The president of the University of Georgia told a Gainesville civic club on Monday that the new freshman class entering this year has the best academic credentials of any to enter the college.
Michael Adams’ remarks came at the Gainesville Civic Center, where he was the keynote speaker for the Rotary Club of Gainesville. "This year’s class is the strongest and most diverse in the university’s history," Adams said. "The class will have a mean SAT of 1,254 (and) a mean GPA of 3.8. It will be the 10th or 12th best public student body in America. The honors program is 1,456 (SAT) with a 4.04 GPA. That’s higher than Duke, Vanderbilt or Tulane."
While the number of international students has grown, Adams said 83 percent of the new students are from 400 Georgia high schools in 145 of the state’s 159 counties.
"More than 48 percent of them (Georgians) have Social Security numbers that indicate they were born in some other state," Adams said.
The president said 465 of the university’s total enrollment of 35,000 are from Hall County, while 1,100 more are from the counties contiguous to Hall.
North Hall is now among the top 100 feeder schools to UGA, Adams said. According to information compiled on the freshman class of 2007, North Hall High School had 17 graduates who began studies in Athens last year.
Gainesville State College is the top college from which students transfer to UGA. In 2007, there were 155 Gainesville State students entering the university.
Adams noted the success of the university’s capital campaign, which raised $654 million, well ahead of the goal of $500 million.
"I want to express our appreciation to many of you in this room who love this university, who support its goals and missions and believe, quite frankly, the people of Georgia deserve a flagship university that is every bit as good as do the people of Michigan, California, Virginia or North Carolina," he said.
He noted the university’s recent purchase of WNEG-TV, which is currently licensed to Toccoa.
"It is our intent to continue to operate it as a for-profit entity, but to expand the local coverage that comes to Northeast Georgia," Adams said, adding that he would like to one day see a University of Georgia channel coming into every home in Georgia.
Responding to a question, Adams said students need to take the most rigorous curriculum in high school in order to be prepared to enter the university.
"As successful as we have been in many areas, we only have about 23 percent of our students in the hard sciences," he said. "If you watch the people who walk across the stage at a Ph.D. graduation at the University of Georgia in physics, analytical chemistry, computational chemistry, cellular biology and life science research, about half of them are Asian-Americans."
He said others are taking an easy route. "We have too many young people in this country, and frankly too many Caucasians, who are choosing to take lesser academically challenging courses," he said.
With football season opening this Saturday, Adams said he had spent time with head football coach Mark Richt, including visiting last Thursday’s scrimmage.
"We do intend to show up this year," Adams said. "And I like our chances."