Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Birth of the Board of Regents

In the late 1920s, Georgia Governor Lamartine Hardman introduced the idea of reorganizing the state government. It had grown to house over 200 departments and was in desperate need of an overhaul. Although legislation stalled in the Georgia Legislature near the end of Hardman’s term, Georgia’s next governor, Richard B. Russell, saw it as his first priority and appointed Hugh Peterson to chair the Committee for the Reorganization of State Government. During the first half of 1931, Peterson oversaw numerous testimonies of state employees including those in charge of Georgia’s institutions of higher learning.

At that time there were 26 institutions in the University of Georgia System with boards governing each one. A total of 358 people made up these boards. After much input and research, the committee drafted S. B. 46, An Act to simplify the operations of the Executive Branch of the State Government. It included the recommendation that a Board of Regents comprised of 11 members be created to manage all of the institutions under the University System of Georgia – roughly 3% of the original group!

Post by Renna Tuten, Project Archivist, Russell Library

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