President Keel: Wishing you a safe holiday weekend

Three people at podium
From left: Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD, and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp hosted a press conference July 2 at the Georgia Cancer Center.

Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD, shared a message to the university community ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend:

“Today marks the second day of fiscal year 2021, and we were pleased to spend part of it hosting Gov. Brian Kemp as he toured the state to encourage the use of face masks in public places, an important message for our campus as we plan for the start of classes in the fall,” Keel said.

“Thank you for all the great work your team has done early on, on the ground to lead the fight against COVID-19,” Kemp said during a press conference at the Georgia Cancer Center.

Keel continued: “Today’s visit also provided me the opportunity to express my appreciation to the governor for working with legislators and leaders across the state, especially the University System of Georgia, to finalize a budget that reflected fewer reductions than were originally predicted.

“In case you have not yet heard, the state budget, authorized on Tuesday, was reduced by only 10%. It is an impactful reduction, but far better than the 14% that was forecast just a few weeks ago.”

The Board of Regents approved the USG’s budget yesterday in a special called meeting. No furloughs were included in that budget.

“I met with the members of the President’s Cabinet this afternoon to talk about Augusta University’s budgeting strategy for the upcoming year,” Keel said. “Our finance team, led by Yvonne Turner, has done excellent work in meeting our financial obligations while aligning resources to advance our strategic priorities in enrollment growth, research, enhancement to campus culture and capital projects. As we move ahead with our planning for the fall, we must be mindful that changes in the state’s revenue picture or further required action in response to COVID-19 could result in budget adjustments later in the year. As a result, we will continue to be cautious in our financial management.”

Keel also included a message for the Fourth of July holiday.

“Finally, as we prepare for the long weekend to celebrate the 245th anniversary of America’s independence, it is clear that it will be a milestone year for us as a society. We are in the midst of many challenges, but I am grateful to all of the members of our AU community for their help in meeting these challenges,” he said.

“I wish each of you a safe and happy holiday weekend.”

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