On April 15, the first day of UGA Honors Week, more than 300 people gathered at the UGA Hotel and Conference Center for the 22nd Public Service and Outreach Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon.

Jennifer Frum, UGA vice president for public service and outreach, opened the meeting with the Annual State of PSO Address, in which she highlighted some clear themes about PSO’s contributions to the state and overall impact.

“Across everything we do, we make Georgia more prosperous and we empower people to improve their own lives,” said Frum. “Put another way, we take the university’s expertise and resources beyond campus into every corner of the state, helping to create jobs, develop leaders and address Georgia’s challenges.”

In 2012, PSO programs had an estimated economic impact of $337 million in the state and supported nearly 3,700 jobs.

Chris Cummiskey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, delivered the annual meeting’s keynote address, challenging Georgians to nurture employment and business opportunities, especially high-tech start-ups. These young businesses tend to take their talent elsewhere once they are becoming successful, Cummiskey said, while Georgia has as much to offer these entrepreneurs as places like Silicon Valley. He added that, a stronger partnership between universities and economic development efforts could help encourage fledgling high-tech firms to continue growing in Georgia.

During the Awards Luncheon, Frum presented the annual faculty, staff and community awards. This year for the first time, Public Service and Outreach and Georgia Trend magazine partnered to establish a new award called “Four for the Future” to recognize community collaboration, leadership and innovation.

Neely Young, publisher and editor-in-chief, joined Frum in the presentation of Four for the Future awards to Tybee Island and Chatham County, Dalton and Whitfield County, Ty Cobb Regional Medical Center, and Polk County and surrounding cities. Also recognized were the winners of Staff Awards for Excellence, Walter Barnard Hill Awards, the Engaged Scholar Award and the Walter Barnard Hill Fellow Award.

At the closing of the meeting, UGA President Michael F. Adams was recognized for his enthusiastic support of public service and outreach throughout his career with an honorary Hill Fellow Award, the university’s highest recognition for distinguished achievement in public service and outreach.

For more information about the meeting, including videos and a full list of award winners, visit the annual meeting page.