Campus News

Statue dedication set for UGA’s founder

University officials will dedicate a statue of Abraham Baldwin, UGA’s founder and first president, on Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. The ceremony will take place at the statue site near the northeast corner of Old College on North Campus. The statue is a gift from the UGA Alumni Association.

The dedication ceremony will feature UGA President Michael F. Adams, Vic Sullivan, immediate past president of the Alumni ­Association, and Shreya Desai, president of the Student Alumni Council.

“The Alumni Association was very excited to be asked to take the leadership role in bringing this project to fruition. It is fitting that a statue in honor of our founder be a gift from the many alumni who have benefitted from his vision of 226 years ago,” said Deborah ­Dietzler, executive ­director of alumni relations. “It is heartening that so many ­graduates contributed to this initiative, ­further demonstrating that UGA’s alumni are always anxious to provide support to the university in a variety of ways.”

Funding for the statue came from private donations as well as a $60,000 matching grant through the UGA Alumni Association.

“The University of Georgia Alumni Association takes great pride in having played a role in honoring our alma mater’s founder,” said Sullivan. “The vision that Abraham Baldwin had to make a quality post-secondary education affordable to the citizens of our state has impacted the growth and prosperity of our region in ways few could have imagined two centuries ago. As graduates of the University of Georgia and beneficiaries of Baldwin’s efforts, we are honored to help recognize our founder’s vision and to reaffirm his belief that the opportunity for higher education for all Georgians is the pathway to our state’s bright future.”

The initial idea for the statue came from Loch Johnson, Regents Professor of International Affairs, who envisioned it adjacent to Old College because the building is a replica of the building where Baldwin studied at Yale.

“I was impressed by the Nathan Hale statue at Yale University when I was a visiting fellow there a few years ago. I thought that UGA, too, could benefit from a statue that would reflect our early history and, as the university’s first president, Abraham Baldwin struck me as an ideal subject,” said Johnson, who is also a Meigs Teaching Professor. “Baldwin, a member of the Georgia State House, the Continental Congress and the U.S. Senate, was a dedicated public servant.

“I think students, faculty and staff will be inspired by this statue as they walk through our beautiful North Campus,” Johnson also said. “We may be from different backgrounds, and we study a range of disciplines, but we are all united in our devotion to public service. Who better than Abraham Baldwin to serve as a symbol of this devotion?”