During the annual State of the University address on Wednesday afternoon, University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead highlighted the achievements from this past year, announced new initiatives and thanked the UGA community for their “tireless work” and service.
“When I look back on the past 12 months — a year with no shortage of obstacles — a clear and compelling story emerges, a story of a community bound by a deep sense of purpose, driven by an unyielding commitment to a shared mission,” Morehead said.
Similar to the 2021 State of the University address, this year’s address was delivered to faculty, staff, students, and alumni as a video instead of being held at the university’s chapel.
Morehead did not acknowledge the nine UGA students who passed away during the fall semester. He briefly mentioned the new COVID-19 variants, but didn’t discuss details regarding mask or vaccine mandates.
Out of all of the achievements UGA had in 2021, Morehead said he was most grateful for how the university came together to strive towards a more “inclusive and welcoming learning environment.” He highlighted the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of UGA’s integration, the initiation of 16 measures recommended by the Presidential Task Force on Race, Ethnicity and Community and the adoption of a university-wide plan to advance UGA’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
“I was proud that in August, the university was awarded its eighth consecutive Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity,” Morehead said.
Morehead praised UGA’s athletic achievements, noting the first football national championship in 41 years, the 13 Olympic medals won by current students and alums at the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics and the UGA equestrian team’s national championship.
During the address, Morehead revealed multiple new initiatives to improve UGA. He first unveiled a five-year $6 million initiative to expand active learning on campus, which will be a new teaching and learning focus at UGA. He described active learning as “the process through which instructors guide students to actively construct knowledge” instead of having students “merely absorb facts.”
Due to the challenges of the pandemic along with students’ educational responsibilities, Morehead announced a major effort at the university that he hopes will create a more supportive culture on campus and improve students’ mental health and wellbeing.
“I am dedicating $1 million in private funds, over the next two years, to further expand wellbeing support across campus, increase access to quality mental health services and support students in being more active, healthy, and successful,” Morehead said.
Morehead also announced a renewal of the ALL Georgia program for an additional six years. The program was launched in 2018 and provides financial and academic resources to support undergraduate students from rural areas.
To end the 2022 address, Morehead thanked the UGA community once again for their commitment during this past year and said he hopes they will continue to remember the mission and core principles of the university during the year ahead.
“I wish you the very best in the coming year,” Morehead said, “A year that I am confident will bring boundless possibilities to the University of Georgia.”