Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley C. Franklin will receive an honorary doctorate of public service from ClaytonStateUniversity on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, as part of the University’s fall commencement ceremony.
As has been the case for several years, Clayton State will hold two ceremonies to honor its graduates, the first at 9 a.m., and the second at noon. Both ceremonies will be held in the University’s AthleticsCenter. Franklin will be honored at the noon ceremony and will also be the keynote speaker for that ceremony. The speaker for the 9 a.m. ceremony is State Senator Jack Hill of Reidsville, Ga., chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The 9 a.m. ceremony will present degrees to approximately 235 graduates of the University’s colleges of Business and Health. The noon ceremony will present degrees to approximately 245 degrees to the graduates of the University’s colleges of Arts & Sciences and Information and Mathematical Sciences.
Franklin is currently the Barbara Jordan Visiting Professor in Ethics and Political Values in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. After Franklin left office in 2010, she was appointed to the William and Camille Cosby Endowed Chair at SpelmanCollege and served until June 2011. She was elected the first African American woman mayor of a major southern city in 2002 and served two terms.
A frequent speaker on leadership, public policy and community engagement, having served more than three decades as an executive in government and business, she was also a Faculty Scholar for the School of Nursing in the College of Health at Clayton State in 2012 and 2013, and was also the University’s Commencement speaker in December 2011, giving her the unusual distinction of being the only individual to twice serve as Clayton State’s commencement speaker in the last 20 years.
During her eight years as mayor, the city experienced unprecedented growth and afforded Franklin the opportunity to partner and collaborate with many local and regional leaders in addressing policy challenges, which included urban planning, economic development and infrastructure. She is best known for advocating for and tackling major government operations and ethics reform, launching the Atlanta Beltline, planning and executing more than $5 billion in airport and water infrastructure improvements, leading the acquisition of the Morehouse College Collection of Martin Luther King Jr. Papers, launching the Regional Commission on Homelessness, and developing successful business and public sector partnerships and alliances.
Her signature youth program as mayor was the Mayor’s Youth Program, which provided internships and more than $6 million in financial aid to nearly 4,000 Atlanta college students.
Aside from her role as a public official, her community service spans nearly 40 years in Atlanta and includes her active participation in the arts, homelessness and higher education.
A native Philadelphian, she entered Atlanta city government as the Bureau of Cultural Affairs Director, so the arts remain dear to her. In addition to the many other initiatives she led, her leadership was critical on the annual city-sponsored Atlanta Jazz Festival, Percent for Art, Symphony in Park, NeighborhoodArtsCenter and the Bureau of Cultural Affairs grants program.
Franklin is a contributor to several books including, Leaders on Ethics, Real-World Perspectives on Today’s Business Challenges, Principles for a Successful Life, Megaregions-Planning for Global Competiveness, and Investing in What Works for America’s Communities.
Hill was first elected to the Georgia Senate from the 4th District in 1990 and was reelected in 2012 to his 12th two-year term. Senator Hill is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and also serves on the Natural Resources and the Environment, Regulated Industries and Utilities and Rules committees as well as ex-officio for the Finance Committee. Past chairmanships include: K-12 Education, Ethics and Higher Education.
He headed the Study Committee whose recommendations resulted in the expansion of the state’s jobs tax credit for economically depressed areas and authored a constitutional amendment that created regional industrial parks.
Hill also chaired a Study Committee that highlighted the plight of rural hospitals and led efforts to increase reimbursement rates through restructuring as “critical access hospitals.”
He has been a proponent of “early voting” legislation, which he introduced in 1999. Early voting was eventually passed as part of a package of election reforms.
He also successfully sponsored legislation requiring state government to take a leadership role in encouraging
recycling and sets goals for the purchase of recycled materials.