UGA must always be world-class university primarily for GeorgiansAfter 16 years, Michael Adams is retiring in 2013 as president of the University of Georgia.
Last week Adams did a speaking tour around the state, appearing before community groups to hail the state of UGA during his tenure and to talk about some of the issues ahead. On Friday he talked to the Newnan Rotary Club.
Adams has a lot of supporters, and he has cultivated many detractors during his tenure at Georgia. He’s an impressive, articulate speaker who clearly outlines a long list of changes and improvements that have improved UGA during his years at the state’s flagship university.
One of those big changes that has impacted the university and could be a core issue in the future is funding.
Adams said when he came to UGA, 43 percent of the university’s budget came from state funding. Today, state funds account for 23 percent of UGA’s budget.
“I don’t know where that tipping point is in that process,” said Adams, but if the current trend continues there will be a fundamental change in the relationship between the university and state government.
That is an important issue and one that Adams poses as he talks about his desire for UGA to be a top-flight university that primarily educates Georgians.
He points out the University of Virginia and University of Michigan have both been privatized. Both of those top flight universities have a higher tuition than UGA, and both Michigan and Virginia have student bodies with about half the students from out of state. Today, 84-85 percent of UGA students are Georgians.
So how does our governor, our lawmakers, our Board of Regents and other decision-makers address this funding issue in the future?
Like Adams, we “want the University of Georgia to be a world class institution primarily serving Georgia students.”