Ernest Vandiver

As governor of Georgia from 1959 to 1963, Ernest Vandiver proved successful in fulfilling his campaign promise to remove the blight on Georgia. Under Vandiver’s capable leadership the legislature implemented sweeping changes in Georgia’s segregation policies and revised the county unit system for nominating officeholders. Without increasing the state’s tax base, Vandiver made significant improvements in the areas of services, building programs, tourism, business and industrial development, educational expansion, and mental health.

As part of his legacy, Vandiver served as the catalyst that propelled Georgia from the holds of a scandal-ridden “good old boy” network to an administration lauded for fiscal responsibility, honesty, and a progressive framework.

After leaving the governorship, Vandiver practiced law in Atlanta but eventually moved his business to his hometown of Lavonia. Also a farmer, he served as president of the Georgia Seed Company. From 1976 to 1977 he was president of the Independent Bankers of Georgia.