Dean’s Message: Four pillars for equity

Dean’s Message

Nov. 10, 2020

Fundamental to our values is the belief that diversity and inclusion are a source of strength within our community. When we act on these values and draw on our collective strengths, business prospers and serves our society as a force for good. Every employer and every organization — including all of us at the Terry College of Business — has been led this year to reflect and reevaluate the significance of our commitments and actions, and their potential to be an alliance for good in the communities we serve.

At Terry, we organized our efforts to ensure a fair and equitable campus environment around four pillars — promoting respect, supporting diversity, leading internationally, and serving the community. In the clearest terms, it means we:

• Promote respect, encouraging people from diverse cultures to share their perspectives and backgrounds in a welcoming environment that fosters dignity and mutual respect.

• Support diversity in its many forms, valuing these differences as we increase recruitment and retention of underrepresented students, faculty, and staff.

• Enhance global leadership, preparing students to be culturally literate and conscientious professionals while teaching them how businesses can succeed and be a positive force in the community when guided by ethical principles.

• And serve the local community, starting close to home by investing our time and resources to lend a helping hand to our neighbors and nonprofits in Athens, and instilling these same habits in our graduates as they go out into the world.

The most visible way we support these goals at the Terry College is by sponsoring curricular and extracurricular programs. We promote year-round diversity and inclusion events that foster community and offer academic courses that provide a deeper understanding of cultural experiences and differences, ethics, employment law and discrimination, the diverse global economy, and values-based leadership. We also put leadership into action by serving those most vulnerable in the Athens community through a wide array of service-learning projects.

As you are introduced – or reintroduced – to the alumni and faculty featured in this issue, their stories reflect how the Terry College community embodies the spirit of these pillars, both in actions and words. They are a powerful reminder of the tremendous influence and the multifaceted leadership that can be seen across the amazing montage of the Terry College community. Their stories are a source of hope, impact and optimism. I firmly believe in our school’s commitment to these four pillars, and by working together, we will help the next generation build a better future for themselves and the communities they serve.


Benjamin C. Ayers, Dean

Earl Davis Chair in Taxation