“I believe that being recognized as a finalist as Rector of the University System of Georgia is an outstanding milestone in your public service career.”
ATLANTA, GEORGIA (41NBC / WMGT) – The Regent’s Council voted today on behalf of former Georgia Governor, US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue, the only finalist for the position of Chancellor of the Georgia University System.
“I believe that being recognized as a finalist as Chancellor of Georgia’s university system is a great milestone in my public service career,” Purdue said. “Education is the most important issue at the federal, state and local levels, and so as a legislator, I sought to chair the Senate Higher Education Committee to work on important initiatives with Gov. Zel Miller and former U.S. Chancellor Steve Portch.”
Purdue served two terms as governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011. Purdue reformed the state budget and focused on eliminating wasteful spending. His efforts have created 200,000 jobs and helped boost the state’s economy by turning budget deficits into substantial surpluses. During his tenure, high school graduates published the highest alumni and SAT scores in the state’s history.
“Higher education is a place where I wanted to have a real impact as governor, only to be stunned by double recessions. This is what has benefited me as Minister of Agriculture, where I have seen the benefits of university research on a daily basis. I want to make a difference by providing leadership and resources so that teachers can develop in teaching, research and service, and inspire and support students to complete their studies, find careers and become effective citizens. It is a great honor for me to be considered for such an important role. “
He later served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 2017 to 2021. During the pandemic, he headed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Stabilization and Security of Food Supply Chains and launched the Farmer for the Family Food Box program to provide food for the most vulnerable Americans.