Seventeen UGA faculty and staff graduated from the public service and outreach leadership academy June 2, then turned the tables on academy leaders, presenting them with a class gift, a pledge of $4,200 to help support the leadership academy in the future.
Members of the 2013-2014 Vivian H. Fisher Public Service and Outreach Leadership Academy raised the money in the five days prior to their graduation, which followed a nine-month course to help them develop a deeper understanding of the scope and reach of public service at UGA. This year is the first time a leadership class has joined together to make a gift. However, alumni of the leadership academy have given more than $11,000 since the program was renewed in 2011.
“There are a number of examples where this year’s class has taken the leadership development, networking and learning experiences of the academy and created collaborative projects across public service and outreach and UGA as a whole,” said Matt Bishop, director of the Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, which facilitated the program. “The gift to the academy represents a keystone example of that collaborative leadership. The gift will have immediate impact ensuring the academy is successful in the future.”
UGA President Jere W. Morehead was the keynote speaker for the graduation ceremony.
“The work that you do is the kind of work that keeps us front and center when it comes to the people of the state of Georgia,” Morehead said. “You do the work that tells our story across the state in so many ways.”
The service and outreach work of UGA faculty and staff is key to the future prosperity of the state, according to Jennifer Frum, vice president for public service and outreach.
“They contribute to the state’s economy by helping grow and create jobs, providing education, training officials and helping extend university resources into communities,” Frum said.
The academy began in 2006, under the direction of then-Associate Vice President for Public Service and Outreach Vivian Fisher. It was discontinued in 2008 due to state budget cuts. Fisher retired in March 2008 and died just six months later. The program was reinstated in 2011, and Frum announced at the graduation of the 2011-2012 class that it would be named for Fisher to honor the service she provided the university and state. Fisher’s husband, Dexter, attended the June 2 ceremony.
The 2013-2014 class was only the third to graduate since the program launched in 2006. Participants included representatives from the six public service and outreach units, UGA Extension and two academic units. Graduates are Susan Allen, Georgia Center for Continuing Education; Suzanne Barnett, Small Business Development Center; Stacy Bishop Jones, Carl Vinson Institute of Government; Lawton Brantley, Carl Vinson Institute of Government; Carolina Darbisi, J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development; Angel Jackson, Archway Partnership; Lydia Jones, Small Business Development Center; Bernard Meineke, Small Business Development Center; David Meyers, J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development; Gwen Moss, Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach; Diane Murray, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication; Wade Parker, UGA Extension; Laura Perry Johnson, UGA Extension; Lori Purcell Bledsoe, UGA Extension; David Tanner, Carl Vinson Institute of Government; Karen Tinsley, College of Family and Consumer Sciences; and Hong Zeng, Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
The 2013-14 Leadership Academy kicked off with a two-day session in Athens last October. Since then the group met eight times before the June graduation. They learned about each unit of public service and outreach and UGA Extension. In addition, they explored a variety of leadership development topics.