Georgia's Board of Regents will choose between two highly qualified but very different candidates for the top position at North Georgia College & State University.
The regents named the finalists Tuesday and must wait 14 days before voting on the next NGCSU president in May.
"Both candidates have visited the campus and met with students, faculty, staff, the community and alumni," said Kate Maine, director of public relations at NGCSU. "Everyone had the opportunity to meet them and get to know them a bit."
Bonita Jacobs, a professor of counseling and higher education, is the executive director of the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students at the University of North Texas.
She previously served as vice president for student development at the university, interim vice chancellor for student development and dean of students at Western Carolina University and held several positions at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Jacobs, former editor of The Journal of College Orientation and Transition, has served on three editorial boards. She has received more than $3 million in grant funding and is a frequent keynote speaker and consultant on transfer student issues.
The other finalist, Gerry St. Amand, is vice president for university advancement at Northern Kentucky University and a member of the university's foundation board of directors.
He previously served seven years as dean of the university's Salmon P. Chase College of Law and led the solicitation of the two largest gifts in the university's history: $15 million for the business college and $6 million for the informatics college.
St. Amand also served 25 years as an attorney and military officer with the United States Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps. He was the principal legal advisor for the U.S. headquarters overseeing the American contribution to the Bosnia peace-keeping operation and was commandant of the Judge Advocate General's School at the University of Virginia.
"The two finalists come from different perspectives in academia," Maine said. "Dr. Jacobs comes from a student affairs background whereas Dr. St. Amand was head of a JAG school and has experience in institutional advancement, which is important right now, too."
A national search was launched to replace NGCSU President David Potter, who in September 2010 announced his retirement. Potter has served as president since Jan. 1, 2005.
"The search committee members were pleased with the caliber of the finalists. Either could lead an institution, especially one with such a unique mission," said John Millsaps, Board of Regents spokesman. "Most individuals looking to be president of a college or university aren't looking to also be president of a senior military college. It's more difficult in a pool to find people with that kind of background of understanding."