Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Kipp Mullis is a second year MPA student, also working full-time for the University of Georgia Division of Marketing and Communications as a senior marketing professional.  He currently handles several roles, many of which involve institutional policy compliance and support. Mostly, he works with campus personnel to understand access to and usage of trademarks following policy and visual identity style guides.  He loves it.

Kipp spent his formative years in South Georgia, in the little town of Eastman in Dodge County, below the gnat line, where unsweetened tea is a sacrilege, and a punishment of sitting on the porch snapping peas with elderly aunts in the summertime is a gold-mine of family lore, gossip, and self-reflection.  He was “Muscles’ boy”, standing in the shadow of his father’s athletic and romantic prowess from days gone by.  But sitting on those porches, and in the barbershop on Saturday mornings, listening to adults talk, it wasn’t hard to see the core of that little town beginning to hollow out. Young people left for Macon and Atlanta and family farms, sweltering in the sun, were finding it harder and harder to find relatives to whom to be passed down.

But as young men do, he also fell under the lure of bigger cities and more excitement. Kipp attended and graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Advertising.  Atlanta called with a career at big city advertising agencies, marketing blue chip clients through strategic media planning and placement.  He couldn’t run to it fast enough. But twenty years of soul crushing deadlines and semi-unrealistic expectations on turnaround times, changing media landscapes, and ridiculous traffic was enough.

Taking a position with the university changed his perspective.  Building on his marketing and advertising background, policy development, interpretation, and compliance opened a door that he really loved. Helping colleagues to understand the value of compliance and supplying practical solutions to get to “yes” was fulfilling.  And Athens was a great “big little” town.  It reminded him of his South Georgia hometown, but thriving and growing, not the hollowed-out streets, the closing businesses, or the scattered families he had seen.

It was there that two roads converged.

As an MPA candidate, Kipp seeks to better understand the mechanics of local governance, policy development, and economic development to support the revitalization of once thriving rural and small-town communities. There is much to grow here in Georgia.  Businesses are considering our state in greater numbers, and the possibility of providing homes and jobs to young families seeking to know the charms of small towns, backyard gardens, pastures that each the horizon, and the drone of cicadas on a dazzlingly hot summer’s day, is very exciting.

Kipp looks forward to graduating in Spring of 2026, the oldest in his cohort.  Starting act 3 of his career, he hopes to inspire others to continue to be active and vital in any role that they have.  Finally, Kipp is beginning to enjoy his three sons’ realization that he’s not as dumb, unfashionable, or geeky as they once thought.