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Shirley Franklin joining LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin, Texas

By Maria Saporta

Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin will be splitting her loyalties between Atlanta and Austin.

The University of Texas in Austin announced that Franklin has joined the LBJ School of Public Affairs as the Barbara Jordan Visiting Professor in Ethics and Political Values.

In a Facebook posting Tuesday, Franklin wrote: “I am proud to be joining the University of Texas-Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs as the Barbara Jordan Visiting Professor……..Atlanta will be my home most of the time but it is an honor I simply could not pass up.”

Franklin already is beginning to forge ties with the LBJ School. On Jan. 31, she will introduce former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young at the second annual Tom Johnson Lectureship hosted by the LBJ Library. She also is scheduled to serve as the keynote speaker for the 17th annual Barbara Jordan Forum on Feb. 19.

“We are so very pleased at this tremendous opportunity to learn directly from one of the nation’s most respected former mayors,” Hutchings said. “Franklin embodies the spirit, passion and dedication Barbara Jordan demonstrated Franklin will serve as a visiting professorin the areas of ethics, political values, city government, sustainable urban development and the role of women in politics.

In a statement, Franklin said: “I am privileged and honored to join the distinguished faculty at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. I have long admired the work and life of Barbara Jordan as a legislator, orator and courageous defender of justice and human rights. This opportunity allows me to work with students who will continue the legacy of service and leadership that Barbara Jordan inspired.”

Franklin served as mayor of Atlanta from 2002 to 2010. She was the first woman to hold the post and became the first African American woman to be elected mayor of a major city in the South.

Her public service career began in 1978 when she served as the commissioner of cultural affairs under Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson. She was later appointed city manager, becoming the first female chief administrative officer of a major U.S. city.

As city manager, Franklin was responsible for nearly 8,000 city employees and guided the development of Hartsfield International Airport, a new city hall, a new municipal court building and thousands of housing units.

In 1991 Franklin joined the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG), serving as senior vice president for external relations. In this position she was instrumental in the development of the Centennial Olympic Park and served as ACOG’s primary liaison with labor unions, civil rights groups, neighborhood and community organizations, and environmentalists.

Franklin was named Governing magazine’s 2004 Public Official of the Year. In 2005, Time magazine named her one of the top five mayors in the country, and U.S. News and World Report named her one of America’s best leaders. Esquire magazine named her one of the best and brightest, and American City & County magazine named her Municipal Leader of the Year. In 2005 Franklin received the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. In 2006 she was honored with the Southern Institute for Business and Professional Ethics’ Ethics Advocate Award. In 2007 Newsweek magazine named her one of the women to watch in their Women & Power issue.

Franklin will continue to serve as board chair CEO of Purpose Built Communities and as a member of the board of directors of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

The Barbara Jordan Visiting Professorship is funded through the Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values, an endowment created in 1997 to promote training in ethics and values-based decision-making.

Barbara Jordan’s legislative career began with her election to the Texas Legislature in 1966. Jordan’s victory made her the first African American woman to serve in the Texas Senate and the first African American elected to that body since 1883. From 1979 until her death in 1996, Jordan served as a distinguished professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, holding the Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy.

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.


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