ATLANTA -- The House of Representatives echoed with a brass ensemble and was colored by the bright hues of academic robes and sashes worn by the governor, regents and college presidents at the University System of Georgia’s investiture ceremony Wednesday for Chancellor Hank Huckaby.
Of the four recent chancellors, Huckaby is the only Georgia native and the only one to have come up through the state’s colleges from student to professor to administrator. Plus, he served as then-Gov. Zell Miller’s budget director, and after his retirement from the University of Georgia, he won election to the General Assembly before retiring when Gov. Nathan Deal picked him as chancellor.
“I think Hank Huckaby is the right individual to steward this valued asset,” Deal said.
After having the medallion of office hung around his neck by a silver chain, Huckaby, in his inaugural address, vowed to focus on boosting performance, strengthening partnerships with primary education and the technical colleges, and increasing the value of higher education.
“We need to improve what we do, rather than simply growing the enterprise,” he said.
Besides his experience as an academic and administrator, his biggest strength may be as a politician. That’s because the General Assembly has put more budget pressure on the University System in recent years and grumbled about its lack of power over the system’s spending.
Huckaby has already demonstrated his sensitivity to lawmakers’ frustration by announcing initiatives to scrutinize spending, reduce duplication and boost the graduation rate.
House Speaker David Ralston, in his remarks at the ceremony, may have only been partly joking when he quipped, “It only took us one session to train the chancellor.”
Ralston concluded, “There can be no better fit for the job ahead than Hank Huckaby.”Follow me on Twitter @MorrisNews