Meet Dr. Sonny Perdue: The 14th Chancellor of the University System of Georgia

An Inspirational Leader with a Storied Past

Effective April 1, 2022, the Board of Regents proudly welcomed Dr. Sonny Perdue as the 14th chancellor of the University System of Georgia (USG). Tasked with overseeing 26 diverse public colleges and universities, as well as leading the Georgia Public Library Service and the Georgia Archives, Dr. Perdue is entrusted with a $10.3 billion annual budget, the care of 48,000 dedicated faculty and staff, and the education of more than 334,000 ambitious students.

Before assuming the role of chancellor, Dr. Perdue brought a wealth of experience to the table. His distinguished career includes serving as the 31st Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from 2017 to 2021. During his tenure, he orchestrated initiatives to ensure the stability of the food supply chain, particularly during the challenging times presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, he spearheaded the Farmers to Families Food Box program, a testament to his unwavering commitment to serving the most vulnerable members of society.

Prior to his federal appointment, Dr. Perdue served two terms as the governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011. His leadership was instrumental in steering Georgia through unparalleled economic hardships, focusing on fiscal responsibility and efficiency. Under his guidance, Georgia experienced a boost in high school graduation rates and SAT scores, laying the foundation for continued academic excellence.

Dr. Perdue’s dedication to education dates back to his time in the Georgia Senate, where he played a pivotal role in shaping the state’s groundbreaking higher education initiatives, including the renowned HOPE Scholarship program. His influential work during this period laid the groundwork for his unyielding passion for higher education, which remains a driving force in his current role as chancellor of USG.

A native of Perry, Georgia, Dr. Perdue’s journey is one marked by resilience and service. His background as a veterinarian and agribusiness owner, combined with his military service in the U.S. Air Force, has equipped him with a unique perspective on leadership and community. Alongside his wife, Mary Ruff, Dr. Perdue is the proud parent of four children and the cherished grandparent of 14. Additionally, their commitment to fostering children awaiting adoption is a testament to their unwavering dedication to the welfare of future generations.

Dr. Perdue’s unwavering commitment to education, combined with his varied experiences, positions him as a visionary leader at the helm of the University System of Georgia, poised to further elevate academic excellence and empower the next generation of leaders.

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