceptional job as director of the Tull School,” said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “He has demonstrated an extraordinary dedication to students and has shown exceptional commitment in reaching out to work with alumni and industry. He’s a valued colleague to faculty. He’s the perfect candidate to step up and lead the Terry College.”
Ayers will succeed Charles B. Knapp, UGA president emeritus, who has served as interim dean since July 1, when Robert Sumichrast stepped down as dean to accept a position at Virginia Tech. Ayers was a finalist in the original search to replace Sumichrast early last year, which ended without a candidate being named.
“Our success in placing Dr. Ayers at the helm of the Terry College is a matter of fit and timing,” Whitten said. “Professor Ayers was always the perfect fit for this position, and now the timing is perfect as well.”
“Having Ben Ayers as its dean is a great outcome for the Terry College,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Likewise, he will be a great addition to the overall leadership team for the university. I very much look forward to working with him in his new role.”
Ayers was named director of the Tull School in 2005 after serving on the faculty since 1996. He also holds the Earl Davis Chair in Taxation. Under his leadership, the School of Accounting’s undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs have consistently ranked in the top 10 programs among public universities. Tull graduates recently achieved the highest first-time CPA pass rates among all public universities.
A certified public accountant in Alabama, Ayers holds a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. He received his bachelor’s degree in accounting and master’s in taxation from the University of Alabama.
“I am thrilled at the opportunity to head the Terry College,” Ayers said. “This is an important time in higher education and especially for the field of business. I am enthused about the prospects for the college and the university.”