Athens, Ga. – Thomas G. Cousins, one of the icons of Atlanta real estate, will present the final spring lecture of the Terry Leadership Speaker Series on Friday, April 25, at 10 a.m. in Classroom A (room 120) of the University of Georgia’s Law School.
Cousins’ talk, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Institute for Leadership Advancement at UGA’s Terry College of Business.
Cousins is chairman emeritus and founder of Cousins Properties Inc., which he started in 1958. Today it is one of the country’s premier real estate development companies and among the largest equity real estate investment trusts, trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
He is the fourth business leader this spring to address students through the expanded Terry Leadership Speaker Series. David Hanna, chairman and CEO of CompuCredit Corp., spoke in February. Cynthia Cooper, the WorldCom whistleblower who uncovered the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history, and Allison O’Kelly, who won Terry’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award last year as the entrepreneur who founded and leads Mom Corps, a nationwide staffing company, both gave speeches in March.
“It was our goal to increase the number of opportunities that our students have to learn from well-known leaders, who represent various companies and industries, as well as different stages of the typical career in business,” said Robert Sumichrast, dean of the Terry College. “The kind of challenges that leaders face and what they’ve done with the opportunities they’ve been given to lead others are important lessons for our students to hear.”
Cousins Properties developed such Atlanta landmarks as the CNN Center, the Omni Coliseum and Wildwood Office Park in Cobb County. The company donated the land, provided the preliminary architectural drawings and guaranteed the construction cost for the first stage of the World Congress Center, Georgia’s world-class convention and meeting facility. During Cousins’ 48 years as chairman of the company, Cousins Properties developed more than 35 million square feet of commercial space and more than 50 residential neighborhoods, including the award-winning redevelopment of the East Lake community and formation of the Drew Charter School.
Cousins has chaired the University of Georgia Foundation and endowed the I.W. Cousins Professor of Business Ethics in honor of his father. He was awarded honorary degrees from UGA in 1998 and Emory University in 2005. He also chaired and is on the board of the Georgia Research Alliance. He is a director emeritus of Total System Services Inc. and previously served on the boards of NationsBank, First Union, Shaw Industries and Inland Container Corp. He also serves as chairman of his family’s charitable foundation.
The Institute for Leadership Advancement is a leadership development unit housed in the Terry College of Business. Its programs stress the importance of principled leadership based on core values and emphasize leadership as a collaborative process and not as a position. The institute’s ultimate aim is to create a new class of leaders who are well trained and ready for responsibility, committed to stewardship, pursuers of excellence, characterized by integrity and defined by purpose.