In January 2019, former Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal was recognized as a Regents Professor by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.
Deal was anticipated to teach undergraduate classes in political science and law at the University of Georgia this semester, but the location of his professorship was moved to the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega in June due to health concerns, according to Deal’s former chief of staff Chris Riley.
Deal fell on his shoulder after back surgery in March, prolonging his recovery time. The move to UNG will significantly reduce his commute time and put those close to him at ease, according to Riley.
“After [the fall] took place, it caused Mrs. Deal and I to have a concern about the commute,” Riley said. “It just alarmed us.”
Riley, who has continued his work with Deal at a joint lobbying and consulting firm, asked USG chancellor Steve Wrigley about a possible location change. Deal, who is familiar with the drive to UNG after serving Georgia’s 9th U.S. Congressional District for almost 20 years, would have an easier commute to Dahlonega than Athens.
In a June 18 letter sent to UGA President Jere Morehead and UNG President Bonita Jacobs, Wrigley confirmed the relocation of Deal’s professorship. Wrigley cited an April 16 meeting during which the Board of Regents voted to grant Deal the authority to move the professorship to UNG.
This semester, Deal is in a speaker rotation at the five UNG locations in Blue Ridge, Cumming, Dahlonega, Gainesville and Oconee. Next semester he will teach a three credit hour course twice a week at the Dahlonega campus, Riley said.
According to Riley, the professorship is on a year-to-year basis, but he hopes Deal will “be able to expand it to other schools.”
Deal is “about 80% recovered” and “just moves a little slower,” Riley said. “It took a lot out of him.”
“He thinks he’s going to be able to go to other schools, so as long as he’s believing that I’m not going to tell him he can’t,” Riley said.