Coles College Names Hall of Famers


Valery Voyles, Shelby Wilkes honored as 2018 inductees

KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct 11, 2018) — Local business leaders and Kennesaw State University supporters Valery Voyles and Shelby Wilkes were honored Wednesday as the 2018 inductees into the Michael J. Coles College of Business Hall of Fame.

The Coles College Hall of Fame recognizes business leaders who promote and embody personal integrity, leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit. In a ceremony at Kennesaw State, Voyles and Wilkes were lauded for their commitment to innovation, community service and global engagement, elements at the heart of the College’s mission.

Coles College Hall of Fame

“Congratulations to Valery and to Shelby,” said Kathy Schwaig, dean of the Coles College of Business. “Both are great friends to the Coles College and to KSU, and they are both passionate about educating and inspiring the next generation.”

Voyles developed a passion for the automotive industry at a young age, learning the business from her father Ed Voyles. In 2004, she became chair and CEO of Ed Voyles Automotive Group, one of the oldest and largest automotive groups in the metro Atlanta area.

In recognition of her leadership, Voyles has won the Cox Family Enterprise Center Family Business of the Year Award, been named one of the 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry by Automotive News, and been nominated for Time magazine’s Dealer of the Year Award. Voyles also supports several local causes, including serving on the boards of the Shepherd Center Foundation and the Cumberland Academy, partnering with the United Way each year and providing sponsorship to the Cobb County and Marietta City School Districts.

“Valery has supported educators in Cobb County for years through her generosity and advocacy,” Schwaig said. “She also is a great champion for Kennesaw State and higher education. With a servant’s heart, Valery is always ready to impact the lives of others for good.”

Wilkes, a vitreoretinal surgeon and scientific researcher, established Atlanta Eye Consultants and has been practicing for 37 years. Wilkes has published numerous articles and spoken around the world about retinal diseases, and he was the principal investigator of the first statewide diabetic retinopathy screening study performed in the United States.

Wilkes earned his Master of Business Administration from the Coles College in 1998 and has remained involved by serving on the Coles College Diversity Committee, helping establish the International Business Fellowship Program, creating several endowed scholarships, being active in the Black Alumni Society and formerly sitting on the Coles College Advisory Board. In the community, Wilkes is a member of Capitol City Bank’s Advisory Board, a deacon at Zion Hill Baptist Church and the current president of the Georgia State Medical Association.

“Shelby impacts young lives through supporting and leading a number of higher education boards,” Schwaig said. “Shelby leads by example and has long been a mentor to me. His guidance is always student-focused, strategic and insightful.”

Established in 2015, the Coles College of Business Hall of Fame now includes 12 members. Voyles and Wilkes join previous inductees Michael Coles, Jack Dinos, Connie Engel, Gene Henssler, Tom Hughes, Harry Maziar, Lee Rhyant, Doug Shore, Kerstin Valdes Benden and Mark Wilson.

– Paul Floeckher

Photos by David Caselli


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