George T. French Jr. is the incoming president of Clark Atlanta University. PHOTO CREDIT: CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY

Clark Atlanta University hires new president

George T. French Jr., current Miles College president, will start Sept. 1

Clark Atlanta University announced Wednesday that George T. French Jr., the current president of Miles College, will become its next president.

French has been president of the historically black liberal arts college, located in Fairfield, Ala., since 2006. He replaces Ronald Johnson, who resigned in December. Lucille Maugé, CAU’s chief operating officer, has been serving as interim president and will continue to do so until French arrives in September.

“I am thankful and blessed to have the opportunity to lead another great institution and serve as the fifth president of Clark Atlanta University,” French said in a statement. “CAU has strong faculty, students and academics. I’m optimistic about the University’s next stage of growth and eager to build on the strong foundation CAU has established.”

French, a native of Louisville, Ky., has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville, a law degree from Miles Law School and a doctoral degree in higher education from Jackson State University. 

Miles College has 1,600 students and a six-year graduation rate of about 20%, federal statistics show. About 90% of its students receive Pell Grants, federal funding given to students based on financial need.

Clark Atlanta officials cited French’s fundraising background, noting he surpassed prior records at Miles College, among the reasons he was hired. They also said French increased student access to educational funding and doubled the size of the existing campus with several key land acquisitions.

> RELATED: Clark Atlanta University president to resign in December

Clark Atlanta, which has about 4,000 students, has the largest enrollment of any school in the Atlanta University Center and is the only school in the center with master’s and doctoral degree programs. The university celebrated its 30th anniversary this year.

Dillard University president and Atlanta native Walter M. Kimbrough said he was invited to apply for the Clark Atlanta job, but withdrew his candidacy, according to news reports.

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