The state Board of Regents signs off on the appointment of retired US Army Colonel Mike Shannon as the next president of the University of North Georgia. Shannon, who has worked most recently as an administrator at Georgia Tech, will replace retiring UNG president Bonita Jacobs, who steps down from the job she has held since 2011.
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia voted today to name Dr. Michael P. “Mike” Shannon as the sole finalist for president of the University of North Georgia.
Shannon, a retired U.S. Army officer, currently serves as interim executive vice president for Administration and Finance and interim chief business officer at Georgia Tech.
Outgoing President Bonita Jacobs, who has led UNG since 2011, previously announced plans to retire in June 2023.
“Dr. Shannon’s nearly three-decade career in the military, as a researcher and in higher education has demonstrated tremendous leadership and effective communication while building solid relationships with his colleagues, peers and students,” USG Chancellor Sonny Perdue said. “Mike likes to say he leads from the front and then gets out of the way, and I believe his deep experience and energy make him an ideal candidate to help students, staff and faculty at UNG build on the great success they found with President Jacobs.”
In his role as a member of Georgia Tech’s executive leadership team, Shannon is responsible for strategic leadership and operations. He oversees administrative functions such as human resources, finance and budget, information technology, facilities and infrastructure, capital planning, campus security and emergency response. Prior to his interim role, he was the university’s vice president and deputy chief business officer.
Shannon has also led several initiatives designed to build a student-centered focus in Administration and Finance and ensure Georgia Tech is an employer of first choice for veterans of the U.S. armed forces. He has served in numerous faculty, leadership and advisory roles, including as a research faculty member and principal investigator in the Advanced Concepts Laboratory at the Georgia Tech Research Institute.
“UNG is a special place, with five diverse campuses and a unique mission as the Military College of Georgia and one of only six senior military colleges in the nation,” Regent Jim Syfan, who chaired the UNG Presidential Search Committee, said. “I want to thank the presidential search committee members for their work in finding strong candidates to lead the university and know both the committee and the board were impressed by Mike’s vision, background and knowledge that made him an ideal finalist to lead UNG forward.”
Shannon served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army for 20 years, retiring in 2015. After operational Army service as an Infantry and Signal Corps officer with assignments in the 82d Airborne Division, the 35th Signal Brigade (18th Airborne Corps) and the 2nd Infantry Division, he was selected to serve as a U.S. Army Nuclear and Counterproliferation officer.
For over 10 years, he provided leadership and technical and operational expertise to the U.S. Department of Defense as an expert in nuclear technology issues and later held leadership assignments with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Shannon also served at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point during two different leadership assignments, as an instructor and later as an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Nuclear Engineering. At West Point, he was actively engaged in teaching and research along with several activities in support of cadet and Army officer development.
“I am so incredibly honored to be considered to serve as the next president of the University of North Georgia,” Shannon said. “The tradition, the character and the impact of this historic institution are unmatched. UNG’s students represent the best of Georgia and the best of America. The Senior Military College is unique, special and a national asset. UNG’s programs make a difference for Georgia. UNG has it all and I am so excited to team with UNG’s students, the UNG Corps of Cadets Boar’s Head Brigade, the faculty, and the staff to move UNG into its next chapter. Go Nighthawks!”
A native of New Jersey, Shannon is a first-generation college graduate and was commissioned through Army ROTC. He holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. He also holds a master’s in health physics as well as a Ph.D. in nuclear and radiological engineering from Georgia Tech.
Shannon continues to serve veterans’ causes, is an active member of his church and is a coach for multiple local youth sports programs. He and his wife, Jessica, a U.S. Air Force veteran, met while they were both assigned to Fort Gordon, Georgia. They are the proud parents of four children. The Board of Regents will take action on the position at a future board meeting, no sooner than five days from naming a finalist.
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