Vince Dooley and Sonny Deriso Elected to Top Board Positions at 177th Annual Meeting of the Georgia Historical Society

Savannah, Ga., May 13, 2016 – The Georgia Historical Society has elected new distinguished officers and members of the GHS Board of Curators. The vote and announcement were made Thursday evening at the 177th Annual Meeting of the Georgia Historical Society.

Outgoing Board Chairman Robert S. Jepson, Jr. presided over the Annual Meeting, held in the Georgia Historical Society Research Center at Hodgson Hall. Vince Dooley, formerly the Vice Chairman, has been elected the new Chairman of the Board of Curators, effective July 1, 2016, for a two-year term ending in 2018.

“My time as Chairman has been richly rewarding,” said Jepson.  “Being Chair of the State’s Historical Society is a full-time commitment, but brings with it the joy of getting to know and work with Georgians all across this special state.”

“I am proud and excited but admittedly a little apprehensive to be elected Chairman of the Board of Curators of the Georgia Historical Society, said Dooley. “We are all indebted to Chairman Bob Jepson, who I am succeeding, for his dedicated service and leadership. His generosity with his time and resources has set a standard for us all.”

Vincent J. Dooley served as head football coach at the University of Georgia from 1964 – 1988 and as UGA director of athletics from 1979 – 2004. Born in Mobile, Alabama, he was an all-star football and basketball player at Auburn University, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Masters in History. After serving in the US Marine Corps he worked as assistant coach at Auburn before being named head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs in 1964. Coach Dooley is both an avid gardener and a dedicated student of history. He has been the recipient of most of the nation’s highest athletic honors, including the 2010 Bear Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes excellence in coaching on and off the field during a career, and the 2016 Wooden Citizenship Cup for having a positive influence on the lives of others.

The Annual Meeting also included the elections of Walter M. “Sonny” Deriso, Jr. as Vice Chairman, Thomas D. Hills as Treasurer and Thomas M. Holder as Secretary. All three have served previously as members of the Board of Curators.

Walter M. “Sonny” Deriso, Jr. is the Founding Chairman and a Director of Atlantic Capital Bank and Atlantic Capital Bancshares, Inc. Previously, Mr. Deriso served as Vice Chairman of Synovus Financial Corp and as CEO and director of Security Bank & Trust Company of Albany. Mr. Deriso graduated from Emory University with a BA in History and received his J.D. with Distinction from Emory University School of Law. Currently, Mr. Deriso is chairman of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, a Trustee of Emory University, and board member for Post Properties, Inc., Georgia Bankers Association, Foundation for the Methodist Children’s Home of South Georgia Conference, and Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

Thomas D. Hills retired from serving as State Treasurer for Georgia in November, 2011.  Hills previously served as the state’s first chief financial officer from June 2003 until September 2010, during the administration of Governor Sonny Perdue. In this capacity he oversaw the operations of 24 state agencies, authorities, and commissions; including the State Treasury, the Georgia Financing and Investment Commission, the Revenue Department and the Office of Planning and Budget. He currently serves on the boards of the state pension funds, the Georgia Financing and Investment Commission, the State Depository Board, the State Properties Commission, and the Georgia Building Authority. Hills’ professional memberships include the State Bar of Georgia and the Rotary Club of Atlanta, and he serves on the Advisory Boards of the University of Georgia Press and Lanier Holdings.

Thomas M. Holder has served as the Chairman and CEO of Holder Construction Company in Atlanta since 1997. A graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, he began at Holder in 1976 and held various operations and management positions before being promoted to President and CEO in 1989. His clients include The Coca-Cola Company, the University of Georgia, AT&T and Cox Enterprises. Continually active in community service, Mr. Holder has served as the Chairman on the Kennesaw State University Foundation Board of Trustees and has been a board member of the Woodruff Arts Center since 2006, where he chaired the 2007-2008 annual corporate campaign. He is also on the board of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation and a member of Atlanta Downtown Rotary.

Three new members were elected to the Board of Curators:

H. Jerome Russell moved through the professional ranks of H. J. Russell & Company’s construction & real estate development operations to his current position as President of H. J. Russell & Company and Russell New Urban Development, LLC, where his focus is on the firm’s strategic direction and new business development. He has been involved in the beverage distribution, consumer marketing, banking, construction and development business for over 25 years. In 1997, Jerome was named to the Board of Citizens Trust Bank and in 2005 was named Chairman of the Loan Committee at Citizens Trust Bank. He also serves on the board of H. J. Russell & Company, Concessions International, Metro Atlanta YMCA, American Kidney Fund, and Central Atlanta Progress. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute, Atlanta Rotary, Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Young President Organization and the 100 Black Men of Atlanta.

Clyde C. Tuggle is Senior Vice President, Chief Public Affairs and Communications Officer, for The Coca-Cola Company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in German Studies and Economics from Hamilton College and a Master of Divinity from Yale University.  He studied at the Ludwig-Maximillian Universität in Munich, Germany, and completed The Executive Program at the University of Virginia’s Darden Business School.  He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Agnes Scott College and a trustee of the Georgia Research Alliance.  He serves on the Boards of Directors of the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse, the US-Russia Business Council and the World Affairs Council of Atlanta.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Goizueta Business School Advisory Board and the Yale University International Advisory Board.  In 2013, Mr. Tuggle was elected a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow.

Philip Arthur Wilheit, Sr., is President of Wilheit Packaging, where he has worked for 50 years.  Born in Charlotte, NC, he moved with his family to Gainesville in in 1949.  He graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South  in 1966.  Wilheit currently serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, where he is a former Chairman, as Vice Chairman of the Brenau University Board of Trustees, and on the Gainesville Hall Development Authority where he has served for forty-one years as chair.  Additionally, Mr. Wilheit serves on the Richard Russell Board of Trustees, the J.W. Fanning Board of Trustees, and has chaired all seventeen of Governor Deal’s election campaigns.

The three join fellow Curators Vincent J. Dooley, Chairman, Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO, Walter M. “Sonny” Deriso, Vice Chairman, Thomas D. Hills, Thomas M. Holder, James H. Blanchard, (Ex-officio), Clayton Boardman III, Ellen B. Bolch, W. Paul Bowers, Dolly Chisholm, Erroll B. Davis, Jr., Reed Dulany III, Roy H. Fickling, Douglas J. Hertz, Phil Jacobs, John F. McMullan, Sam Nunn (Honorary), Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, Mark V. Smith, John A. Wallace, Don L. Waters, and Neely Young.

Chairman Emeriti are Robert L. Brown, Jr., Kay T. Hightower, Robert S. Jepson, Jr., Bill Jones III, Don Kole, Howard J. Morrison, Jr., Grace Greer Phillips, and Lisa L. White.

Departing from the Board of Curators are Robert S. Jepson, Jr., (Savannah); John C. Helmken, (Savannah) and Jackie Montag (Atlanta), who were honored for their contributions and many years of service to the Georgia Historical Society.