Statesboro resident Lori Durden was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, representing the 12th Congressional District. Durden will be one of only two women serving on the 18-member board, and will be its youngest member.
Durden is the vice president for economic development at Ogeechee Technical College.
"Lori's background in the university system, with economic development, and with the Technical College System of Georgia, makes her uniquely qualified to provide input into how all of Georgia's colleges and universities can maximize their work to produce an educated workforce," said Dawn Cartee, president of Ogeechee Technical College. "Lori will bring a different perspective to the Board of Regents, and will be able to share her knowledge of the Technical College System in an effort to facilitateseamless education between the state's post-secondary systems."
Durden will be sworn in Monday, and she said she is looking forward to serving on what is considered to be one of the state's most powerful boards.
"It is a great honor to be chosen to serve on the Board of Regents, and I look forward to influencing education in a positive way at the state level," Durden said. "After working at a Board of Regents university, and now at a technical college, I think that I will be able to bring a viewpoint to the board which will help enhance the work of both systems. We need to work hard to help students in Georgia finish their education, and cooperation between the state's systems is one important element in achieving that goal."
Prior to working at Ogeechee Tech, Durden served as the director of the Small Business Development Center at Georgia Southern. Durden is an alumna of Leadership Georgia and was named on Georgia Trend’s 2009 Forty under Forty list of young business professionals.
The Board of Regents is composed of five members who are appointed from the state-at-large, and one from each of the 13 congressional districts. The Board elects a chancellor who serves as its chief executive officer and the chief administrative officer of the university system.
The Board oversees the 35 colleges and universities that comprise the University System of Georgia, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and The Georgia Public Library System.
"Now, more than ever, with Governor Deal's Complete College Georgia initiative, a strong emphasis has been put on improving the state's graduation rate from post secondary institutions," Durden said. "I hope that my experience with the university system and the technical college system will prove to be an asset in that regard."
Georgia’s Higher Education Completion plan, a joint effort between the Technical College System of Georgia and the University System of Georgia, is designed to provide a framework for action and accountability that leads to increased college completion rates.
"Our population and economy has changed, and it is apparent that our governor, through this appointment and other committee development, has a strong desire for all systems of education in Georgia to work as a team, to eliminate the duplication of services/funding, and to focus on where each of us can be the most efficient and effective educators," Cartee said.
The governor appoints members to the Board, who each serve seven years. In addition to Durden, George Hooks, Rogers Wade, and Scott Smith were also appointed.
The last Bulloch County resident to serve on the Board of Regents was David H. (Hal) Averitt, former mayor of Statesboro. His tenure on the board ended in 1999.
Durden serves on the Coastal Workforce Investment Board, the board of trustees for the Foundation for Public Education in Bulloch County and the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She isalso a member of the Rotary Club of Statesboro.
Durden earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. She and her husband, Tim, have three children. They reside in Statesboro.