The University of Georgia celebrated its 232nd anniversary with a week of events, including the 15th annual Founders Day Lecture.
“At the University of Georgia, we recognize Founders Day as an occasion not only to commemorate the founding of this institution, but also to celebrate the birthplace of public higher education in America, which began with the signing of the charter by Abraham Baldwin and others 232 years ago in Savannah. Those founders established a firm foundation that has now grown into one of the top 20 public higher education institutions in the United States and the flagship institution of this state,” UGA President Jere W. Morehead told attendees at the Founders Day Lecture, held Jan. 23 at the Chapel.
Charles Bullock III, the Richard B. Russell Professor of Political Science, a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor and University Professor, delivered the lecture “The Highs and Lows of the 2016 Presidential Election.”
Bullock spoke about the split between the electorates and the popular vote, mentioning two various models. The geographic wall model refers to states that traditionally vote for a specific party. The pendulum model, according to Bullock, happens when “one party is in for two terms, then the pendulum moves to the other party.” He pointed out the difficulty of one party winning the presidency for three terms in a row, saying that it has only happened once in the last 64 years when former President George H.W. Bush was elected after former President Ronald Reagan’s two terms in office.
Bullock also discussed the South’s role in the 2016 elections, saying that “the South provided the margin of victory.”
“For a political scientist, this was a good year, in that Georgia was thought to be one of the states in play—hadn’t happened in 20 years,” he said.
He noted that neither presidential candidate spent much time in Georgia, but the state set a record for voter turnout.
“We in Georgia—we turned out to vote. We set a record for turnout—1.4 million,” Bullock said. “So, the things you’ve been hearing about people not wanting to vote, not being inspired to vote, didn’t affect us here.”
The lecture is sponsored by the Office of the President, the UGA Alumni Association and the Emeriti Scholars, a group of retired faculty members known for their teaching abilities who continue to be involved in the university’s academic life through part-time teaching, research and service assignments.