Board of Regents’ Scholarship & Awards Gala

2024 Award Recipients

Elridge McMillan Lifetime Achievement Award

Dan T. Cathy

Dan T. Cathy has been Chairman of Chick-fil-A, Inc., one of America’s largest family-owned businesses, since 2013. The son of Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy, Dan’s Chick-fil-A career began early. When Dan was just nine years old, he was already working as a company salesman, singing songs for customers and commercials for his dad’s Dwarf House ® Restaurant in Hapeville, Ga. 


Active in the Atlanta community, Dan is eager to serve his hometown by bringing people together and fostering new opportunities for those in tough circumstances. He is working to improve Atlanta’s Westside in partnership with other business leaders, nonprofits, charities and government agencies. A past chairman of The Carter Center’s board of councilors, Dan serves on the boards of the Georgia Aquarium, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Atlanta Committee for Progress, Eagle Ranch and Heritage Preparatory School. 


Dan holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Georgia Southern University and honorary degrees from Pepperdine University, the University of West Georgia, the HBCA Entrepreneur Summit, Anderson College and Carver Bible College. 


Dan and his wife Rhonda have six grandchildren and two sons, both of whom work in the family business. Andrew is CEO of Chick-fil-A, and Ross serves as vice president of DTC Enterprises. 


2023 Award Recipients

Elridge McMillan Lifetime Achievement Award

Philip A. Wilheit, Sr.

Philip A. Wilheit, Sr. was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal as a member of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia in January 2011, and he served for 11 years. He was elected as Board of Regent Chair in 2014. Wilheit also joined the board of the University System of Georgia Foundation in 2011, served 5 terms, and served as chair of the USG Foundation in 2017 and 2018, and President of the USG Foundation’s real estate portfolio manager, USG Real Estate Manager, LLC from 2019 to 2022.


He not only dedicated his time, talent, and service to the Board of Regents, the state of Georgia and higher education but also provided insight, auctioneering prowess, and philanthropy in generous support of the University System of Georgia Foundation, working to increase need-based scholarship aid to deserving students who would not otherwise be able to attend a public college or university in our state.


As a business leader, Mr. Wilheit joined Tom Wilheit Packaging Materials Company as a Vice President in 1966, upon graduating from The University of the South -“Sewanee”, with a Bachelor’s in English. When Wilheit Packaging was sold in 2021, he moved to his current role as Chairman of Wilheit Packaging, A Supply One Company. Mr. Wilheit is also Chairman of Gainesville Bank and Trust and Chairman of GBTB Bankshares. 


As a community member, Mr. Wilheit has served faithfully at both the local and state level, from Grace Episcopal Church, Gainesville Rotary Club, Greater Hall Chamber, Northeast Georgia Health Services Board, Lake Lanier Islands Authority, Brenau University Board of Trustees, Eagle Ranch Board of Advisors to the Georgia State Board of Education, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Fanning Leadership Center Board, Leadership Georgia Board. He also served as Statewide Chairman of Deal for Georgia, Deal Transition Team, Governor Perdue’s Education Transition Team, and he was appointed by Governor Perdue to Commission for a New Georgia and Georgia Economic Development Board.


Mr. Wilheit has been married to the former Mary Hart Keys of Greenville, S.C. for over 55 years. They have two children, Hart Payne (Jeff) and Philip Jr. (Addie) and four grandchildren.

Felton Jenkins, Jr. Hall of Fame Faculty Awards

(from left to right)

Dr. Jill Stefaniak (University of Georgia), Dr. Robert Bledsoe (Augusta University), Dr. Diana Gregory (Kennesaw State University), Dr. Steve Stuglin (Georgia Highlands College), Dr. Joanna Schwartz (Georgia College and State University), Dr. Beulah Narendrapurapu (Georgia Southern University)

Regents' Hall of Fame Alumni and Distinguished Friends Awards

(from left to right)

Robert F. Hatcher, Sr. (Middle Georgia State College), Major General Thomas Carden, Jr. (Georgia Southwestern State University), Rick and Sandy Bostelman (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College), Dr. Joseph Hobbs (Augusta University), Tyler Walsh (Georgia Gwinnett College), David Johnson (University of West Georgia)