Gov. Perdue on campus‚ promotes ethical leadership

Gov. Sonny Perdue says everything he’s learned about leadership‚ he has learned from parenting.

Georgia (May 16, 2003) — Gov. Sonny Perdue says everything he’s learned about leadership‚ he has learned from parenting.

"Leadership and ethics go hand–in–hand‚" Perdue‚ a father of four‚ told a group of education‚ government and community leaders assembled at the KSU Center April 11. "Leadership cannot exist without ethics; it’s a way of living that guides choices."

Perdue’s comments came as part of a Summit Conference on Developing a New Generation of Leaders for North Georgia‚ hosted by the RTM Center for Leadership‚ Ethics & Character.

During his address‚ Perdue talked about learning morals‚ ethics and honesty from his father‚ a Houston County farmer.

"I learned you keep your word no matter what‚" the governor said. "Even when it’s economically painful."

Instilling those kinds of values in future graduates is exactly what CLEC is all about‚ according to Director Judy Stillion. There is a fundamental shift occurring in higher education today‚ one that seeks a return to character education‚ and Kennesaw State University‚ along with its sister institutions in North Georgia‚ are riding the crest of this wave.

"There is a question about whether we‚ in higher education‚ can teach character lessons‚ but even if we can’t teach character‚ we can certainly teach students what the consequences are for unethical behavior‚" she said. "Who do you think turned out the CEOs of the Enrons and WorldComs? We did. In the past‚ we have focused too much on the bottom line at any cost."

Another of the Summit’s highlights was a panel discussion that featured seven university presidents‚ including Kennesaw State President Betty Siegel‚ Dalton State College President James A. Burran‚ Berry College President Scott Colley‚ North Georgia College and State University President Nathaniel Hansford‚ Reinhardt College President J. Thomas Isherwood‚ Floyd College President J. Randolph Pierce and Shorter College President Ed L. Schrader.

Each of the presidents outlined several different leadership programs on their respective campuses‚ many of which revolved around community service.

NGCSU President Hansford said there are many opportunities on college campuses to learn about leadership‚ and that institutions of higher learning need to do a better job promoting them.

"I think one thing we can improve in our colleges and universities is to get students more involved on campus‚ in organizations like student government‚ where students can learn and lead at the same time‚" he said.

While academia wrestles with how best to instill the values of ethical leadership in the next generations of community leaders‚ Berry President Scott Colley offered a simple comparison.

Quoting Aristotle‚ Colley said‚ "The qualities of a good leader are the same qualities of good citizens."


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit