Board of Curators


Shan Cooper – Chair

  • Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Journey Forward Strategies. LLC
  • Former Executive Director for the Atlanta Committee for Progress
  • Former chief transformation officer of WestRock and former vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company
  • Named Georgia Trend’s 2015 Most Respected Business Leader and as one of Georgia Trend’s Most Influential Georgians in the years 2012–2016.
  • Named one of Black Enterprise magazine’s Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America in 2017
  • Serves on the boards of Georgia Power, The Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Emory University, and the Technical College System of Georgia

David P. Abney – Vice-Chair

  • Former Executive Chairman of the UPS Board of Directors and Former CEO of UPS
  • Inducted by the Georgia Historical Society and Governor Brian Kemp as a Georgia Trustee in 2021
  • Serves as a Trustee of the UPS Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • 2019 Horatio Alger Award Recipient
  • Previously served as Chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber and on the boards of Macy’s, Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Catalyst

Clyde C. Tuggle – Treasurer

  • Co-founder and partner of Pine Island Capital Partners
  • Former Senior Public Affairs Adviser to the CEO, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Serves on the board of directors of the Georgia Power Company, Oxford Industries, Inc., TRIFORM, LLC, the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse, and the U.S. Russia Business Council
  • Is a trustee of the Georgia Research Alliance and is chairman of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta
  • Was elected a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow in 2013

H. Jerome Russell, Jr. – Secretary

  • President of H. J. Russell & Company and Russell New Urban Development, LLC, with clients including the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Tuskegee University, and the Center for Civil and Human Rights
  • Serves on the board of H. J. Russell & Company, Endeavor Atlanta, Concessions International, Metro Atlanta YMCA, and Central Atlanta Progress. Chairman of the Loan Committee at Citizens Trust Bank
  • Member of the Urban Land Institute, Atlanta Rotary, Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Young President Organization, and 100 Black Men of Atlanta
  • Started the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE), devoted to empowering African American entrepreneurs and small business owners


Frank S. Blake

  • Retired Chairman and CEO of The Home Depot
  • Served as deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy, and prior to that, in a variety of executive roles at General Electric
  • Served as general counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, deputy counsel to Vice President George Bush and law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens
  • Serves on the board of directors for the Georgia Aquarium, Proctor & Gamble, Macy’s, and is currently serving as Chairman of the Delta Air Lines board

James H. Blanchard, Ex-officio

  • Retired Chairman of the Board and CEO of Synovus
  • Serves as Chairman of The Advisory Board of JBA Capital, LLC
  • Created the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum in partnership with the Leadership Institute at Columbus University
  • Honors include the Alumni Merit Award for distinguished and loyal service (University of Georgia, 2015), Ken Blanchard Servant Leadership Award, FinTech Lifetime Achievement Award (Technology Association of Georgia, 2010), “Georgian of the Year” (Georgia Trend magazine, 2003), and induction as a Georgia Trustee (Georgia Historical Society / Office of the Governor, 2016)

Ellen B. Bolch

  • President and CEO of THA Group
  • Has been a health care educator at Penn State and Armstrong State Universities, and the Medical College of Georgia.
  • Received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2018.
  • Recipient of Honeywell HomMed’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Telehealth and the AWWIN Monica LaRue Award.
  • Serves on the Boards of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), Co-Chair of the National Medicaid Action Council affiliated with NAHC, the Advisory Board of the Home Care Technology Association of America, Rotary Club of Savannah, Union Society of Bethesda, The Chatham Club, Board of Visitors Savannah Country Day School, and the immediate past Chair of the South Carolina Home and Hospice Care Association.

W. Paul Bowers

  • Retired Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Georgia Power
  • Serves on the boards of AFLAC (lead director), Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Brand Safeway. He is a past member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Energy Policy Council, the Nuclear Electric Insurance Ltd. (past chairman) and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. In addition, he serves on the board of trustees for the University of West Florida. Has received the American Jewish Committee’s National Human Relations Award and the Council for Quality Growth’s Four Pillar Award
  • Inducted as a Georgia Trustee by the Georgia Historical Society and the Office of the Governor in 2018

Mark Burns

  • President of Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
  • Vice president of General Dynamics, Gulfstream’s parent company
  • 2018 recipient of the National Aeronautic Association’s Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award
  • Former Chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association in 2019
  • Serves on the board of directors for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Georgia Power, and the Corporate Angel Network

Dan T. Cathy

  • Chairman of Chick-fil-A, Inc.
  • Inducted as a Georgia Trustee by the Georgia Historical Society and Governor Brian Kemp in 2022
  • Recipient of the Zig Ziglar Servant Leadership Award
  • Inducted in the Junior Achievement Atlanta Business Hall of Fame
  • Serves on the boards of the Georgia Aquarium, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Atlanta Committee for Progress, Eagle Ranch, and Heritage Preparatory School

Reed Dulany III

  • Chairman and CEO of Dulany Industries, Inc.
  • Owner of Local 11 Ten, Public Kitchen and Bar, and Soho South Café restaurants
  • Graduate of the University of Georgia
  • Serves on the board of the Chatham Club and has served as board member for the Nature Conservancy’s Georgia corporate council, the Telfair Museums, and the Davenport House
  • Selected as one of Georgia Trend’s “40 under 40” in 2002

Venessa Harrison

  • President of AT&T’s Southeast Coastal Region
  • Serves as member of North Carolina A&T State University Board of Trustees
  • Honored by Georgia Trend as one of the Georgia 500 Most Influential Leaders and one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians
  • Received Atlanta Business Chronicle‘s 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Civic Award
  • Recognized by Atlanta Magazine on the 2021, 2020 and 2019 Most Influential Atlantans lists
  • Serves as member of the Georgia Research Alliance Board of Directors, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Atlanta Committee for Progress Board of Directors, the Atlanta Police Foundation Board of Directors, the Agnes Scott College Advisory Board of Visitors, and the Rotary Club of Atlanta

Jeff Kole

  • President of Kole Investment Co.
  • Board Chairman of East Savannah United
  • Board member of the Savannah Music Festival and Parent University
  • Past Board Chairman of United Way of the Coastal Empire, Senior Citizens Inc., the Jewish Educational Alliance (JEA), Savannah Apartment Association and Georgia Apartment Association

John F. McMullan, Ex-officio

  • Chairman of Camden Real Estate Company
  • Previously held CEO positions at SMS Investment Associates, Inc. and McMullan & Co. accounting firm
  • Serves on the board of Life Care Centers of America
  • A founding Trustee of the University of Georgia’s Arch Foundation and an emeritus Trustee of the University of Georgia Foundation
  • Recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Georgia and a 2018 recipient of the Significant Sig Award from Sigma Chi Fraternity
  • Supporter of numerous causes and organizations, including the Woodruff Arts Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Piedmont Park Conservancy

William T. Moore, Ex-officio

  • Former Provost of the University of South Carolina
  • Professor Emeritus, University of South Carolina
  • Chairman of the Board of Governors of Bethesda Academy
  • Has served on the Ossabaw Island Foundation Board of Trustees and the Telfair Museums Board of Trustees
  • Supports the Dr. William T. Moore Distinguished Editor of the Georgia Historical Quarterly endowed position

John Morgan

  • Owner of Morgan Timber, LLC and South Coast Commercial
  • Former Chair of the Board of Directors for Fortune-500 Plum Creek Timber Company
  • A founder of INVESCO Capital Management
  • Established the nonprofit Mill Creek Foundation, serving Swainsboro, Georgia and the surounding area
  • Former Chair of the Emory University Board of Trustees

Sam Nunn, Honorary

  • Co-chairman and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative
  • Served as a United States Senator from Georgia for 24 years (1972-1996)
  • Has continued his service in public policy as a distinguished professor in The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech and as chairman of the board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
  • Has served as a board member of Chevron Corporation, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell Inc., and General Electric Company
  • Inducted as a Georgia Trustee by the Georgia Historical Society and the Office of the Governor in 2011

Beatriz R. Perez

  • Senior Vice President and Chief Communications, Sustainability and Strategic Partnerships Officer for The Coca-Cola Company
  • Recognized as a “Conservation Trailblazer” by The Trust for Public Land
  • Featured as one of the “25 Most Powerful Latinas” on CNN and People en Espanol
  • Member of the American Advertising Hall of Fame, the Sports Business Journal’s Hall of Fame, and the PR Week Hall of Fame
  • Serves in leadership positions for several not-for-profit organizations, including the board of trustees of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Kessel D. Stelling, Jr.

  • Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Synovus
  • Honors include the Leadership Character Award from the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, the Blue Key Service Award, University of Georgia Chapter of the Blue Key National Honor Society, and the “Distinguished Alumni Award” by the University of Georgia Terry College of Business
  • Past chair and current member of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, treasurer of the executive committee for the Bank Policy Institute, and board member for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Georgia Power, and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce

Larry D. Thompson

  • Counsel to the Atlanta law firm of Finch McCranie, LLP
  • Executive Vice President, Government Affairs, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for PepsiCo, Inc. from 2012-2014
  • Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, General Counsel and Secretary for PepsiCo, Inc. from 2004 to 2011
  • Served as a Senior Fellow with The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
  • Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General under George W. Bush (2001-2003)
  • Previously a partner in the Atlanta, Georgia law firm of King & Spalding

Christopher C. Womack

  • Chairman, President and CEO of Georgia Power
  • Has held several leadership positions within Southern Company and its subsidiaries
  • Prior to joining Southern Company, worked on Capitol Hill for the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington DC
  • Member of the board of directors of Essential Utilities, Inc. and Invesco Ltd.
  • Board chair of the East Lake Foundation, and board member for the Georgia Ports Authority, The First Tee, and board chair for the Alliance to Save Energy

Chairmen Emeriti

Robert L. Brown, Jr.
Walter M. “Sonny” Deriso, Jr.
Kay T. Hightower
Thomas M. Holder
Robert S. Jepson, Jr.
Bill Jones III
Don Kole
Grace Greer Phillips
Lisa L. White