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Michael Thurmond to deliver School of Social Work convocation address

Posted May 3, 2017
Reported by: Laurie Anderson,

Michael Thurmond
Michael Thurmond

Athens, Ga. -- Michael Thurmond, chief executive officer of DeKalb County, will deliver the School of Social Work convocation address on Friday, May 5 at 2:00 pm in Grand Hall 8 at the Classic Center in Athens.

A respected figure in Georgia government, Thurmond is known for improving public education and building programs that lift people out of poverty. The son of a sharecropper, in 1986 he became the first African American since Reconstruction to be elected from Clarke County to the Georgia General Assembly. While in office he authored legislation focusing on tax relief for senior citizens and working families. He later directed the state’s Division of Family and Children Services, where he created an innovative program which helped welfare-dependent Georgia families move into the workforce.

Thurmond’s public service career includes three terms as Georgia labor commissioner and an appointment as superintendent of the DeKalb County School District, the third largest in the state. During his tenure as superintendent, the district upgraded its accreditation status, eliminated a multi-million dollar deficit and improved student academic performance and graduation rates. Just prior to his current position, he was an attorney at Butler, Wooten, Cheeley & Peak, LLP, a nationally known civil trial practice.

As CEO of DeKalb County, Thurmond leads one of the state’s most populous and diverse metropolitan constituencies. His priorities include improving water systems, roads and other public infrastructure, providing job training opportunities for youth, and improving race relations.

A popular speaker and author, Thurmond holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religion from Paine College and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law. His book Freedom: Georgia’s Antislavery Heritage, 1733-1865, was listed by the Georgia Center for the Book among The 25 Books All Georgians Should Read.

After the address, the school will hold a ceremony to individually recognize and honor more than 200 students who have earned degrees in four programs: Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Social Work, Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, and Doctor of Philosophy. For more information, visit or contact Trelle Turner at (706) 542-5420 or