"She's doing exceptionally well. She would have loved to have been here tonight but we felt, as a precaution, probably she shouldn't get in big crowds right now," Deal said. "This will be my last time to attend as the governor of this state. It's been a great time. We have enjoyed our service. We look forward to making sure that Georgia continues to be the best state in the country. I'm sure with these two new trustees, along with the ones who precede them, we're going to continue on that same path."
Following remarks from Jepson and Georgia Historical Society President and CEO W. Todd Groce, and dinner presented by executive chef Alison Houston, Georgia Historical Society Senior Historian Stan Deaton moderated a discussion between Bastian and Bowers that touched on culture, passion, philanthropy and the future.
"The evolution of energy is something that's keeping me engaged," Bowers said. "You will always have some type of electricity. Is it going to be a battery pack, a solar panel on the roof? What are you going to do in terms of backstopping all that in terms of infrastructure? The evolution of this technology is going to change."
Bastian did not predict a future of flying cars a la "The Jetsons" but rather newer, better, more fuel-efficient airplanes.
"We connect the world," he said. "The world needs that more than ever. It’s divided, it’s polarized. The mission that we fill in this world is honorable. Yes, we know that things go wrong from time to time. That’s what we train around. We don’t train for the days when it’s bright, sunny skies and all our flights are on time. We train for the difficult times."
Bastian and Bowers join present-day trustees: retired BellSouth CEO Duane Ackerman, longtime Georgia-Pacific CEO Pete Correll, retired Synovus
CEO James H. Blanchard, past Coca-Cola Company CEO Muhtar Kent, Shepherd Center co-founder Alana Shepherd, SCAD president and co-founder Paula Wallace, Atlanta Falcons/United owner Arthur Blank and his Home Depot co-founder, Bernie Marcus, past Augusta National chairman and Atlanta Olympic Games Atlanta Committee CEO Billy Payne, the late Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy, the late business leader Herman J. Russell developer, Tom Cousins, former Atlanta Mayor and United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, revered University of Georgia coach and athletics director Vince Dooley, former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron, media mogul and environmentalist Ted Turner, and Marguerite Neel Williams, a founding trustee of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.
"I love what this award stands for: 'Not For Self, But For Others,'" Bastian said. "When I think about Delta, I think about the man that founded this company almost 90 years ago, Mr. C.E. Woolman. He had a saying, 'If you take care of your employees, your employees will take care of your customers.' We still follow that to this day."