Lawyer and entrepreneur Juanita Powell Baranco, an LSU graduate who earned her J.D. from LSU Law in 1977, was inducted by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia Historical Society as a Georgia Trustee on Saturday, June 5.
Being inducted as a Georgia Trustee is the highest honor conferred by the State of Georgia, and Baranco received it during the first-ever televised broadcast of the Georgia Trustees Gala, which was livestreamed on the Georgia Historical Society YouTube channel.
Baranco, who grew up in Shreveport, is executive vice president and chief operating officer of Baranco Automotive Group in Atlanta. She founded the company with her husband, Gregory Baranco, in 1978. It was one of the first African American-owned car dealerships in the metropolitan Atlanta area, and the couple also owns several other car dealerships in Georgia and Louisiana. Along with her career in business, Baranco has also had a successful law career, including having served as assistant attorney general for the State of Georgia.
Baranco has generously shared her experience and expertise with LSU Law students through the years, and she has long been a passionate advocate for education. She has served as chairperson of the DeKalb County Education Task Force and as a member of the Georgia State Board of Education from 1985 to 1991. She was appointed by Georgia Gov. Zell Miller to the Board of Regents and in 1995 became the first African-American woman to chair the board. She served on the Board of Trustees of Clark Atlanta University for 20 years, including ten years as board chair. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Southern Company and previously served on the Board of Directors of Georgia Power Company.
In conjunction with the Governor’s Office, the Georgia Historical Society reestablished the Georgia Trustees in 2008 as a way of recognizing modern-day Georgians whose accomplishments and community service reflect the highest ideals of the founding body of Trustees. The original Georgia Trustees were a governing body chartered and appointed by His Majesty King George II of England in 1732 to establish a new colony in North America. They founded Georgia upon the principle of Non Sibi, Sed Aliis, “Not for Self but for Others.” The Governor annually appoints new Trustees whose history-making accomplishments and service reflect the original Trustees’ ideals. Baranco will be inducted along with David Abney, the former chairman and CEO of United Parcel Service.
“Given the dramatic events of this past year, I can’t think of two more appropriate people to induct as Georgia Trustees than David Abney and Juanita Baranco,” says Dr. W. Todd Groce, president and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society. “Both have overcome great adversity to reach the pinnacle of their careers; both have been visionaries who led by the example of their deeds as much as by their words. The positive impact they have had on those around them and their remarkable achievement in the face of great odds is a testament to how the values that unite us—hard work, perseverance, and a commitment to doing right and putting others first—are more powerful than the things that divide.”