Ivelaw Griffith named next FVSU president

Staff reportJune 21, 2013 

Ivelaw Griffith

Ivelaw Griffith, the provost and senior vice president at York College of the City University of New York, was named president of Fort Valley State University on Friday.

“Dr. Griffith was the outstanding candidate,” Board of Regents Chairman Dink NeSmith said in a news release. “He has this board’s full support to provide the leadership Fort Valley State University needs at this moment.

Griffith was one of four final candidates interviewed last week as part of a nationwide search to replace Larry Rivers, who will step down June 30. The board’s vote for the new president was unanimous.

“We are excited about his presidency and delighted he will become the university’s next president,” NeSmith said. “This is a great day for Fort Valley.”

The selection was ahead of predictions it might be mid-July before a new president would be selected.

Griffith will assume the job July 22. Kimberly Ballard-Washington, assistant vice chancellor for legal affairs for the University System of Georgia, will serve as interim president.

Rivers has been president since 2006.

He has not said why he is stepping down or what his next step will be.

Rivers could not be reached for comment Friday.

Before becoming provost at York College, Griffith was provost of Radford University in Virginia and held leading positions at Florida International University. He has used his Caribbean expertise as a consultant to governments and as an author.

During his interview for the FVSU position this month, Griffith said he wants to strengthen the university’s international programs and nurture globally aware students. He touted his experience with budgeting and accreditation and said his focus would be on recruitment, retention and release.

“The three R’s for me is a key challenge,” Griffith told the selection committee, comparing his goals to a mountaintop. “We are not close to that graduation mountaintop.”

Griffith could not be reached Friday for comment on his selection.

Christina M. Wright contributed to this report.

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