Leonard Moreland, one of Clayton State University’s longest and most loyal supporters, and a former chair of the Clayton State University Foundation, was honored by the Board of Regents (BOR) of the University System of Georgia (USG) on Saturday, Mar. 28 at the Board of Regents Salute to Excellence, held at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
Moreland’s long-standing and deep commitment to education, and his extraordinary support of the Clayton State University Foundation, brought Moreland one of three, first-time awards from the annual Salute to Education -- recognition as an honoree of the Regents Awards for Excellence in Education.
This marks the first time the BOR has honored distinguished friends of USG institutions at the Salute to Excellence, which was previously an annual alumni awards ceremony. However, the University System Board of Trustees decided this year to expand the awards to include friends of institutions who have made a significant contribution and impact.
Moreland’s citation for the award reads in part, “a longtime champion of Clayton State University, served twice as the Clayton State University Foundation chair. Moreland was the initial chair of the investment committee and nominated Heritage Bank to be the first member of Clayton State’s Corporate Partners program. Additionally, he was key in establishing the Clayton State University Professors program and was the initial funder.”
A native of Morrow and a graduate of Morrow High School, Moreland is the President and CEO of Heritage Bank, Moreland joined that organization as Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and Director of the bank and its parent, CCF Holding Company in 1996. In 2001 he was promoted to President of the Bank and in January 2006, he became President and CEO.
Moreland and Heritage Bank have long joined with Clayton State to realize a mutual vision for the future. However, the relationship is far beyond your typical corporate partnership – new friendships have been forged; friendships that will last a very long time.
His civic activities include serving on the Advisory Board of the Clayton State University School of Business; on the Clayton State University Foundation Board, as chairman of the CSU Real Estate I, LLC, chairman of the Clayton State University Foundation Investment Committee and as a manager of LLC II. As a devoted supporter of the Laker athletic programs, Moreland has also served as a member of the Athletic Director Search Committees.
In addition, he gave a moving speech as the keynote speaker at the 9 a.m. ceremony for Clayton State’s Spring 2014 Commencement, a speech one long-time observer of Clayton State graduations proclaimed as, “the best commencement address in the past 20 years.” After sharing a few details of his own passage through higher education, a tale that included admitting he had failed to make either the NBA or the major leagues, he spoke about diplomas, dreams, and how to fulfill those dreams.
“There’s a common characteristic for all of us; where to look for the answers,” he said, referring first to diplomas. “Let me give you a hint… you are the answer. In the end, you did this, and no one will be able to take this away from you.
“This diploma will open a lot of doors, you have to find the doors, and risk making a mistake. Step through the door, the rewards are on the other side.”
As a long–time member of the Clayton State University Foundation, and one of the University’s most loyal supporters, Moreland knows very well that Clayton State is the place where dreams are made real. He turned to “Dreams Made Real” in his conclusion.
“I hope you will take the opportunity to step through that door,” he said. “On the other side of that door will be a community with dreams of its own. You will have the awesome opportunity to make those dreams become real, as you have made your own dreams come real.”
Elsewhere in the community, he is treasurer and director of the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce along with being a member of the Eagles Landing Christian Academy Ministry Team and the Eagles Landing First Baptist Church Foundation. Moreland and his wife Kay have one daughter and reside in Jonesboro. They are members of Eagles Landing First Baptist Church of McDonough, Ga.
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Photo Caption: Friends of USG institutions honored at Saturday’s Regents Awards for Excellence in Education. From left to right; Luck Flanders Gambrell, for her support of East Georgia State College, Dr. John Burson III, for his support of Georgia Tech, and Leonard Moreland for his support of Clayton State University.