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Robert E. Watts Named Interim President of Georgia Perimeter College

Atlanta — April 22, 2005

University System of Georgia Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith announced today that he has appointed Robert E. Watts, senior policy advisor for the University System of Georgia and interim director of the Gwinnett University Center, to serve as interim president of Georgia Perimeter College. The appointment will be effective when current GPC President Jacquelyn Belcher retires on July 1, 2005.

Serving more than 22,000 credit and non-credit students through four campuses and two satellite centers in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia Perimeter College is a two-year institution that opened in 1964 as DeKalb College and was initially operated by the DeKalb Board of Education. DeKalb College became the 34th unit of the University System of Georgia in 1986, and changed its name in 1997 to Georgia Perimeter College to reflect its expanding mission and service area. It ranks as the University System’s third largest institution.

Prior to joining the University System Office and being named interim director of the Gwinnett University Center in the summer of 2002, Watts served as interim president of Middle Georgia College, in Cochran, from June 2001 to June 2002, and interim president of Floyd College, in Rome, Ga., during the 2000-2001 academic year.

“Rob Watts has served the University System in a wide variety of capacities that have drawn on his leadership skills,” Meredith said. “This latest appointment takes him back to the campus where he spent 16 years in two very critical administrative roles, so we know he’ll be able to make immediate contributions.”

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.

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. Now, the center has gotten legislative clearance to become a four-year state college - the 35th unit of the University System.

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.

Plans regarding a national search for a permanent presidential appointee will be forthcoming in the near future.

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