Georgia Board of Regents hires president for Columbus State University

Credit: University System of Georgia

Credit: University System of Georgia

The Georgia Board of Regents on Thursday appointed Stuart Rayfield to serve as president of Columbus State University.

She starts the new job July 1.

Rayfield is currently the vice chancellor for leadership and institutional development for the University System of Georgia, which includes Columbus State and 25 other public schools. The University System announced last week that she was the sole finalist to lead Columbus State, a decision the board finalized Thursday.

Rayfield, in a written statement, said she’s thrilled to return to Columbus State, where she spent more than a decade on the faculty, starting in 2006, and in administration. She said the school, which enrolls 7,500 students, is “the driver of the region’s workforce.”

“My family and I have called Columbus home for almost 20 years, and we look forward to supporting its future. This role is personal for me. I know from experience how much hard work has gone into building this institution into what it is today, a destination in Georgia and beyond,” she said.

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Her resume also includes stints as an interim president for the University of West Georgia, Gordon State College and the former Bainbridge State College, which merged a few years ago with Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

She received a doctorate in higher education administration from Vanderbilt University and a master’s from the University of Alabama. Her undergraduate studies, in political science, were completed at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

Sonny Perdue, chancellor of the University System, highlighted Rayfield’s history at Columbus State, saying she “has an immediate grasp” of how the university “helps us be the leading provider of a highly skilled workforce in Georgia.”

Columbus State has been led in recent months by an interim president, John M. Fuchko III, after Chris Markwood retired in June.