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Piedmont College names new head

Carson-Newman official will replace retiring President Ray Cleere

POSTED: March 10, 2011 10:09 p.m.

Dan Hollingsworth, new president of Piedmont College

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Piedmont College named a new president Wednesday following an eight-month search.

Danny P. Hollingsworth, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., will take office as the college's 12th president in June.

"I'm about as excited as I've been in a long, long time," Hollingsworth said. "I have just been so impressed with everybody in that entire region but especially at Piedmont College. So I'm really looking forward to becoming immersed in the college and the community."

Hollingsworth has also served as the dean of the School of Business at Carson-Newman and as the director of the School of Accountancy at Mississippi State University.

He spent five years as chairman of the Department of Accounting and Business Law at Baylor University where he taught 1987-2000.

Current President W. Ray Cleere said Hollingsworth's background in financial planning made him uniquely qualified for the position.

"During this time when higher education is struggling financially, it's wonderful to have a person like him that has been a dean of business, has a CPA (certified public accountant degree), has also been a banker in his career," he said. "He's quite a good catch for the college."

Cleere announced early last year he would retire from the college in May after 16 years as president.

A former chancellor of higher education in Mississippi and vice chancellor of education in Georgia, Cleere said he plans to work as a consultant to small colleges.

Under Cleere's tenure, the school grew from 850 students to almost 3,000 spread over two campuses.

Piedmont is based in Demorest but also has a campus in Athens.

Hollingsworth said once he takes office, he would like to help Piedmont College gain national attention for its strong programs.

"That doesn't necessarily mean to recruit students nationally or be a national institution," he said.

"It will be a Georgia institution focused on the citizens and students of Northern Georgia. But I'd like to see it recognized by peer institutions across the nation of being the outstanding institution it is."



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