Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia President-elect Jere Morehead has named Kathy Pharr, an administrator with nearly two decades of experience in a variety of campus roles, as his chief of staff. Pharr currently serves as assistant vice president for finance and administration and director of Health Sciences Campus administration.
“Dr. Pharr has demonstrated exceptional skill in managing complex projects and has provided leadership for several major campus initiatives,” said Morehead, who will assume the presidency on July 1. “She has built strong relationships across campus and with the University System of Georgia, government officials, alumni and other supporters. She will play a key role in my administration, and I look forward to working with her.”
Morehead noted that in addition to overseeing the transition of the 56-acre former Navy Supply Corps School site to the UGA Health Sciences Campus, Pharr has led several campus-wide initiatives related to safety, sustainability, fundraising and the elevation of the institution’s national profile.
Pharr chaired the Emergency Preparedness and Communications Committee, which developed the university’s plan for emergency response and notification in the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy. She chaired the Working Group on Sustainability, which strengthened campus collaborations and helped create the Office of Sustainability based on student input. She co-chaired the Ad-Hoc Task Force on Water Resources, whose recommendations resulted in a sustained 20 percent reduction in campus water use. She directed the planning team for the ceremonial kickoff of the public phase of the university’s Archway to Excellence capital campaign, which exceeded its goal by more than $150 million. She chaired the logistics planning team for the Carter Conference, a three-day nationally televised event featuring former President Jimmy Carter and a host of political leaders and media representatives.
Pharr also has led numerous staff development programs within Finance and Administration, including its Diversity Committee and Employee Recognition Program. She created and supervised the Finance and Administration Leadership Institute for mid- to senior-level managers, the Fellows Program for aspiring leaders and the “New to F&A Day” program for new hires.
In Pharr’s new role as chief of staff, she will provide counsel to Morehead and his staff, which will report through her to him. The directors of the university’s Equal Opportunity Office, Internal Auditing Division and Office of Legal Affairs will report through her to the president. She will provide fiscal oversight of state and UGA Foundation accounts supporting the President’s Office, will serve as liaison for special events held at the President’s House and will oversee house operations. She will serve as the liaison to various UGA Foundation boards and affiliated organizations as well as the University Council Executive Committee. She also will review and make recommendations related to appeals to the president, among many other duties.
Pharr joined UGA in August 1993 as director of communications and public relations for the School of Law. She served for three years as the president’s liaison with the university’s facilities and fundraising units and worked closely with the UGA Foundation Board of Trustees and the UGA Real Estate Foundation. Since 2004, she has served as assistant vice president for finance and administration, with oversight of the Health Sciences Campus added in 2011.
Prior to joining UGA, Pharr was a news reporter and anchor in Louisville, Ky., and Savannah. She holds three degrees from UGA: a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in journalism, a master’s degree in public administration and a doctorate in higher education management.
Pharr has earned 10 Associated Press Awards and five awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, among other recognitions. In 1996, she received the Young Alumnus Award from the Georgia chapter of the Blue Key National Honor Society. Pharr is a campaign cabinet member for the United Way of Northeast Georgia and is active in church and school organizations.
“I am honored and humbled to be chosen for this important role,” Pharr said. “I am deeply committed to the University of Georgia and look forward to working with President-elect Morehead, the administration, faculty, staff and students to advance the institution’s mission and impact on the state of Georgia and beyond.”