President Cathy Cox headshot in front of the pergola

Cathy Cox became Georgia College & State University’s 12th President on October 1st, 2021. Prior to joining Georgia College, Cox served as Dean for Mercer University School of Law from 2017 – 2021 and served as president of Young Harris College for a decade prior to that. A native of Bainbridge, Georgia, Cox’s distinguished career in law, education, politics, and journalism embodies what it means to have a “liberal arts” background.

Having first pursued an interest in cultivating plants, Cox earned her associate’s degree at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia, before turning her attention to journalism at the University of Georgia where she graduated summa cum laude. Writing for The Times of Gainesville and The Post-Searchlight of Bainbridge, Cox would cover local area crime and the courts, inspiring her to pursue a degree in law. She served as editor-in-chief for the Mercer Law Review before graduating magna cum laude from Mercer Law School. Cox practiced law in her hometown of Bainbridge and in Atlanta for 10 years, during which time she was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. She subsequently broke new ground in her election as Georgia's Secretary of State, becoming the first woman in Georgia’s history to serve in this Constitutional office.

During her term as president of Young Harris, the small private liberal arts college garnered a reputation for excellence, growing from a two-year to a four-year institution. Cox was recognized for her work in 2017 with the Young Harris College Medallion and was named an honorary alumna. In 2020, she was named Georgia’s Woman Lawyer of the Year by the Middle Georgia Chapter of the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers.

Cox is a graduate of Leadership Georgia and the recipient of Leadership Georgia’s prestigious J.W. Fanning Award for progressive leadership and service.  The National Collegiate Athletics Association appointed Cox to represent university chancellors and presidents of Division II schools across the country on the NCAA’s Academic Requirements Committee in 2022. She has served on a number of civic, philanthropic, and business organizations and boards and is a prolific thought leader, delivering scores of keynote speeches and presentations and conducting media interviews on a wide range of topics spanning her expertise in higher education, law, politics, and election law and integrity.  Cox is married to attorney Mark Dehler.