With the beginning of a new fiscal year July 1, the gavel of the Oglethorpe University Board of Trustees passes from Cameron Bready ’94, CEO of Global Payments, to Tammy Pearson ’86, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Chick-fil-A.
“Tammy Pearson has the ability to foster community and build relationships, a track record of strong leadership and a deep and abiding love for Oglethorpe,” said Interim President Kathryn McClymond. “I look forward to working with her to build upon the accomplishments we have achieved under Cameron’s leadership these past two years. We are grateful for his service and all that he did to ensure that Oglethorpe not only thrived but reached new heights in many areas.”
Originally from Rome, Ga., Pearson graduated from Oglethorpe in 1986 with a Bachelor of Business Administration, and her youngest daughter graduated in May 2022 with a business degree.
“I am excited to serve the students, faculty, staff, alumni and trustees of the university that so richly invested in me and my daughter,” Pearson said. “Oglethorpe is a special place that prepares students in personal and enriching ways to ‘Make a Life, Make a Living, Make a Difference.’ It is a dynamic university that draws you in and makes you want to be a part of changing people’s lives for the better. I love Oglethorpe University and I hope to be able to contribute to its current and future strategies.”
Oglethorpe has a special place in Pearson’s heart because she said she learned to think critically and challenge the status quo as a student here. She also learned to challenge herself and ask more of herself and others. She learned to set clear goals, find mentors and reach higher, especially when she encountered obstacles.
“I wish more people could see how much the students grow during their time at Oglethorpe,” Pearson said. “They grow, not only academically, but, thanks to the supportive staff, faculty and alumni, they develop a valuable network, both in Atlanta and across the country. For example, we have alumni working for leading companies like Coca-Cola, Chick-fil-A, UPS, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Home Depot who actively mentor and recruit Oglethorpe students.”
After Oglethorpe, Pearson went on to earn her law degree from Emory University School of Law. She began her career as a law clerk for Federal District Court judge the Hon. Howard Schwartzberg in New York. She went on to work at the New York firm Weil Gotshal and Manges before returning to Atlanta as an associate at Kilpatrick Stockton.
She spent five years at Hunton & Williams where she earned partner before joining Chick-fil-A where she has served for 23 years.
“I value the relationships that I had with faculty who encouraged me to reach farther with my personal and professional goals, ultimately helping me decide to continue to law school,” Pearson said. “I also appreciated the opportunity to grow in my knowledge of the business community by, among other things, participating in the co-op program and working a semester at IBM.”
As chair, one of Pearson’s highest priorities will be to ensure that the board is collaborating with university leadership to build upon and execute the university’s new strategic plan. Specifically, she hopes that the board can help increase alumni engagement and philanthropy, student retention rate, and both undergraduate and MBA enrollment, while maintaining a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. She also hopes to increase national and global awareness of Oglethorpe as a leading liberal arts university.
“While Oglethorpe is heading in the right direction, there is still a lot of work to do,” Pearson said. “I am truly fortunate that Chick-fil-A is supportive of its employees giving back to our communities in a meaningful way. In addition to Chick-fil-A supporting me and other OU alumni as we give our time and talents to the university, they are also supportive from a financial perspective.”
Pearson hopes that her fellow alumni and other university supporters continue to give of their time, talent and treasure by attending events, volunteering to serve on various advisory boards and councils, or becoming a mentor to a student. She and other board members will also be focused on increasing alumni giving and attracting other philanthropic support.
“I think Dr. McClymond is doing a wonderful job as our interim president,” Pearson said. “As Oglethorpe continues its upward trajectory, her focused, steady and insightful leadership will allow us to continue to build upon a solid foundation. She and the entire leadership team are laser-focused on achieving the goals of the university. I’m truly excited about all I know we will achieve in the coming year.”
The complete list of the Oglethorpe University Board of Trustees is available online.