City of Cumming Mayor and Council — biographies

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City of Cumming Mayor and Council — biographies

Post by Nydia Tisdale » June 13th, 2013, 6:00 pm

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City of Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt

Post by Nydia Tisdale » June 13th, 2013, 6:05 pm

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H. Ford Gravitt

First elected Mayor in 1970
Served as Councilman 1969-1970 [sic]
Native to Cumming Georgia
Born on the 2nd day of January, 1942

Welcome to the Internet Web Site of the City of Cumming Georgia. We will be in the process for quite some time of developing this site to the desired level of communication. Our ultimate goal is to provide needed information in the areas of utilities, planning, recreation, employment opportunities, law enforcement, festivals, history, future plans, and of course to promote the City of Cumming. We appreciate your interest and request your patience as we strive toward the finished product.

Reflecting upon the thirty-one continuous years in office as Mayor of the City of Cumming, Ga., I feel honored to have had the opportunity to lead the city during these years of unparalleled growth, change and challenge.

For this administration to view accomplishments in the area of infrastructure and recreation and claim credit for these successes might seem justifiable. However, we fully acknowledge the fact that it had been the cumulative work of all the former Mayors along with their respective Councils, through step-by-step planning that brings our town to the pinnacle of excellence our citizens enjoy today.

With regard to the crisis our nation has recently experienced and the patriotism that has rejuvenated itself, is is encouraging to reflect that the City of Cumming has been mindful of its patriotic duty all along, acknowledging lives that have been lost in the name of liberty, and realizing the significance of the American Flag and the glory it deserves. This is a good town with fine people and I am honored to be Mayor

I would like to thank the Citizens of Cumming and City Employees for their confidence in this administration and on behalf of the entire city council pledge a continued commitment to the success of this town and its people.

H. Ford Gravitt
Mayor

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City of Cumming Councilman Quincy Holton

Post by Nydia Tisdale » June 13th, 2013, 6:10 pm

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Quincy Holton
City Councilman
First elected in 1969

Native of Cumming and Forsyth County, born May 30th, 1936. 35 years continuous service as Councilman. Retired from Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation with 40 years service to the company. Councilman Holton and his wife, Shirley have two children, Gary and Nina and five grandchildren, Casie, Courtney, Syndey and Nick.

When asked what message he would like to send to his constituents and those who might visit the city's web site, he responded as follows:

Many good things have been accomplished for our town over the past 30+ years. I feel that our greatest strength is that we work as a team. Sure there are differences of opinion as their should be, but we strive diligently to work out those differences and in the end do what is best for the town and its people.

These are the projects I find to be of long-lasting effect and ones in which I have been directly involved:

  • • No City levied property taxes since 1986
    • State of the Art Recreation and Parks Program that serves the City and the County
    • Downtown Streets scapes which improved the traffic flow, beautified the town and gave our people a sense of pride.
    • The City Hall which has been built to meet the needs of this municipality for the next century.
I am honored to serve as Councilman, and I will continue to work for the best interest of the people of Cumming.

Quincy Holton
Councilman

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City of Cumming Councilman Lewis Ledbetter

Post by Nydia Tisdale » June 13th, 2013, 6:15 pm

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Lewis Ledbetter
City Councilman
First elected in 1970

Native Cumming, Forsyth County Georgia, born on June 23rd, 1939. 33 years continuous service as City Councilman. Self-employed in printing business for 47 years. Presently owner/manager of Cumming Printing

Councilman Ledbetter and his wife Barbara have two children, Lori and Matthew; three grandchildren, Tripp, Jack and Charlie.

When asked what message he would like to send to those who have elected him and visitor to the web site, he responded as follows:

I love the City of Cumming, its citizens and all the employees who work to help make this an efficiently run municipality. I am most proud that the City has always operated with a positive attitude and sought ways to make things happen as opposed to finding an excuse why something could not be done. My wish for the City is that we will continue in this positive manner and continue to reach for excellence for our town and its people meeting every challenge as a new opportunity.

Lewis Ledbetter
Councilman

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City of Cumming Councilman Ralph Perry

Post by Nydia Tisdale » June 13th, 2013, 6:20 pm

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Ralph Perry
City Councilman
First elected 1979

Native of Cumming, Forsyth County, Georgia. Born on September 7th, 1941. Ralph has retired from Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation. Ralph has served the City of Cumming as Councilman for 25 continuous years. Councilman Perry and his wife, Joyce have two children, Tim and Cindy. They also have three grandchildren, Hillary, Sam and Caroline. Grayson (Granddaughter deceased).

When asked what message he would like to send to those who have elected him and visitors to the web site, he responded as follows:

I believe we live in the greatest country in the world today and we live in the best part of that country here in Cumming, Forsyth County, Georgia. It is indeed an honor and privilege to serve the people of Cumming as their City Councilman.

Ralph Perry
Councilman

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City of Cumming Councilman John D. Pugh

Post by Nydia Tisdale » June 13th, 2013, 6:25 pm

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John D. Pugh
City Councilman
First Elected 1993

Native of Cumming, Forsyth County, Georgia. Born on October 19th, 1931. Local Businessman for 51 years - 14 years with Wilson and Company and 36 years as partner in Pugh Brothers Garage. Councilman Pugh and his wife, Jean have one daughter Marsha and two grandchildren, Kristi and David.

When asked what message he would like to send to those who have elected him and visitors to the web site, he responded as follows:

The people of this town have been good to me all my years in business and during my terms as an elected official. I will continue to serve this community as long as I can be of effective service and by their vote elect me to do so.

John D. Pugh
Councilman

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City of Cumming Councilman Rupert Sexton

Post by Nydia Tisdale » June 13th, 2013, 6:30 pm

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Rupert Sexton
City Councilman
First Elected 1970

Fifth generation Native of Cumming, Forsyth County, Georgia. Born on April 25th, 1938. Councilman Sexton is a U.S. Army Veteran,1961 - 1963, and has been an agent with Cotton States Insurance for the past 20 years. Prior to becoming an agent with Cotton States Councilman Sexton was in auto sales in the North Georgia area for 22 years. Councilman Sexton and his wife, Joyce has four children: Pam, Angie, Kim and Jason, and four grandchildren: Brandon, Ashley, Macy and Anna and one great grandchild: Jackson Emory Hubbard.

When asked what message he would like to send to those who have elected him and visitors to the web site, he responded as follows:

Thanks to Cumming's citizens, greatest on earth, for allowing me to serve as a member of the Cumming City Council for 73% of my adult life. You have allowed me to be a part of the building of the first recreation park in Cumming and Forsyth County, to be a part of the planning of the expansion of a state of the art water and sewer infrastructure, see two new City Halls Built (1974 & 2002), assist in the restoration of the Cumming Historic Cemetery, Cumming Historic School and Downtown Streets scape Project, Veterans War Memorial, Cumming Country Fair and Festival, Heritage Village and be an integral part of the establishment of the Veterans Alliance and Sawnee Mountain Honor Guard. The one accomplishment that makes me most proud is that for 22 years the City has continued to increase in excellence without the burden of property taxes on its residents. I feel fortunate to be a Councilman for the City of Cumming and will proudly serve as long as my constituents elect me.

Rupert Sexton
Councilman

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City of Cumming Mayor and Council — years of service

Post by Nydia Tisdale » June 14th, 2013, 8:00 am

The City of Cumming is a municipal corporation duly organized in the State of Georgia. It is governed by a Mayor and a five-member Council who are elected city-wide by Post, each serving 4 year terms.

The Town of Cumming was first charted by the State of Georgia in 1834, and in 1845 a second charter was issued designating The City of Cumming as Mayor and Council form of government.

Mayor H. Ford Gravitt was first elected to the office of Mayor in 1970, taking office in January 1971. This will be his 42nd year as the Chief Elected Official of the City of Cumming. Mayor Gravitt also served four years as City Council Member prior to becoming Mayor making his total public service 46 years.

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Council Member Quincy Holton was first elected to office in 1968, taking office January 1, 1969, making this his 44th year as Council Member.

Lewis Ledbetter was first elected to office in 1970, taking office January 1971, making this his 42nd year as Council Member.

Ralph Perry was first elected to office in 1978, taking office January 1, 1979, making this his 42nd [sic] year as Council Member.

John D. Pugh was first elected to office on July 14, 1992, serving the remaining term of Gabriel Dukas who died while in office, making this his 21st year as Council Member.

Rupert Sexton was first elected to office in 1970, taking office January 1971 making this his 42nd year as Council Member.

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City of Cumming Mayor Henry Ford Gravitt

Post by Nydia Tisdale » June 15th, 2013, 10:00 am

Mayor Gravitt of Cumming, GA — Oral History


City of Cumming Mayor Henry Ford Gravitt was elected mayor in 1970.


Henry Ford Gravitt, Mayor of Cumming, GA
Interview by Bruce Logan, Forsyth Index
Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce Breakfast
March 28, 2006

GRAVITT: My father was a farmer. He was what I called a mixed farmer. I can remember in 1948, I was just a little kid, my father got a load of produce, farm vegetables and everything to carry to Atlanta, Georgia to the farmer’s market. We’d go down Highway 19, which is the main route from here to Atlanta, Georgia. There was no traffic in 1948, smooth sailing. And so after he sold out all the goods down there, then we’d come back. We’d leave Atlanta, Georgia to come back to Cumming about 11 o’clock in the night. From the time we left the City of Atlanta at 11 o’clock, we got back to Cumming, we didn’t meet the first car. No traffic. I can remember that trip seeing the streets dug up in Atlanta, Georgia. Now this, this is 1948. And I go back today and it’s still dug up.
LOGAN: How old were you?
GRAVITT: Six year old. I can, and I go back today and they’re still tore up. So, it’s never ending. Perpetual motion. You’ve got to keep progressive government going. All the infrastructure and everything. It never ends.
LOGAN: What did your grandfather do?
GRAVITT: My grandfather was an entrepreneur. He had the first ice plant in Cumming, Georgia, in Forsyth County on the courthouse square where Sal’s restaurant is. That’s Sal’s Pizza Place. My grandfather had a old ice plant there. He had these big ammonia vats where he froze the blocks of ice. And he had 200-pounds blocks of ice. He had delivery service where he’d tear down out in the community to put in the ice box because nobody had electricity here. The only electricity was right here at the center of town. As a kid growing up. Very rural. So we’d freeze those 200-pounds blocks of ice. And the delivery truck would go around and you’d have a small ice box, you’d need a 25-pound block of ice. Well it had grooves in that ice and you’d take your ice pick and go around a 25-pound block would come out. If you had a bigger ice bucket, you’d need a 50-pound block of ice. You’d went around the groove and got you a big amount and put in in the ice box. That lasted you a week. The next week you’d go around and —
LOGAN: When did the first Gravitt come to the country?
GRAVITT: Early 1700’s that I can remember, that I’ve gone back to, but I haven’t traced it all the way back. Early 1700’s to the late 17— my family, yeah.
LOGAN: Where did they come from?
GRAVITT: Like I said, my family came from Germany. I think the ancestors were German descent.
LOGAN: Do you know where?
GRAVITT: I don’t know what town, no. I don’t know where in Germany, but I think it was in Germany.
LOGAN: And what was the evolution of the Gravitt family when they first came to —
GRAVITT: Well they were mostly all farmers. Some of them were entrepreneurs. Some of them obviously served in the Civil War in the North, some of them served in the South. They were fighting against each other.
LOGAN: What did the do in the Civil War?
GRAVITT: Well obviously they tried, the ones that were in the South, tried to defend the territory you know and tried to keep the, uh, Yankees, uh, Imperialists from burning the homes and taking the cattle. That was one of big things that the Civil era is, whenever the, Sherman marched through the area, they, uh, they would, they were —
LOGAN: Well they swept the area.
GRAVITT: They swept the area and as far as Cumming. The troops, some of the troops came through and burnt the homes and barns and this kind of thing and took the cattle. They took what goods they had to live on, but, uh, as far as, uh, as far as them camping out in every standing Cumming I, because this was very rural at the time. Very, very rural.

My father passed away, at 13 years old. I was 13. There was nine of us in my family. I was the eighth children of nine. I was the only one left home with my mother. Had three brothers that was in the military. Two of them in the Army, served in the Korean conflict and one of them was in the Navy in the Philippines. I was the only one left home with my mother at that time. So I had felt like an obligation to work and help support my mother. My mother never drove a car. She’d always looked after us kids and she was basically after my father passed away, the provider. Didn’t have a public job, farmed on the farm.

And so Mr. James Otwell, he was my mentor and he was a state representative at that time and also had the Chevrolet dealership which is still Andean Motor Company today. His son, James Otwell III, runs the Chevrolet dealership. He give me a job actually working after school and so forth in the body shop and I worked on with him for 24 years. Uh, he passed away in ’73. Then I went in business for myself and I was altogether in the automobile repair business for 42 years.
LOGAN: Did you have a repair shop?
GRAVITT: I did. I had a repair shop,
LOGAN: What was the name of that?
GRAVITT: Ford’s Body and Auto Service.
LOGAN: Located where?
GRAVITT: Located right next to the Chevrolet dealership and it’s still in operation known as Cumming Collision. I lease it out.
LOGAN: Just behind it?
GRAVITT: Yeah, right there beside it. So that’s my business. I lease it out. After my late wife passed away, I retired from that business and spend most of my time looking after the city affairs, being a mayor, finishing up 41 years.
LOGAN: What is your first activity in public service?
GRAVITT: My first activity was working on a local campaign for the local sheriff which was Boyd Barnett running for sheriff. And I worked on his campaign to get the eighteen-year-old’s in to vote. So that was my first experience.
LOGAN: What was your first office that you run for?
GRAVITT: My first office was City Council. Then I was elected on the city council when I was twenty-two-year-old. I was —
LOGAN: In what year?
GRAVITT: That was in 1964. I was the youngest city councilman in the United States at that time in 1964.
LOGAN: Was that —
GRAVITT: I served two terms on the city council and then ran for mayor. And I served, I’m finishing up 37 years as mayor.
LOGAN: Did you win your first — ?
GRAVITT: I won my first term. I won my second term and then ran for mayor in 19 and 70 and was elected and served as mayor ever since.
LOGAN: Are you the longest serving mayor in Georgia?
GRAVITT: That, uh, I, that’s been recorded, the longest service, serving mayor. We have a unique situation in the City of Cumming, Georgia. We’re the only municipal government in the State of Georgia that provides a level of services that we provide like Street Department, Water Department, Sewer Department, Park and Rec department, the various departments that we provide. All the services we provide the City of Cumming, we don’t have a city-assessed property tax in the City of Cumming. The only city in the state of Georgia.
LOGAN: That’s a tremendous service. No other posts?
GRAVIT: No, I’ve had the opportunity on many occasions. All of my life four years
LOGAN: When is your next election?
GRAVITT: This year.
LOGAN: When?
GRAVITT: This November.
LOGAN: Yes. When do you start working on your campaign?
GRAVITT: Well if I run again, you start about three months prior to the campaign —
LOGAN: Have you decided yet?
GRAVITT: I haven’t decided. You know, I work, I’ve been honored by the people, have a long history in government and worked hard at it. It’s been my life.
LOGAN: You’re young yet.
GRAVITT: I’m older now.
LOGAN: No you’re not. How old are you?
GRAVITT: Sixty-five New Year’s.
LOGAN: If you didn’t run, what would you do with your time?
GRAVITT: Well, I have grandkids you know now.
LOGAN: Yes.
GRAVITT: And I have three children myself you know and I like to spent a lot of time doing that. And my personal business, my personal rental business I have and that takes up a little time. So I’d have some time to spare.
LOGAN: Do you have an email address?
GRAVITT: I do, but I don’t use it and I don’t even know what the number is.


Uploaded on Jan 24, 2009
Produced by Forsyth Index

Elected mayor of Cumming, GA in 1970.

Mentor James Otwell, Andean Chevrolet, Now run by son.
1964 elected City Council. 2 terms. Youngest City Council member in U.S.
Elected Mayor 1970
37 years as mayor (2007)

First elected Mayor in 1970
Served as Councilman 1969-1970 [sic]
Native to Cumming Georgia
Born on the 2nd day of January, 1942

Forsyth High School Classmates
Lanier Bagwell
Douglas Sorrels, Clerk of Courts (retired)
Donald Major, City Administrator (retired)
Best of friends. Dated same girls.

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Resolution recognizing Cumming City Council & Mayor Gravitt

Post by Nydia Tisdale » June 16th, 2013, 6:00 pm

Senate Resolution 828

Senators Jack Murphy of the 27th
and Chip Pearson of the 51st
January 14, 2010
10 LC 94 1757

A RESOLUTION

Recognizing and commending the Cumming City Council and Mayor Ford Gravitt; and for other purposes.

WHEREAS, the City of Cumming has a long history and tradition of talented and dedicated leaders, including Mayor Ford Gravitt and members of the Cumming City Council; and

WHEREAS, after serving on the Cumming City Council for four years, Mayor Gravitt took the oath of office as mayor on January 1, 1971; and

WHEREAS, the City Council has a wealth of experience with members having served the City of Cumming for decades, including Quincy Holton for 41 years, Rupert Sexton and Lewis Ledbetter for 39 years, Ralph Perry for 31 years, and John D. Pugh for 18 years; and

WHEREAS, the Cummings Fairgrounds were established in 1995 and host several annual events, including the Cumming Fair and Festival, an 11 day extravaganza with over 125,000 attendees; and

WHEREAS, in 1999, the city acquired the Cumming 1923 Historic School which was named to the National Register of Historic Places and provides a historic tour of Old Cumming through photographs, annuals, and historic artifacts; and

WHEREAS, in October, 2002, the City of Cumming dedicated a beautiful new 50,000 square foot city hall that was acquired with no outstanding debt; and

WHEREAS, over the past several years, the city has completed various projects that have improved water quality and efficiency for Cumming residents, including the expansion of a water reclamation facility, the completion of an elevated water tank, and the construction of a new water intake facility; and

WHEREAS, for the past 25 years, the City of Cumming has not assessed property taxes, making it the only chartered municipal government in this state to provide high quality services with no property taxes and stand debt free; and

WHEREAS, it is evident that the City of Cumming has prospered and become a model city of efficient government, and the diligent work of the city councilmembers and the mayor is worthy of recognition.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE that the members of this body commend the mayor of the City of Cumming and the city councilmembers on their selfless, effective, and dedicated public service.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of the Senate is authorized and directed to transmit an appropriate copy of this resolution to Mayor Ford Gravitt and the City of Cumming City Council.

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City of Cumming, Georgia

Post by Nydia Tisdale » June 21st, 2013, 4:00 pm

City of Cumming

100 Main Street
Cumming, GA 30040-2499
Phone:(770) 781-2010
Fax:(770) 205-0069
www.cityofcuming.net

Elected Officials
Mayor H. Ford Gravitt
Council Member Quincy Holton
Council Member Lewis Ledbetter
Council Member Ralph Perry
Council Member John Pugh
Council Member Rupert Sexton

Other Officials*
City Manager Gerald Blackburn
Asst. City Manager Steve Bennett
City Attorney Dana Miles
City Clerk Jeffery Honea
City Planner Scott Morgan
Public Works Director A. Lindsey
Street Supt. A. Lindsey
City Engineer Nolan Johnson
Purchasing Agent Brenda Swanson
Fire Chief Quincy Holton
Utilities Supt. Jonathan Heard
Wastewater Supt. Jimmy Andrews
Information Technology Contact Shad Faulkner
Parks & Recreation Director Greg Little
Municipal Court Judge Richard Neville
Personnel Director Phil Higgins
Downtown Manager Linda Heard
Code Enforcement Everett Thompson
Water Supt. Jonathan Heard
Municipal Court Clerk April Martin
Police Chief Casey Tatum
*Functional titles only. Actual titles may vary from city to city.

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AJC: Cumming’s incumbents go on — and on

Post by Nydia Tisdale » November 6th, 2013, 5:30 pm

Aging Cumming incumbents running unopposed — again

“She tried to get me opposition,” Gravitt said. “With all the press and all the encouragement from the activists we have, they couldn’t get anybody to run against us.”

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The video, which can be viewed on YouTube, prompted two lawsuits against the mayor, claiming he infringed upon Tisdale’s right to record a public meeting.

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Video prompted two lawsuits against the mayor

Post by Nydia Tisdale » November 6th, 2013, 11:01 pm


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Longest-serving mayor in Georgia

Post by Nydia Tisdale » May 26th, 2014, 7:00 pm

Cumming mayor, council sworn-in



Officials first elected more than 45 years ago

Forsyth Herald
By Aldo Nahed
January 27, 2014

CUMMING, Ga. — H. Ford Gravitt, the city of Cumming's mayor, entered his 43rd year of service, further solidifying the title of longest-serving mayor in Georgia.

Gravitt, along with Councilmember Rupert Sexton, who was first elected in 1970, and Councilmember Quincy Holton, first elected in 1969, were sworn-in Jan. 21 by Cumming Municipal Court Judge Richard Neville.

Prior to being elected mayor in 1970 (his term began 1971), Gravitt, 72, served a term as a member of the Cumming City Council.

That’s a total of 46 years in office.

“I pledge to the people of Georgia and Forsyth County to work hard now as I did all those years ago,” Gravitt told attendees of the swearing-in ceremony. “We’ve got a lot of projects on the drawing board that we plan to work on, and we have a great council that any city would be proud to have.”

Holton, 77, is a Cumming native who retired from Sawnee Electric Membership Corp. after 40 years. Sexton, 75, is a fifth-generation Cumming native and army veteran with past auto sales and insurance sales experience.

Gravitt, who has served about 1,600 days in office, says he has never missed a meeting.

“I’ve been lucky from the standpoint of being healthy,” Gravitt said. “Back when I first ran for public office, I didn’t plan to make it a lifetime career.

“I went in and felt like a young teenager, and now I’ve got to be an old man,” Gravitt said. “But I haven’t always been in politics – I was in the automobile repair business for 44 years in addition to this, so it hasn’t always been politics over the years; but I’m proud to have served the people of Cumming and Forsyth County and the state, and I’m vigorously awaiting the challenge ahead.”

Some upcoming challenges the mayor and council will be faced with include the repair of a dam that burst near Lake Lanier last year, ongoing construction of a new courthouse, parking decks and jail in downtown Cumming and Nydia Tisdale, a video camera activist, who was told to stop video recording a public meeting in April 2012. The state attorney general and Tisdale have filed separate lawsuits against the city. For its part, city leaders say they acted within their rights.

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UNG Honors Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt

Post by Nydia Tisdale » January 3rd, 2015, 9:00 am

UNG Honors Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt

The University of North Georgia raises $1 million for student scholarships at the annual Scholarship Ball held at the Forsyth Convention Center in Cumming.

Cumming Patch
By Edie Rogers
March 31, 2014

... During the ball, UNG President Bonita Jacobs presented the Presidential Leadership Award to Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt, who has served in that role since 1970.

"Tonight, we have the privilege of honoring a very special leader who is known for 'making things happen.' With vision and determination, he led Cumming and Forsyth County officials and community leaders in efforts to bring higher education to this community," Jacobs said. "As a result of his perseverance, UNG will increase the educational attainment of students in this community and help our region continue to prosper."

For almost 20 years, Gravitt led Cumming and Forsyth County officials and community members in efforts to bring higher education to the area. In 2011, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved the project; the building, with a capacity to serve around 1,000, opened in August 2012 with more than 500 students enrolled. This spring, enrollment in college courses exceeded 650 at the Cumming Campus, including students pursuing all levels of degrees, from associate to graduate.

In accepting the award, Gravitt remembered those who had influenced his life – from his mother, who raised nine children alone after Gravitt’s father died, to his "biggest cheerleader," wife Carolyn. Gravitt has endowed a UNG scholarship to honor his wife, and one to honor his alma mater, Forsyth County High School.

"It’s been a long ride and I’m one of the luckiest persons in the room tonight," Gravitt said, also thanking mentors who guided him into politics and supporters who have encouraged him to remain a public servant for almost 50 years. "I couldn't have done all of the things that have happened in Cumming and Forsyth County without the help of a lot of people."

FULL STORY ON LINK.

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