Leadership Georgia Announces 2022 Award Recipients

Staff Report

Wednesday, November 16th, 2022

The Leadership Georgia Board of Trustees today announced the recipients of the organization’s most prestigious awards, presented to Georgians who exemplify the principles of Leadership Georgia and whose impact through leadership and stewardship has helped shaped communities and the state. 

“Each year, our Board recognizes outstanding Georgians who use their time, talent and resources to help improve lives across our great State,” said Chairman Charlie May.  “We continue to be humbled that for the past fifty years Leadership Georgia has earned the support of so many leaders in key positions and industries in Georgia. Our 2022 honorees exemplify the spirit of service that drives true progress and we hope shining a spotlight on their contributions will inspire others to follow their example.” 

The honorees – Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Boggs; State Representative Calvin Smyre; Fran and Russell Smith; and Rogers Wade – will be officially recognized during the Leadership Georgia Annual Alumni Awards Gala on November 12 at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center in Columbus, Ga. 

The annual black-tie event draws hundreds of alumni and guests, and helps support the organization’s programs, enabling Leadership Georgia to continue its fifty-year legacy of developing and inspiring leaders from all walks of life and all corners of Georgia. 


The J.W. Fanning Award: Chief Justice Michael Boggs, Supreme Court of Justice

An award presented in memory of J.W. Fanning to a Georgian whose statewide contributions through progressive leadership and service have been broad in scope and rich in achievement. 

Chief Justice Michael Boggs has served as a justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia since 2016. He previously served as a Judge on the Court of Appeals of Georgia from 2012 through 2016, as a Superior Court Judge for the Waycross Judicial Circuit from 2004 to 2012, and as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2000 to 2004. 

In 2004, Justice Boggs founded the Waycross Judicial Circuit Drug Court Program, served as its Presiding Judge, and served as a member of the Judicial Council of Georgia’s Standing Committee on Accountability Courts. Boggs later co-chaired the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Council from 2012 to 2018 and currently serves as a member of the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission, where he serves as chairman of the Mental Health Courts and Corrections subcommittee. 

Chief Justice Boggs also serves as Vice-Chairman of the Judicial Council of Georgia and as a member of the Mercer University Board of Trustees, the Mercer University School of Law School Board of Visitors, and the Board of Directors of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. 

Chief Justice Boggs was raised in Waycross and earned his undergraduate degree from Georgia Southern College and his Juris Doctor degree from Mercer University School of Law. Presiding Justice Boggs lives in Pierce County with his wife Heather, a kindergarten teacher in the Ware County public school system. 

The E. Dale Threadgill Community Service Award: 

Representative Calvin Smyre, Georgia General Assembly

An award presented in honor of E. Dale Threadgill to Leadership Georgia members who have taken the principles learned in Leadership Georgia and put them to work in their communities. 

State Representative Calvin Smyre is a business executive, state legislator, community and national leader, and member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 1978.

His career path has taken him from being a community organizer and director of the “War on Poverty” program in Columbus to serving as Executive Vice President, Corporate External Affairs, Synovus Financial Corp. 

Elected at the age of 27, he is now the “Dean” of the Georgia General Assembly. As a 46-year legislative veteran, he has served on the most important panels of the House: Appropriations, Rules and Higher Education. Rep. Smyre has a distinguished legislative record which includes

authoring the legislation making Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday a state holiday and legislation creating the Georgia Dome, home of the Atlanta Falcons. He was also instrumental and a co-sponsor of the historic legislation creating a new Georgia State Flag and the HOPE Scholarship Program.

Smyre is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Morehouse School of Medicine; Teen Challenge: Columbus State University Foundation; the Columbus Museum and Fort Valley State University Foundation.  He is also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity; Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity; the Boy Scouts of America and a life member of the NAACP and SCLC.  Nationally, he is President Emeritus of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) and a Past President of the NBCSL Foundation.

Born in Columbus, Representative Smyre earned his B.S. degree from Fort Valley State University and holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degree from the Morehouse School of Medicine. 

The Frederick B. Kerr Service Award: Fran & Russell Smith

An award presented in memory of Frederick B. Kerr to Leadership Georgia members who have demonstrated enthusiastic and active support of Leadership Georgia on a continuing and consistent basis. 

Fran and Russell Smith were members of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2014 and served as program chairs for the Brasstown program in 2016.  

Russell Smith later served on the Board of Trustees from 2018-2021, chairing the Selections Committee.  

The Smiths have been consistent in their enthusiastic support of Leadership Georgia, donating their time, talent and treasure to strengthen our statewide leadership organization.  Whether through their financial generosity, connecting alumni from different classes, or consistently nominating strong applicants for the program, the Smiths' unwavering support of Leadership 
Georgia is exemplary and a model for alumni engagement and its long-term impact.  

The Smiths live in Braselton and have three children. 

The Horace J. and Michelle Johnson Distinguished Public Service Award:

Rogers Wade

An award presented in memory of Horace J. Johnson and in honor of Michelle Johnson to Leadership Georgia members for overachievement through participation and contributions to Leadership Georgia while managing commitments of public service and non-profit careers.  Its recipients embody the leadership principles of unity, innovation and mentorship.

T. Rogers Wade is the senior partner of Capitolink, Inc. and Chairman of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

A co-founder of Leadership Georgia in 1972, Wade has been an active member of the Georgia business and political community for over 50 years. His career includes prior tenures as Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Herman Talmadge, Chairman of Governor Nathan Deal’s Transition Team and advisor to nearly half of the Fortune 100 companies located in the United States and Europe.

Wade’s past board memberships include the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, Georgia Research Alliance, U.S.O., Fanning Leadership Institute, Richard B. Russell Foundation, Governor’s Defense Initiative, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Gordon College Foundation, P.A.G.E. Foundation, Georgia Trucking Association and the School of Engineering at the University of Georgia. 

Rogers is a graduate of the University of Georgia, where he met and married his late wife of over half a century, the former Marcia Bryan of Tampa, Florida. He currently resides in Athens.