UGA President Visits the Rotary Club of LaGrange

Published 9:00 am Thursday, November 2, 2023

By: Alex Amos

There are plenty of University of Georgia alumni living in Troup County, and all of those Bulldogs got a special treat Wednesday when UGA President Jere Morehead spoke at the Rotary Club of LaGrange meeting.

Morehead has served as the president of UGA since 2013, and his speech Wednesday at Highland Country Club focused on the growth of the university. During his decade as president, he’s helped the university win on and off the field from the creation of over 600 new scholarships to two national championships in football. 

Morehead highlighted several changes and major achievements of the university with one of the primary achievements so far being the growth of the freshmen class.

“It’s been a steady, slow growth, reflecting the steady, slow growth of the state of Georgia as a whole,” Morehead said. “The students this year, making up a class of 6,200 freshmen, come from the largest applicant pool that we’ve ever had with over 43,500 students applying to the University of Georgia this year. We are now on track to break that application record for the current year that is being considered now. In the last decade, we have more than doubled the number of applications to the University of Georgia.”

With the massive interest in getting into the university growths, Morehead is making sure those perspective students have a great experience once they’re accepted too.  He plans to modify the standard UGA classroom setting with an innovative method of instruction that will focus on more hands-on teaching and in turn more engaged students.

“This past year we announced a new program called the Active Learning Initiative, and the goal behind it is to get rid of lecturing in college classrooms and move toward all classrooms being highly-engaged and interactive, so that students stay focused for the entire class period,” Morehead said. “The Active Learning Initiative is now fully underway in our institution, and we just put out a call to have another Active Learning Initiative this coming summer, where we are going to train another large group of faculty in how to move from lecturing in a classroom to be active teachers in a classroom,”

Morehead also discussed a plan that would allow for more collaborations with local businesses, allowing students more first-hand experience in their fields of study.

“A couple of years ago, I launched something called the Innovation District at UGA, which is an effort on our part, to get all of the faculty to research businesses that want to come and partner with the university and use our students to be a part of those initiatives,” Morehead said.  “Today, we have the Innovation District working with all sorts of businesses in concert with our faculty to try to drive new products, new activities that are coming out of the University of Georgia and giving our students first-hand opportunities to be a part of that kind of work.”

As the meeting came to a close, Rotary Club members were given a chance to ask Morehead questions. One member brought up concerns about the terrorist attacks of Hamas and how the attacks would affect the cultural climate of the UGA campus. 

“As you know, right now it’s a tense situation, and we have got two demonstrations that are going to take place today,” Morehead said. “I obviously have a personal bias, for which I have been chastised by one of the groups because I spoke very strongly after the massacre that occurred a few weeks ago in support of the people of Israel, but I think it’s important for us as an institution to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard and that they have a right to speak. I’ve been on the phone getting advice from the state law department on how to handle different issues, and I will continue to do that.”