January 12, 2021
Communication and media relations coordinator
Aaron Diamant, Georgia University Communication System
Chancellor of the Georgia University System Steve Wrigley
ATLANTA – Chancellor of Georgia University System (USG) Steve Wrigley today announced plans to retire on July 1, 2021 after 36 years in public service. As of 2017, he has been the 13th chancellor of the university system, overseeing 26 public colleges and universities with an annual budget of $ 9.8 billion, 48,000 faculties and employees, and more than 341,000 students.
“It has been a great privilege and an honor to serve the people of Georgia,” said Wrigley. “During my career in education policy and administration, I have worked with many incredible people and made countless valued friendships. The mission of the Georgia university system is essential to our state, the work of its faculty and staff invaluable, and the leadership of its presidents and board of directors extraordinary. “
“I am grateful to my family and the members of the Board of Regents for their support and guidance, and I particularly appreciate the support and guidance of Governors Kemp and Deal during my tenure as Chancellor,” added Wrigley. “With the long-standing vision of the Georgia governors and members of the General Assembly, Georgians can be proud of their university system, which is among the best in the country. As a graduate of this system, it was a special privilege to help students achieve their own dreams. “
“For several decades, Chancellor Wrigley has dedicated his career to serving his Georgian compatriots,” said Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. “Since assuming his role as Chancellor of the Georgia University System, he has helped our higher education system reach new heights. More than ever in recent history, it is critical that we continue to focus on educating and training the next generation to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Chancellor Wrigley has been a tireless advocate for our students and faculties throughout the university system. Thanks to its dedicated leadership, Peach State is well positioned to continue providing world-class education to our best and brightest, and to produce a workforce who will serve as role models for the country. Marty, the girls and I thank Chancellor Wrigley and his wife Lynne for their years of service and wish them all the best for the years to come. “
“The Board of Directors and I would like to thank Dr. Wrigley for his commitment to public service, education and service to our students, faculties and staff,” said Sachin Shailendra, Chairman of the Board of Regents. “I personally want to thank Steve for his leadership as Chancellor and for his friendship, and we congratulate him on his well-deserved and well-deserved retirement. We will miss him. “
During his tenure as Chancellor, Wrigley focused on three main priorities for USG: making college more affordable and efficient, and ensuring that more Georgians with a college certificate join the workforce.
Under Wrigley’s leadership, USG has:
- Launched a data-driven student success initiative, Momentum Year, to focus on increasing graduation rates, helping more students graduate and filling gaps in academic achievement.
- Graduation rates for four years rose nearly 10 percentage points – a rate that has increased for each of the last six cohorts of freshmen.
- According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, the completion of six-year college graduation rates has been the largest in the nation in the past five years.
- In the past fiscal year, 70,879 degrees were awarded, the most in the 89-year history of the system. Since 2011, the number of USG degrees awarded annually has increased by more than 29 percent.
- Received the 2019-2020 Exceptional Agency Award from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, which recognizes leadership, commitment, and innovation in state higher education policy and administration.
- The average annual tuition fee rose to 0.9 percent over the past five years, below the inflation rate. USG has zeroed in tuition fees for three of the past five years, including the current academic year, while spend per degree has decreased 7 percent over the past six years.
- Reduced the number of USG facilities from 35 to 26 since 2011 and invested an estimated $ 30 million in savings from these consolidations in student programs and expanded academic course offerings.
- Increased use of free or low-cost textbooks as an alternative to expensive traditional textbooks, including the launch of the Affordable Learning Georgia initiative. In the spring of 2020 alone, USG students saved $ 27 million with free, low-cost options. The system’s eCore program allows students to put the entire core curriculum online and the textbooks are free.
- In the fall of 2020, a record number of more than 341,000 students was recorded.
- Completed a full administrative review of all 26 institutions and the Systems Office with an emphasis on improving governance by finding ways to use government funds more effectively. This initiative reduced administrative costs by more than $ 110 million and invested those savings in programs that directly impact students, including hiring additional advisors to ensure students complete the courses they need to graduate on time need.
- Established Mental Health Task Force to further evaluate and address growing concerns about mental health issues on college campuses.
Wrigley took over the role of Chancellor in January 2017. Before that, he was Executive Vice Chancellor of Administration at USG from June 2011 until his appointment as Chancellor. He previously served in leadership roles at the University of Georgia as Senior Vice President of External Affairs, Vice President of Government Relations, and Director of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Prior to joining the university system, he was Chief of Staff to former Georgia Governor Zell Miller and worked on a number of key topics including the creation of the state lottery and the groundbreaking HOPE Scholarship.
Wrigley was named to Georgia Trend’s “100 Most Influential Georgians” list for the past three years. Leadership Georgia also presented him with the 2019 JW Fanning Award, which recognizes contributions to advanced leadership and service on behalf of the state.
He is a member of the Executive Committee of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association and a board member of the Richard B. Russell Foundation, the Georgia Wildlife Federation, and the USG Foundation.
Wrigley earned his bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University and his PhD in history from Northwestern University. He and his wife Lynne have two children and one grandson.
The Board of Regents is discussing the next steps in the election of the next USG Chancellor.