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Talking business with Dean Mayo

Dr. Donna Mayo
Dr. Donna T. Mayo, dean of the Mike Cottrell College of Business

Talking business with Dean Mayo

Dr. Donna T. Mayo is dean of the University of North Georgia's Mike Cottrell College of Business, which offers programs of study in accounting, finance, management, and marketing. Mayo talks about the college and its mission of producing talented business leaders.


When North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College consolidated to become the University of North Georgia, the academic units transitioned from schools to colleges. What will that mean for the Mike Cottrell College of Business?

This change provides us a greater branding and marketing opportunity. Mike Cottrell is a visionary, and when he made his very generous commitment of $10 million in 2006 to fund what is now known as the Mike Cottrell College of Business, he envisioned what we are becoming today: a college offering outstanding business education programs and an expanding MBA program. The change puts our college on par with other business colleges in the University System of Georgia in regard to name recognition.

You joined the Mike Cottrell College of Business during the consolidation planning process. What are some opportunities the future holds for the college and its students?

I think the opportunities are unlimited. On our four campuses, we have an exceptional and dedicated faculty of about 60 whose strengths lie in their academic credentials and their commitment to the more than 2,500 students in the Mike Cottrell College of Business. The consolidation also enables faculty and student collaboration across campuses on a number of projects and activities. We have strong student organizations on both the Gainesville and Dahlonega campuses like accounting honorary organization Beta Alpha Psi and Enactus, formerly Students In Free Enterprise, that have done great things in their communities. Now, working together, we’ll be able to have greater impact.

What initiatives is the Mike Cottrell College of Business focusing on now?

My main focus is to provide excellent programs and services for students so that we can produce bright, forward-thinking, ethical business leaders. Many of our students need some level of scholarship assistance, and we have businesses and individuals who have stepped forward to provide some of that support and we are encouraging others to step forward in this important area as well.

Our college's Center for the Future of North Georgia is working to expand our internship program and develop programs and activities focused on entrepreneurship and economic development. We also will ask our Business Advisory Board to become more involved in mentoring students through a job shadowing program and by bringing more businesspeople onto our campuses to speak to graduate and undergraduate students.

Through the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership, funded through a $1 million grant from BB&T, we will be facilitating critical thinking in ethical leadership through curriculum, research and professional development. We will work with public schools, local and regional businesses, chambers of commerce, faculty, staff and students at UNG in creating programs to develop ethical thought and leadership skills.

As we undertake our new strategic plan, we will be outlining an exciting new course for the Mike Cottrell College of Business. We will involve our faculty, staff, and students, and businesspeople from throughout our region in this process, and then we'll develop a marketing plan that highlights the opportunities available in our college. 

Pilots use the term CAVU—ceiling and visibility unlimited— and I think that term can also be applied to the Mike Cottrell College of Business.

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