Finalist chosen to be next University of North Georgia president

Michael P. Shannon has been named the sole finalist for the presidency at the University of North Georgia.

Credit: University System of Georgia

Credit: University System of Georgia

Michael P. Shannon has been named the sole finalist for the presidency at the University of North Georgia.

A top administrator at Georgia Tech is the sole finalist for the presidency of the University of North Georgia.

The Georgia Board of Regents on Wednesday announced it has selected Michael P. Shannon for the post following a national search. The board will vote to make the appointment official at a future meeting.

The 18,000-student university, with multiple campuses including one in Dahlonega, seeks a new leader because longtime President Bonita Jacobs plans to retire next month. Jacobs has led the school since 2011.

Shannon, a retired U.S. Army officer, is Georgia Tech’s interim executive vice president for administration and finance and interim chief business officer.

Sonny Perdue, chancellor of the University System of Georgia, touted his credentials in a written statement.

“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,” Perdue said in a statement.

Shannon is poised to take on the presidency as the university, like many of Georgia’s public colleges, is dealing with enrollment declines and tightening budgets.

The University of North Georgia’s enrollment fell by nearly 5% from fall 2021 to fall 2022, according to state numbers. The school said in March it had prepared about $8 million in budget cuts, including not renewing contracts for several non-tenure track faculty members, for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

This spring, the school warned that a $66 million state funding decrease, spread throughout the University System, would have a “further impact” on staffing, services and teaching budgets.

The University of North Georgia’s share of that state funding decrease is just over $1 million, according to Board of Regents documents released earlier this month.

At Georgia Tech, Shannon has led business-related operations such as human resources, finance, information technology, facilities, campus security and emergency response.

His military background aligns with University of North Georgia’s designation as one of six senior military colleges. Shannon, in a written statement, described the school as a “unique, special and a national asset.”

Shannon was commissioned through the Army ROTC, holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. At Georgia Tech, he earned a master’s in health physics and a doctorate in nuclear and radiological engineering.

He provided technical and operational expertise in nuclear technology issues for the U.S. Department of Defense, according to the University System.

The University System said Shannon was “actively engaged in teaching and research” at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he was an instructor and also an assistant professor in the physics and nuclear engineering department.

He retired from the Army in 2015 after serving for two decades.