In 1732, King George II of England created The Georgia Trustees. Led by General James Oglethorpe the Trustees’ adopted as their motto, Non Sibi, Sed Aliis, “Not for Self, but for Others.” Inspired by this noble sentiment, these visionaries dreamed of a place in the New World where the deserving poor would receive a second chance in life. They turned that dream into reality when on February 12, 1733 they established Georgia, the last English colony in the North America and the only one founded with a philanthropic purpose.

On Feb. 13, 2016, another great visionary will receive the state’s highest honor when Governor Nathan Deal and the Georgia Historical Society induct Muhtar Kent, Chairman of the Board and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, as a modern-day Georgia Trustee. Like the Trustees of old, Muhtar Kent exemplifies the leadership qualities that have not only established Coca-Cola as the industry leader on the world stage, but also made this iconic brand an intricate part of the American and global  fabric.

Learning the business from the ground up, from stocking store shelves to riding in delivery trucks, laid the foundation for Kent’s relationship with the company and its products. From the macro to the micro, Kent knows when to take calculated risks, and how to read the customers who purchase the product. As he puts it, “that critical moment is when the product and the dollar change hands.”

He believes that Coca-Cola has a deep obligation to be a model corporate citizen. Under his leadership, the company works with bottling partners and customers to create economic value in the state, while also contributing to educational programs, supporting the arts, and leadership in the effort toward environmental sustainability. 

The Georgia Historical Society and the Office of the Governor are pleased to honor Muhtar Kent as a Georgia Trustee. Kent models daily the vision, passion, and selfless qualities that ensure a brighter future for all of Georgia’s citizens. As a living embodiment of the motto of the original Trustees, Not for Self, but for Others, his proven leadership of one of Georgia’s flagship companies makes him eminently deserving of the title, Georgia Trustee.

W. Todd Groce is president and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society.