Campus News

UGA chapter of Blue Key Honor Society will honor three with its service award

Athens, Ga – The University of Georgia chapter of the Blue Key National Honor Society will recognize three Georgians for their civic contributions at its annual awards banquet Oct. 2.

State Rep. Jerry L. Keen, government administrator Jerry R. Griffin, and former UGA law school dean C. Ronald Ellington will receive the Blue Key Service Award for their contributions to the nation, state, UGA, and their community. In addition, business analyst Amy Mulkey McGowan will receive the Young Alumnus Award.

The banquet, which is open to the public, will be held at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel. The pre-banquet reception begins at 6:30 p.m., and the dinner starts at 7 p.m. Reservations, which are $30 per person, can be made by contacting Janet Lance at (706) 542-0017 or

Keen, who is serving his fifth term in the Georgia House of Representatives, will speak at the banquet. In addition, winners of the AT&T Student Leadership Award, the Richard B. Russell Student Leadership Award, and the Tucker Dorsey Memorial Scholarship will be announced.

Keen, who represents House District 179 in Glynn County, is being honored for his civic contributions to the state and for his continuing support of higher education and UGA. During his time in the General Assembly, he has authored legislation to eliminate state income tax on capital gains and provide state income tax credits for private donations of green space property to qualified land trusts.

In 2006, Keen authored a bill that authorized lifetime electronic monitoring of convicted sex offenders. The law, which has become a model for other states, also established minimum mandatory prison sentences for those convicted of sex crimes. Keen also played a key role in passing legislation for tort reform, the Voter ID bill and the Woman’s Right to Know bill.

Elected by the Republican Caucus to be the house majority leader for the third consecutive term, Keen currently serves on the Rules, Appropriations, Ethics and Insurance committees.

A UGA alumnus, Griffin earned a bachelor’s degree in risk management and insurance in 1967 and a master’s degree in public administration in 1970. He is being honored for his civic contributions to the state and for his continuing support of higher education and UGA.

He has served as executive director of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia since 1986. During that time, Griffin has managed a staff that has moved ACCG from an organization focused only on representing county interests before the General Assembly to an organization capable of providing leadership to critical issues facing the state and its counties.

Griffin is board chairman of GEBCorp, a company ACCG created under his leadership to administer retirement and deferred compensation programs for local government employees. He is also active in various professional organizations and serves on several advisory boards and councils. He is a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Administrator’s Local Government Advisory Committee, the Dean’s Advisory Council in UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and the Georgia State University MPA Advisory Committee.

Ellington is being honored for his career in the field of law and for his continuing support for academic programs at UGA.

He received his undergraduate degree from Emory University and his law degree from the University of Virginia. He received his master of laws degree from Harvard, after being awarded a fellowship in law and the humanities for graduate studies there. He then practiced with the law firm Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan in Atlanta for three years before joining the UGA law faculty in 1969.

Ellington served as dean of the law school from 1987 to 1993. In 2006, he was one of three professors campus-wide to be named a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, UGA’s highest honor for teaching excellence. Ellington retired at the end of the 2008-2009 academic year but continues to teach.

A respected educator and scholar, Ellington has been presented on multiple occasions with the Faculty Book Award for Excellence in Teaching by students at the law school and has received the Professional Responsibility Award. In 1994, he served as a Senior Teaching Fellow at UGA and, in 2000, he was inducted into the university’s Teaching Academy.

McGowan is being honored for her professional and civic contributions and her continuing support of UGA. A First Honor and summa cum laude graduate, she received her bachelor’s degree from UGA’s Terry College of Business in 2001. She joined the Atlanta office of McKinsey & Company, a worldwide business-consulting firm that serves Fortune 100 companies, as a business analyst.

A beauty pageant competitor, McGowan won Miss UGA and Miss Atlanta titles before being crowned Miss Georgia in 2002. She spent that year representing the Miss America organization throughout the state in support of mentoring and the Georgia Mentoring Partnership, which she helped form. She later worked in private equity as an associate at CHB Capital Partners in Atlanta. In May 2008, McGowan earned her M.B.A. from Harvard’s Graduate School of Business and rejoined McKinsey & Company.

The Tucker Dorsey Memorial Scholarship is named for a former Blue Key student who died in an auto accident in 1965. The scholarship recognizes students for outstanding service and leadership.

The AT&T Student Leadership Award recognizes a male and female student for outstanding leadership qualities and achievements.

The Richard B. Russell Award recognizes a Blue Key student for outstanding leadership ability and potential.

Founded in 1924, the Blue Key honor society has more than 300 chapters throughout the U.S. The UGA chapter, which was started in 1926 as the second in the nation, has presented the Blue Key Service Award since 1964 to distinguished citizens who have made important contributions to the nation, state, UGA, and their community.

More information about the Blue Key Honor Society is available online at