University of Georgia

Environmental portrait of President Jere Morehead at the Presidents House.
State of the University with President Morehead

2022 marks the 237th year that UGA has been open. The first University in America to be created by a state government, UGA has been Proudly standing strong, even though a worldwide pandemic. And it is this pandemic, 12 long months upon which we look back, not even covering the entirety of this worldwide scourge. Like the one before it, this past year was challenging for UGA. We celebrated the arrival of vaccines, and we felt hope and renewal as the pandemic improved. Yet, new variants of COVID confronted us amid this progress, testing our endurance and resolve. In the face of the pandemic’s persistent challenges, fulfilling UGA’s and any institution’s mission at times seemed like a task too big, too complicated for any single one of us—but not for all of us. Nevertheless, this unity led UGA to confront the worst of the pandemic, summoning the best academics and community to pursue a noble calling. And it propelled UGA to exceptional achievements—achievements that reveal a community powerfully shaping a better tomorrow for our state, nation, and world. 

In 2021, UGA’s commitment to student learning and success was unmistakable. Their students’ four- and six-year completion rates soared to record highs, while retention rate—the percentage of first-year students returning for a second year—rose to 95%, among the best in the nation. UGA has rated the best tier-one research university for service to student veterans. Ranking in the top 25 public four-year universities for graduating students with exceptional financial need. UGA celebrated tremendous athletic achievements as well. Current and former Bulldogs brought home 13 medals, including three golds, from Tokyo’s summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. And the equestrian team captured a national championship, with UGA’s football team thrilling Bulldog Nation, securing an undefeated regular season, a victory in the Orange Bowl, and the national championship in Indianapolis, their first in 41 years. Bulldog fans, too, showed why they are the best in college football, with more than 100,000 showing up to honor their team with an extraordinary parade and Sanford Stadium celebration. 

Yet, with all accomplishments in 2021, the greatest was how the community came together to enrich and elevate every individual. Throughout the year, UGA commemorated the 60th anniversary of the University of Georgia’s integration while striving for a more inclusive and welcoming learning environment. A new initiative was the 16 measures recommended by the Presidential Task Force on Race, Ethnicity, and Community. And a new university-wide plan, developed by the Planning Committee on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence, will advance UGA’s diversity and inclusion efforts over the next five years. This diligent effort and attention paid off, as in August, the University was awarded its eighth consecutive Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity

In 2021, the community of Athens and UGA provided a vivid reminder that the University of Georgia is an essential organization—irreplaceable and invaluable to our state, nation, and world. You, yes, you revealed once more that UGA is making a difference across every corner of Georgia—in every community and throughout every aspect of our state’s economy. You reminded one and all that when we are needed most, we step forward to answer the call—ever serving, ever leading, ever creating new opportunity.


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