Randy Pierce, past president of Georgia Highlands College, was named Wednesday as interim president for Gainesville State College.
University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby announced the appointment. Pierce will assume the post July 1, replacing Martha Nesbitt, who is retiring.
“I’m excited the system asked me to do this,” said Pierce. “It is going to be a different kind of interim, I’m sure, but at the same time Gainesville State is an institution that has always been, and continues to be, a great institution.”
Nesbitt welcomed Pierce’s hiring.
“I’ve known Dr. Pierce for a long time and he’s a very, very capable administrator and certainly a successful president over at Georgia Highlands. I think it’s a great choice,” she said.
Pierce will act as the interim president until the consolidation of Gainesville State and North Georgia College & State University takes effect Jan. 1, 2013. After that, he will go back into retirement.
“As we move forward with the consolidation of Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University, it is critical to have excellent leadership during this transition,” Huckaby said in a news release. “Dr. Pierce brings a high level of experience in the University System to this post and we are pleased that he is willing to share this experience to lead the college.”
Pierce said he is not sure as to the full extent of his role in the consolidation efforts, but says he will most likely be a point of reference for the consolidation team.
“My guess, at this point, the six months (of the interim presidency) will be to keep the institution on track and viable, and to be of assistance and be of advice when needed in that consolidation effort,” said Pierce.
Nesbitt also was unsure of Pierce’s role in the consolidation effort.
“I can’t say really how much he’ll be involved in the consolidation plan at this point because everything is still a little unclear. But he will certainty be in charge of running the institution,” she said.
Pierce served as president of Georgia Highlands for 10« years, before retiring Dec. 31.
Previously he served 1996-2001 as provost at the Lawrenceville campus of Georgia Perimeter College and before that from 1994-1999 as director of the Gwinnett University Center.
The university system, Pierce says, was looking for someone who could make the temporary transition as easy and smooth as possible.
“This is a good opportunity to use somebody that the system knows and somebody who is familiar with not only the system, but with this kind of institution,” said Pierce.
“I’m just glad that I can be of assistance to the system and to the consolidation teams as they move forward these last six months.”
He earned his doctorate in educational leadership, master’s degree in education and bachelor’s degree in business administration from Georgia State University.
He also has served on numerous boards and committees, including as a member of the Rome/Floyd County Chamber of Commerce board of directors, chairman of the Georgia Public Broadcasting — Northwest Georgia Advisory Board and as a member of the board of directors, Southern Association of Community, Junior and Technical Colleges.