Georgia’s On Our Mind

Georgia’s On Our Mind

Music lovers have long counted Ray Charles’ bittersweet rendition of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia On My Mind” as an American classic. At Diverse, we have turned our attention to the state of Georgia to report on higher education diversity largely at its public flagship universities. Our look at the Peach State has turned up some fascinating developments, which should get you thinking about diversity practices at the institutions your local taxes support, or at the institution where you may work.

In this edition, Publisher and Editor in Chief Frank L. Matthews interviews Erroll Davis, the chancellor of Georgia’s higher education system; and Dr. Michael F. Adams, the president of the University of Georgia. He also documents how the Georgia Institute of Technology has become one of the nation’s top producers of Black and Hispanic engineering graduates.

The Georgia Tech story recounts how the institution’s savvy leaders have spent the past 30 years forming partnerships with historically Black institutions and, more recently, with Hispanic-serving colleges and universities. Using its relationships with Spelman College, Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University, Georgia Tech ensures a steady stream of dual-degree engineering students. The students start at one of the Black colleges, transfer to Georgia Tech, and eventually walk away with degrees from both institutions.

Given Atlanta’s history as the center of the American civil rights movement and its reputation for being a social and economic mecca for Black Americans, it’s not surprising that Georgia Tech’s leaders would forge strategic alliances with the area’s minority-serving schools. Starting with the mayoral tenure of the late Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first Black mayor, the city’s Black leaders and entrepreneurs have long demanded a share of the economic pie, and they have been quite successful with their efforts. Inclusion has long been a goal of Atlanta’s education and corporate leaders, and that focus has paid off handsomely for the city. Atlanta is now a top destination for corporations looking to make the Southeastern United States their base of operations. Some have credited Atlanta’s reputation for social and economic harmony for helping the city land the 1996 Olympic Games.

With Atlanta-based entities setting the pace, Georgia institutions around the state have had role models from which to learn. Frank J. Matthews’ profile of Damon Evans, the first African-American to serve as the athletic director at the University of Georgia, reveals how that university has benefited from Evans’ leadership. According to Matthews, Evans runs the nation’s most profitable athletic program.

Other notable reads in this edition are Lydia Lum’s “A Life’s Work Washed Away” and senior editor Christina Asquith’s “Conspiracies Continue to Abound Surrounding 9/11.” Be sure to catch Christina’s
interview of Spike Lee in Spectrum. Lee’s moving documentary on Hurricane Katrina aired last month on HBO. These timely stories remind us of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the five-year
anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.  

Hilary Hurd Anyaso
Editor



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