In one of his first speeches to the University of Georgia campus in 1998, President Michael Adams talked about making the campus one of the top public institutions in the country.
He told students, staff and faculty that he wanted to broaden the university's focus from regional to national, capitalizing on the strengths of the state's flagship campus.
"We are a far more academically superior institution than is suggested by rankings," he said. "The people of Georgia deserve a flagship research institution every bit as good as that of the people of California or Michigan or Virginia. This is not a place that will settle for second best."
Sixteen years later, Adams is retiring having accomplished that. UGA consistently ranks among the top 20 public research universities in the country.