CAIRO — Teresa MacCartney has fond memories of growing up in Cairo. Those days laid the foundation of a career that has led her to become the acting chancellor of the University System of Georgia.
MacCartney was appointed as the acting chancellor by the Board of Regents while it looks for a permanent replacement for Steve Wrigley, who retired on July 1.
MacCartney is only the second woman to lead the USG. Corlis Cummings was the interim chancellor in 2005.
As the acting chancellor, MacCartney manages 26 public colleges and universities with a $9.8 billion annual budget, 48.000 faculty and staff and 341,000 students.
Board of Regents chairman Sachin Shailendra said the board is grateful that MacCartney accepted the interim role.
“As a member of the university system’s senior leadership team and a veteran public servant, she will keep a steady hand on USG’s progress as the Board finds the next chancellor …,” he said.
MacCartney said she understands what the board expects from her.
“The Board of Regents wants me to keep USG and our institutions focused on doing all we can to help more Georgians earn their college degrees,” she said.
“… As for specific responsibilities, the chancellor (permanent or acting) provides leadership to USG’s 26 public colleges and universities across the state. The chancellor executes on the vision of the Board of Regents and runs the University System Office, which supports all 26 institutions, the Georgia Public Library Service and the Georgia Archives.”
MacCartney graduated from Cairo High in 1995. Her parents still live in Cairo, and she has a sister who lives and works in Thomasville.
“It is always great to be able to go back home and visit family and friends,” MacCartney said.
“I have fond memories of growing up in South Georgia. I loved the tight-knit community and knowing everyone. I spent my childhood engrossed in different sports and loved the outdoors. I definitely miss seeing family, the slow pace, zero traffic and my favorite restaurant (Mr. Chick)”
MacCartney went on to Georgia Southern, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s in public administration.
MacCartney was the USG’s executive vice chancellor of administration since 2019. She was in charge of the day-to-day management of departments including cybersecurity, leadership and institutional development, economic development, legal affairs, organizational effectiveness, human resources, real estate and facilities, internal audits and safety and security.
Before working for the USG, MacCartney was the state’s chief financial officer as well as the director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget under Governor Nathan Deal.
The board has struggled to find a replacement for Wrigley, who announced his plans to retire in January.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, at least 17 candidates have been considered, including former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue.
Perdue, who was also the agriculture secretary under President Donald Trump, had been considered a strong candidate earlier this year. But his candidacy faced opposition from students, alumni, faculty and parents.
The AJC reported in May that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission, a regional accrediting agency, sent a letter to Shailendra warning that the search process should not be politicized.
MacCartney said she would not pursue the chancellor’s job.
“I am grateful for the board’s confidence in me to keep the system focused on its mission during this transition,” MacCartney said in an email interview. “However, I have no plans to pursue the position permanently.”
Kevin Price can be reached at 229-226-2400, ext. 1820