With the portrait, Yates will be honored for his continuous support of academic programs on campus, said Gerald Arkin, assistant provost of the Griffin campus.
“He’s been extremely supportive in terms of budget and funding of academic programs. He’s always had interest and support for this campus. (The portrait) is a recognition of that,” Arkin said.
Yates said he found out about the portrait last year from its painter, Jennifer Edwards of Brooks. Then the president of the University of Georgia, Dr. Michael Adams, told him that the portrait was going to be hung at the Student Learning Center.
“I considered it quite an honor that they want to do this,” said Yates, who was a major force in making sure that $1.2 million of the current state budget would be appropriated to the Student Learning Center.
Yates said his ties to education go way back, and he remembered when in 1930, at the height of the Great Depression, Spalding County voted on countywide school bonds, built grammar schools and bought eight school buses. This allowed him to begin pursuing an education that eventually led to a successful career.