Dr. Shugart is a native of Whitfield County Georgia and spent much of his childhood on the family cattle farm in Cohutta, Georgia. Dr. Shugart was so comfortable in a cattle pasture and hayfield that he attended college in a similar setting obtaining a B.S. in chemistry from Berry College. Upon graduation from Berry College he attended Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. At Emory he completed both his Masters and Doctorate in chemistry.
Subsequently, Dr. Shugart has held faculty positions at Berry College, Kennesaw State University, and most recently Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) where he was chair of the science department. While at ABAC Dr. Shugart aided the Department of Agriculture in several research projects eventually leading to his transition to the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Dr. Shugart's wife, Beth, also possesses a doctorate in chemistry and there are lively discussions about the best way to isolate proteins from cow's blood much to the enjoyment of their three children.