UGA's Michael Adams: Yes, I'm Leaving

The University of Georgia president says he's stepping down next year.

For a few seconds, it looked as though Michael Adams wasn't going to make it through a speech about his leaving the President's Office at the . He had said that when he accepted the job in June 1997, with him were his parents, both of whom have since died, and his wife Mary. His face collapsed a little, but he recovered.

Many of those in the audience may not recover. The university community remains in shock over Adams' sudden announcement that he will step down from his job at the end of June 2013. Only a few of the inner staff and upper level administrators learned late Wednesday that he would be leaving.

After his brief, formal speech, in which he thanked those who have helped launch the University into the ranks of top public schools, Adams said that he had been thinking about leaving for "the last two or three weeks," adding that one is always thinking about it.

There were "a whole host of reasons," he said, without elaborating. "But it felt like this was the right time." He said he is proud of the many accomplishments the school has experienced during his tenure.

According to former Athens Mayor Heidi Davison, who was at the event in the UGA Chapel, Adams had of list of things he wanted to accomplish for himself and for the university, "and he just slowly checked them off" as they came on line.

Chief among these were a and an engineering school. UGA had a comprehensive engineering program until the 1930s. Given the dearth of home grown engineers in the state, starting a school to help meet that need seemed crucial. In partnership with the Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta, the Athens medical facility will help meet the state's need for primary care physicians.

"The capstone pieces of the pie were in place," Davison said. "So I guess this signaled it was time for him to step aside."

The Board of Regents will next week "take action" on the appointments of the presidents of the various universities and college in the university system.

Some of those at Thursday's announcement wondered whether the support Adams and UGA enjoyed while Sonny Perdue was governor would continue with the current governor and Board of Regents. And whether this potential change influenced Adams' decision to step down in 2013.

Milton Leathers May 03, 2012 at 07:24 PM
I was in the most amazing meeting today with three UGa grads -- all big Bulldawgs! They are my three first cousins. Joe (the oldest) and Alex (the youngest) and I met at 10:00 this morning at Andrew's house in Five Points (Andrew being the middle son). We all left Andrew behind at about 12:30. It was a good meeting. We stayed pretty much on topic -- but there was MUCH free-ranging conversation, I assure you! About ten minutes ago -- at maybe 3pm -- a big thought hit me! I called Andrew. When he answered, I exclaimed, "Do you realize that the four of us met for 2-1/2 hours and......Mike Adams's resignation never came up?!?" I waited. "Why should it?" Andrew asked me on the phone. (Did I mention that these guys are all big Bulldogs, all native Athenians, who go to almost all the football games, most of the basketball games, some baseball games -- and who knows what else?) "Andrew," I replied, "I really do understand what you mean: 'Why should it?' But, honestly now, to me, this is remarkable! The fact that -- UGa boosters as we are (even Dooley fans), with ALL the palavering and loudmouthing and laughing and all those topics being bantered about at your house this morning -- NObody mentioned Mike Adams..... well, that really does tell me how little consideration we have for this person. It almost made me feel sorry for the guy. As I said, it was an amazing meeeting.
Milton Leathers May 03, 2012 at 07:46 PM
I think I should add a note here. Curiously, I have begun to like (or think more of) Adams in the last few years than I did at the beginning. The University has improved so much! When our friend Hubert McAlexander (recently retired from the English Department) arrived to teach here in 1974, he said that -- to HIM -- the city of Athens was really more important than the University of Georgia was. The city was so charming and historic and interesting -- and the University was...well, "just a university that was here, sort of." In the years since, Hubert maintains that the University has reasserted itself; in fact, it has REtaken it proper position: It is the most important thing around these parts. And -- continuing with ideas from Hubert, corroborated by so many of our other UGa friends -- my God, just look at the quality of the student body! Hubert said that he never DREAMED in 1974 that the campus would be chock-full of the brightest students from our state and from so many other places. (Even introductory survey courses before Hubert retired were well attended by such bright and motivated freshmen.) So.....I think Adams deserves some credit here. Karen Holbrook brought some excellent ideas to Athens -- as did, of course, so many other educators and administrators. Mike Adams MUST have done something right. "Things" don't just fall into place to create the splendid learning institution we have now in 2012. And there is just one head person. And Mike Adams was that person.
Rebecca McCarthy May 03, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Milton, you can thank the Hope scholarship for bringing bright (translate: educated parents who value education themselves) students to campus, especially when the cap of $100,000 on a family's income was lifted. And before they tightened up the academic requirements. That was starting when he arrived. What he has done is to systematically get the things he thought the university needed to prosper: a medical school component and an engineering school; an attractive campus that would help sell the place to prospective students; a bigger endowment; a real focus on student life. And on building buildings that were long needed, like the Learning Center and the Richard Russell Buildings. He is political but you have to be in order to get a medical school affiliate and an engineering. His ambition for the school may have played into his leaving, but that's only speculation.....And he loves the town. I hope the decision to leave was his alone, not something suggested by someone in Atlanta, but we know how things work in Georgia.


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