Cheshier to Retire From Southern Polytechnic; Interim President Named
Atlanta — February 26, 1997
After 17 years at the helm of an institution that has had three transformations under his leadership, Dr. Stephen R. Cheshier is stepping down as president of Southern Polytechnic State University at the end of the current academic year.
Cheshier was named president of what was then known as Southern Technical Institute in 1980, at the time of the institution’s separation from its founding arm, the Georgia Institute of Technology. In 1986, the institution underwent a name change and built an excellent reputation as Southern College of Technology. Last year, Cheshier’s efforts culminated in the achievement of its current name and membership among the ranks of 12 premier polytechnic universities in the nation.
University System of Georgia Chancellor Stephen R. Portch praised the president’s leadership and dedicated service. “Few presidents are given the opportunity to make their mark in higher education in the manner that Dr. Cheshier has done, and even fewer do it with the modesty that he has exhibited,” Portch stated. “He built a unique institution, specializing in the high-technology career fields of the 21st century. He will be greatly missed for his professional leadership and his outstanding service to the University System.”
During his 17-year tenure as president, Cheshier has overseen several milestones reached by the university’s faculty and staff, some of the most significant of them being: the initiation of graduate degree programs; implementation of total quality management business principles into the academic environment via a $1 million IBM grant; significant growth in academic programs and campus facilities, including a new Student Center; two major academic buildings with a third approved; indoor and outdoor wellness and recreational facilities for the campus; and approved plans for the University System’s first privately financed and developed dormitories.
Commenting on his upcoming retirement as president, Cheshier said “It is time for new leadership to take this institution to the next levels of excellence and prominence.” He said he will reflect fondly on his 17-year tenure as the university’s president, because it represents “by far the longest of my three careers.” Having also served 10 years as a professor and administrator at Purdue University, and a twelve year stint in the U.S. Navy, Cheshier says that he is planning now to begin his fourth career, “which will involve a year of learning and preparing to return to teaching.” Cheshier plans to join the faculty of SPSU when the campus converts along with the rest of the University System to the semester format in August 1998.
Chancellor Portch has tapped a distinguished educator, Dr. Daniel S. Papp, to serve as the interim president of Southern Polytechnic State University through the 1997-1998 academic year. Cheshier will step down as president on June 30, 1997 and Papp will assume duties on July 1, 1997.
“Dan Papp will bring a unique blend of faculty and administrative expertise to this post that will serve this institution extremely well during this period of transition,” Portch stated.
Papp is currently executive assistant to the president and professor of international affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was the founding director of the School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech, a position he held from 1990 to 1993. From 1980 to 1990, Papp served as director of the School of Social Sciences. In 1993-94, he was named a Georgia Tech “Distinguished Professor,” the first time that the honor was awarded to someone other than an engineer or a physical scientist. Papp is the author and editor of numerous scholarly works in international affairs.
At the University System level, Papp serves as the associate chairperson of the Chancellor’s Council on International Education. He also is a senior fellow for international security affairs at the Southern Center for International Studies and a member of the Society of International Business Fellows.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dartmouth College, Papp received his Ph.D. from the University of Miami in 1973. His research specialties include international security policy, U.S. and Russian foreign and defense policies, and international system change.
Papp is a long-time resident of Marietta, Georgia.