W. J. Usery, Jr. Fellowship

Each year, the Office of Leadership Programs awards the W. J. Usery, Jr. Fellowship to a Georgia College student.
Atkinson Hall

The W. J. Usery, Jr. Fellow

Katherine Smith

Katherine Smith is the W. J. Usery, Jr. Fellow. Mrs. Smith is a bachelor of business administration candidate, studying management information systems in the J. Whitney Bunting College of Business & Technology. She is an alumna of the Leadership Certificate Program and of Leadership Georgia College. 

Katherine smith headshot

About the Fellowship

The fellowship is named for W. J. Usery, Jr., 15th United States Secretary of Labor. Usery served in the cabinet of President Gerald R. Ford, leading the U.S. Department of Labor in 1976 and 1977. A distinguished negotiator with an international reputation for overcoming impasses and creating mutual benefit, Usery mediated some of the most difficult disputes of the twentieth century. Seen as a formidable but fair negotiator, Usery commanded broad respect in Washington and across the private sector. He received five presidential appointments to national service, from both Republican and Democratic administrations.

The fellowship is supported by Melvin and Lisa ’72 Usery and the Kim Usery Foundation to support excellence in leadership for the public good. The purpose of the fellowship is to recognize leadership that brings people together, bridging divides and spanning boundaries; finds value in diverse new perspectives; and showcases innovations in leadership and service, particularly related to creating mutual benefit in civic life.

Fellowship Details

In order to honor students at Georgia College who devote special efforts to leadership for the public good, the Georgia College Office of Leadership Programs will name annually an Usery Fellow. Nominees will be evaluated on the basis of their potential for civic and public leadership, giving particular attention to the following:

  • Thoughtful commitment to leadership that creates mutual benefit in civic life and that serves the public good.
  • Demonstrated commitment to connecting the academic life of the university to questions of leadership and citizenship, civic affairs, and public life.

Award recipients should maintain ambitious academic agendas and demonstrate potential for continued scholarly achievement. The award carries a $400 award to support the fellow’s academic and research pursuits. The Usery Fellowship funding award will begin in the subsequent academic year. Any expenses must comport with the purposes of the award and with the Georgia College Foundation’s expenditure policy. Usery Fellows will contribute to the intellectual life of Georgia College’s Leadership Programs, particularly through the biannual Usery Forum on Leadership. A member of the Leadership Faculty will serve as a mentor during the fellowship and will meet on a regular basis with the fellow.

Expectations and Fellowship Activities

The W. J. Usery, Jr. Fellow will:

  • Provide intellectual and academic leadership to the Georgia College Office of Leadership Programs, including its constituent programs, services, and initiatives. In collaboration with the staff and the Leadership Faculty, the Usery Fellow will help to establish the annual research and public service agenda for Georgia College’s Leadership Programs. That work will include identifying relevant topics for exploration and questions to be answered through our forums, the Leadership Ideas Festival, and TEDxGeorgiaCollege. The Usery Fellow will collaborate with the staff and Leadership Faculty in identifying prospective speakers and guests to invite to Georgia College.
  • The Usery Fellow will represent the Office of Leadership Programs at university events and at public events. The fellow will assist in hosting and convening public events, including the Usery Forum on Leadership and at other public service and research events and activities.  
Requirements and Conditions for Eligibility

Any member of the Georgia College student body is eligible for nomination and selection to the fellowship, provided he or she is expected to maintain full-time enrollment in the following fall and spring terms at the university. Nominees should hold a minimum 3.3 grade-point average and maintain good academic standing, as defined by the university registrar, and abide by the Georgia College Honor Code.

Nomination and Award Process

In the spring of each year, the Office of Leadership Programs will invite nominations from among the Leadership Faculty for the Usery Fellowship. The call for nominations will include a description of the fellowship, including the requirements and conditions of eligibility, and will specify the timetable for receipt of nomination letters. The director of leadership programs will invite student nominees to submit application dossiers, including a letter of application and a resume/CV. A review committee, appointed by the director, will review applications and identify the Usery Fellow.

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