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Robert E. Watts Named Interim Director of Gwinnett University Center

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Atlanta — July 31, 2002

Robert E. Watts, senior policy advisor for the University System of Georgia, has been appointed interim director of the Gwinnett University Center, in Lawrenceville, by Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith.

Serving more than 5,000 students on a 177-acre high-tech campus that opened in January 2002 on Georgia Highway 316, the center is a collaborative initiative in which Georgia Perimeter College and the University of Georgia work as academic partners in offering undergraduate and graduate courses.

Watts will take office Aug. 1, 2002, and remain at Gwinnett University Center until a permanent director is named. A national search for the new director was launched in May after the center’s founding director, Dr. James L. Muyskens, announced he had accepted the presidency of Queens College, in New York.

Prior to joining the University System Office this summer, Watts had served as interim president of Middle Georgia College, in Cochran, since June 2001 and interim president of Floyd College, in Rome, Ga., during the 2000-2001 academic year.

“Rob Watts has served both the University System and our state quite well,” Meredith said. “This new assignment will fully utilize his experience, expertise and leadership to maximize the momentum that is building at the Gwinnett University Center.”

Watts served as executive vice president for financial and administrative affairs at Georgia Perimeter College from 1991 to 2000 and director of institutional research and planning for that institution (then known as DeKalb College) from 1986 to 1991.

In some ways, Watts has come full circle. He played a role in launching the predecessor to the Gwinnett University Center, when it was first proposed in 1987. He assisted in developing the proposal from DeKalb College that first established the center using leased facilities. Then, during the early 1990’s, Watts co-chaired the planning committee that submitted to the Board of Regents the proposal for establishing the center’s permanent physical campus.

Before joining the University System of Georgia, Watts worked from 1982 to 1986 as a budget officer in the Georgia General Assembly’s Legislative Budget Office. Previously, he had served as a Humanities Scholar in Residence for the General Assembly, from 1980 to 1982.

Watts earned both a bachelor’s degree in religion and English and a master’s degree in religion from Florida State University, in Tallahassee. He also holds a master’s degree in international public policy from the Nitze School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, in Washington, D.C. Watts currently is enrolled in a joint doctoral program in public policy studies offered by Georgia State University and Georgia Tech.

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