Kemp makes appointment to Georgia Board of Regents after resignation

Don Waters, left, resigned his seat on the Board of Regents and will be replaced by Patrick Jones, right. HANDOUT

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Don Waters, left, resigned his seat on the Board of Regents and will be replaced by Patrick Jones, right. HANDOUT

A member of the Board of Regents, which oversees the University System of Georgia, has stepped down.

Don Waters, an investment company CEO who joined the board in 2013, resigned his seat representing Georgia’s 1st Congressional District.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced his departure Thursday. Kemp appointed Patrick Jones, a South Georgia business executive who has donated to the governor’s political campaigns, to fill the vacated spot.

Waters previously served as the board’s chairman. His current term was set to expire Jan. 1, 2025. He did not immediately respond to a call requesting comment.

Sonny Perdue, who with Waters’ support was named chancellor earlier this year, touted his accomplishments.

“Regent Don Waters throughout his life has championed the idea that knowledge and education allow students, no matter where they live in Georgia, to pursue their dreams and build a better life for themselves, their families, their community, and their state,” said Perdue, in a written statement.

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For more than two decades, Waters led Brasseler USA, Inc. which manufactures dental and medical instruments. He also has a background as an accountant and attorney.

He graduated from Armstrong State College, where his family endowed a college of health professions at what is now part of Georgia Southern University, and the University of Georgia School of Law.

His successor, Jones, has with his family and company donated about $54,000 to Kemp’s gubernatorial campaigns in 2018 and 2022, according to campaign finance records.

This election year, he’s given the maximum legal amount to Kemp. Jones, his family and companies have donated about $270,000 to Republican state candidates and causes in Georgia over the past decade.

Jones is a 1987 graduate of the University of Georgia, chairs the board of PrimeSouth Bank and is president of the Jones Co. and Walker Jones Automotive Group. He lives in Blackshear, Georgia.

Kemp said Jones brings “a wealth of experience as a leader in the private sector,” adding “he will help ensure our postsecondary education campuses continue to produce top talent for this state of opportunity.”

Reporter James Salzer contributed to this article.