ATLANTA — The University of Georgia has named one of its longtime administrators as the sole finalist to be the school’s president, state officials said Monday.
The Georgia Board of Regents will make the final decision on whether to hire Jere Morehead, who is a provost and the school’s vice president for academic affairs. Officials must wait a minimum of five days before meeting to discuss a final decision and it is unclear when the next board meeting will be held, Board of Regents spokesman John Millsaps said.
Morehead said in a news release that he was “honored and humbled” to have been selected, and plans to comment further on the development after state officials and the university have completed the selection process.
When Morehead, 56, was named provost in 2009, current president Michael Adams praised his integrity, compassion and institutional knowledge of the university. Morehead previously served UGA as vice president for instruction, vice provost for academic affairs, director of the honors program and acting director of legal affairs. Adams is set to retire at the end of June.
“The Board of Regents and the search committee could not have found anyone more committed to the future of this place than Jere Morehead,” Adams said in a statement.
Georgia’s Republican senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson — who both attended the University of Georgia — issued a joint statement Monday evening congratulating Morehead for being named as the finalist.
“I am confident that Jere will make terrific president and will lead UGA — my beloved alma mater — to continue to thrive as one of the nation’s top public universities,” Isakson said.
A panel conducted a nationwide search to replace Adams and House Speaker David Ralston said he had no qualms about a national search yielding a UGA insider.
“The search has been national in scope, as it should be, but I’m certainly thrilled that we are able to find a Georgian to put in that position,” Ralston said.
Morehead is also a recipient of the Josiah Meigs Teaching Award — UGA’s the highest award for educational excellence — and served as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1980 to 1986. The Lakeland, Fla., native is a 1980 graduate of the University of Georgia Law School, has held a faculty appointment in the Terry College of Business and serves on numerous educational boards.
Associated Press writer Bill Barrow contributed to this report.