Dr. Bonita Jacobs, president of the University of North Georgia (UNG), has been named to Georgia Trend's 16th annual 100 Most Influential Georgians list, featured in the magazine's January issue. The list recognizes leaders in government, community, education, business, and the arts from across the state, including Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, Gov. Nathan Deal, musician Zac Brown, and Chancellor Hank Huckaby of the University System of Georgia.
The magazine notes Jacobs' leadership during the consolidation of the former North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College that resulted in the creation of UNG in 2013 and her selection as the first female president of then-NGCSU in 2011.
"This is a reflection on the prominence the University of North Georgia continues to gain as a result of its high-quality students and programs and the vital role UNG plays in the educational and economic development of this region," Jacobs said. "It is a privilege to represent such an outstanding institution and to advance the work of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni."
In recent years, UNG has received many accolades, including consistently being named one of Kiplinger Personal Finance's "100 Best Values in Public Colleges" and a top 25 public university in the South in U.S. News & World Report's 2014 edition of "Best Colleges." UNG also is consistently recognized as military friendly by Military Advanced Education magazine, GI Jobs magazine and Military Times magazine.
Prior to her appointment to the presidency, Jacobs served as executive director of the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (2009-2011) and as vice president for student development at the University of North Texas (1998-2009) and as a professor in counseling and higher education. She previously served as interim vice chancellor for student development and dean of students at Western Carolina University.
Jacobs earned both a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and history and a master’s degree in counseling from Stephen F. Austin State University, where she also served as Director of Residence Life. She earned her doctorate in educational administration from Texas A&M University. Jacobs lives in Dahlonega, but is originally from Huntington, Texas, a small town in East Texas. She and her husband, Glenn, have three children: Craig, Ashlee and Scott.
Only eight other college and university presidents, public or private, are included on the list: Ricardo Azziz of Georgia Regents University; Mark Becker of Georgia State University; Timothy Mescon of Columbus State University; Jere W. Morehead of the University of Georgia; Dan Papp of Kennesaw State University; G.P. "Bud" Peterson of Georgia Tech; William Underwood of Mercer University; and James W. Wagner of Emory University.
The list also includes a UNG alumnus, Speaker of the Georgia House David Ralston. Philip Wilheit Sr. of Gainesville, chairman of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, also was included on the list. Wilheit represents the state’s 9th District, which includes the area covered by UNG.
Georgia Trend is published monthly and covers business and politics in Georgia. The magazine started in 1985 and has more than 50,000 subscribers. The 100 Most Influential Georgians list also is featured on the magazine's website, and those selected will be honored later this month in a luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Downtown in Atlanta.
With more than 15,000 students, UNG is the state’s sixth-largest public university. The regional, multi-campus university offers more than 100 programs of study, including certificates, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and graduate programs. UNG is one of only six senior military colleges in the United States and is designated as a University System of Georgia leadership institution and as The Military College of Georgia.