The mission of the University System of Georgia's Office of Information and Instructional Technology is to foster universal access to information, leverage traditional and distance learning technologies, and deploy the best supporting systems possible for all units within the University System. Among the systems supported by OIIT are GALILEO (the University System of Georgia's virtual library), GIL (Library automation system), PeachNet (the System's Data Communications Network), the BANNER student system and the Peoplesoft HR/PR and financial applications. Mr. Thursby was instrumental in the early days of System Office electronic data collection and in the development of SIRS and CIR. He has been instrumental in the evolution and transformation of those early collections to the University System data warehouse.
A native of Bainbridge, Georgia and a 1969 graduate of Bainbridge High School, Thursby attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Augusta College (now Augusta State University). He earned his associate's degree in 1971, and his bachelor's degree in Business Administration in 1974. He did further graduate work in business and education at Augusta College.
Thursby began his career in information technology in 1971 while attending Augusta College. In 1976, he became Director of Computer Services at his alma mater, Augusta College, a position he held until 1986. From 1986 until 1988, Thursby worked for the University of Georgia, helping to create the organization that became the Office of Information Technology attached to the Regents System Office. Later he served as the Director of Administration and Planning (1988-1992), Assistant Vice Chancellor for Information Technology (1992-1997), Associate Vice Chancellor for Information Technology/Associate CIO (1997-1999) and interim Vice Chancellor for Information and Instructional Technology/CIO (January-June 2000) in the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
In his various roles with the University System, Thursby has been instrumental in the establishment of PeachNet, the first IP based network in Georgia State government. He also was instrumental in developing the first strategic technology plan for the University System, which established a set of standards for administrative systems based on the Unix operating system, a common database management system, and common administrative software. He has overseen the implementation of major applications systems, such as Banner and Peoplesoft. In addition, Thursby worked with the Governor's office in developing the first budget for K-12 and public library internet connectivity. He also oversees the GALILEO library system for the units of the University System and the library system for the public libraries of the State of Georgia. The public libraries were transferred to the control of the Board of Regents in July 2000.
Thursby was appointed by former University System of Georgia Chancellor Stephen R. Portch to oversee the System's Y2K effort, which included serving on the state's Y2K Interagency Coordinating Committee. Early in 2000, worked with the University System's Sr. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and consultants from Arthur Andersen on the creation of an updated technology master plan for the University System.
Thursby also has been active in the state's civic affairs as a member of the Rotary Club of West Augusta and Cochran. He was named as the West Augusta Rotarian of the Year in 1986. He also was a member of the Leadership Augusta Class of 1983 and served on the board of directors of Leadership Augusta in 1984-1985.