Franklin to be honored Saturday at Clayton State

MORROW — Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley C. Franklin will receive an honorary doctorate of public service from Clayton State University Dec. 7, as part of the university’s fall commencement ceremony, officials announced Monday.

Clayton State will hold two ceremonies to honor its graduates, the first at 9 a.m. and the second at noon. Both ceremonies will be held in the university’s Athletics Center.

Franklin will be honored at the noon ceremony and will also be the keynote speaker for that ceremony. The noon ceremony will present about 245 degrees to the graduates of the university’s colleges of Arts and Sciences, and Information and Mathematical Sciences.

The speaker for the 9 a.m. ceremony is state Sen. Jack Hill of Reidsville, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The 9 a.m. ceremony will present degrees to about 235 graduates of the university’s colleges of Business and Health.

Franklin is the Barbara Jordan Visiting Professor in Ethics and Political Values in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Franklin was elected the first black woman mayor of a major southern city in 2002 and served two terms. After she left office in 2010, Franklin was appointed to the William and Camille Cosby Endowed Chair at Spelman College and served until June 2011.

A frequent speaker on leadership, public policy and community engagement, having served more than three decades as an executive in government and business, Franklin was also a faculty scholar for the School of Nursing in the College of Health at Clayton State in 2012 and 2013.

She was also the university’s commencement speaker in December 2011, giving her the unusual distinction of being the only person to twice serve as Clayton State’s commencement speaker in the last 20 years.

Hill was first elected to the Georgia Senate from the 4th District in 1990 and was re-elected in 2012 to his 12th two-year term. Hill is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and also serves on the Natural Resources and the Environment, Regulated Industries and Utilities and Rules committees as well as ex-officio for the Finance Committee. Past chairmanships include K-12 Education, Ethics and Higher Education.

Hill headed the Study Committee whose recommendations resulted in the expansion of the state’s jobs tax credit for economically-depressed areas and authored a constitutional amendment that created regional industrial parks. Hill also chaired a Study Committee that highlighted the plight of rural hospitals and led efforts to increase reimbursement rates through restructuring as “critical access hospitals.”

Hill has been a proponent of “early voting” legislation, which he introduced in 1999. Early voting was eventually passed as part of a package of election reforms. He also successfully sponsored legislation requiring state government to take a leadership role in encouraging recycling and sets goals for the purchase of recycled materials.