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Honorary Degree Recipient Stacey Abrams

March 2017

stacey abramsStacey Yvonne Abrams is the House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly and State Representative for the 89th House District. She made history as the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly and is the first African American to lead in the House of Representatives. She serves on the Appropriations, Ethics, Judiciary Non-Civil, Rules, and Ways & Means committees.

Abrams attended Spelman College, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelors degree in interdisciplinary studies (political science, economics and sociology) and was named a Harry S. Truman Scholar. After Spelman, she received a masters degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Abrams returned to Atlanta as a tax attorney at the Sutherland law firm, with a focus on tax-exempt organizations, healthcare and public finance. At the age of 29, she was appointed as the Deputy City Attorney for the City of Atlanta, where she led the legal and policy analysis for several major economic development, transportation and transit projects and managed a multi-million dollar budget and a team of more than 20 attorneys and paralegals.

Fiercely independent and entrepreneurial, Abrams has also founded a number of businesses, including an infrastructure consulting firm, a technology company and a beverage company for infants and toddlers. Most recently, she co-founded and serves as senior vice president at NOW Corporation, a financial services firm that specializes in providing access to capital for small businesses.

First elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2006, Abrams quickly became known for her expertise and ability to explain complicated tax and legal questions, and she earned a reputation for working across party lines to pass legislation. In 2010, she became House Minority Leader and has led the caucus to promote and pass legislation to increase educational opportunity, promote economic security, and improve the quality of life for all Georgians.

In 2012, she received the prestigious John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, which honors an elected official under 40 whose work demonstrates the impact of elective public services as a way to address public challenges. In addition, she has received the Friend of Labor Award from the Georgia AFL-CIO and A-ratings from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. In 2014, Abrams received several honors and awards for her role as a public servant. Some of these honors include, but aren’t limited to, being: recognized nationally by Governing Magazine as one of the 2014 Public Officials of the Year and receiving the inaugural Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award from EMILY’s List.

Abrams serves on the Boards of Trustees for Agnes Scott College and Atlanta Metropolitan State College Foundation, the Board of Directors for the Gateway Center for the Homeless, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, the Board of Visitors for the University of Georgia, and the Advisory Boards for Literacy Action, Project GRAD and HSTAT – Health Students Taking Action Together.


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