External Affairs Division

Dr. Stuart Rayfield Named President of Columbus State University

Atlanta — March 9, 2023

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The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) today named Dr. Stuart Rayfield president of Columbus State University, effective July 1, 2023.

Rayfield currently serves as USG’s vice chancellor for leadership and institutional development and previously spent more than 10 years at Columbus State as a faculty member and administrator.

Dr. John M. Fuchko III, a USG vice chancellor, has served as the university’s interim president since former President Chris Markwood retired last June.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to support the success of students, faculty and staff,” USG Chancellor Sonny Perdue said. “Stuart lives in the community, has taught on campus and has an immediate grasp of how Columbus State helps us be the leading provider of a highly skilled workforce in Georgia. I want to thank Dr. Fuchko for his service and commitment to the university and look forward to Dr. Rayfield’s continued leadership in her new role.”

Rayfield most recently served as USG’s interim executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and has been interim president of three USG institutions during her 17-year career with the university system.

“I’m thrilled to return to Columbus State University as its next president. With its deep ties to the Chattahoochee Valley community, including Fort Benning, Columbus State is the driver of the region’s workforce and is poised to lead and partner with other entities to meet the demands of an ever-changing economy,” Rayfield said. “My family and I have called Columbus home for almost 20 years, and we look forward to supporting its future. This role is personal for me. I know from experience how much hard work has gone into building this institution into what it is today, a destination in Georgia and beyond. As we look to the future, I am convinced Columbus State will continue to reflect the innovative spirit of the region and I’m eager to join them on that journey.”

About Dr. Stuart Rayfield

An Alabama native, Rayfield earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. She then earned a master’s in higher education administration focused on student affairs from the University of Alabama before earning a doctorate in higher education administration focused on leadership, policy and organizations from Vanderbilt University.

Prior to her service in USG, Rayfield held positions at Auburn University, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Rayfield came to Columbus State in 2006 as an assistant professor, later holding the Frank D. Brown Distinguished Chair in Servant Leadership. Along with teaching, she directed the Servant Leadership Program, co-led the SACSCOC reaffirmation of accreditation and co-developed the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program, Servant Leadership track.

In 2015, she was also named interim associate provost for Undergraduate Education at Columbus State. A year later, she accepted a role as interim president of the former Bainbridge State College, where she co-led the college’s consolidation with Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

She then immediately stepped into the role as interim president of Gordon State College, leading the college’s transition to new leadership. In July 2018, Rayfield was named USG’s vice chancellor for leadership and institutional development – stepping away only briefly in late 2019 to serve as the interim president of the University of West Georgia.

Rayfield last year also served as interim executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, overseeing the university system’s entire academic enterprise.

As vice chancellor for leadership and institutional development, Rayfield has led support for USG’s 26 public colleges and universities as well as the University System Office in areas that include management, leadership transitions and training and orientation.

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