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A decade of progress (4)

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by Lucy Soto


It’s a spring day and Michael and Mary Adams sit in the president’s office to reflect on the decade. It’s a rare time of stillness—of not hopping on a plane to an alumni or donor event; or hosting yet another group in their home; or attending a national meeting on education. Again, just as they did when they arrived at UGA, they talk about excellence and quality and the future.

“We just don’t get time to do this much,” Adams says. “You think I sit here all day and think these big thoughts … we all know that’s not true.” He laughs. Mary laughs louder.

The University is a bustling city of 700 contiguous acres next to downtown Athens. It’s a place that helps manage the state’s second largest bus system. It runs a giant motor pool and gasoline station. It has a golf course. It puts thousands of students in classrooms every day. It houses more than 9,000 students—and feeds them, along with thousands more.

Still, at the end of the day, it’s not any of that. It’s a big public university, always pushing the boundaries.

“You get awfully tired, sometimes,” Adams says. But “it’s never dull.”

For Stephen Portch, who helped make the decision to hire Adams a decade ago and was one of his supporters through the years, the fact that Adams is still at the helm is no surprise.

“He deserves great credit for the loyalty he’s shown the University in an age when various universities have presidents who stop off and then jump,” says Portch, who now lives in Alabama and travels the country as an educational consultant. “It would have been easy enough to walk away when things got tough. There were plenty of opportunities for Mike to do something different … It’s exactly what he promised me when I hired him. He said ‘I’m going to stay long enough to make a real difference here.’

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Renovations, stately new buildings and ongoing major projects contribute to a growing campus that better meets the needs of students, faculty, staff and alumni.
Click on image to enlarge

East Campus Village

Special Collections Libraries Building

Tate Student Center renovation and expansion