Next Middle Georgia State College president says he likes what he sees

jmink@macon.comNovember 6, 2013 

Christopher Blake

To Christopher Blake, what’s going on at Middle Georgia State College is unique.

He was pleasantly intrigued by the recent merger of Macon State and Middle Georgia colleges to form the new institution. It’s an effort to meet the needs of students and the entire area -- an effort that attracted the new president of Middle Georgia State to the position, he said.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents announced Wednesday that Blake, 53, most recently president of Mount Mercy University in Iowa, will replace interim President John Black as president at Middle Georgia State. He was announced as the sole finalist Oct. 30.

“I’m extremely excited about him being selected as our next president,” said David P. Fuller, interim dean of the School of Education and chairman of the presidential search committee at Middle Georgia State. “His energy and his vision that he has for Middle Georgia State College is a vision that all of the faculty share, and I think he will do a phenomenal job.”

Blake will begin his duties Jan. 1. His initial priorities will include learning about the community and its strengths, Blake said.

“So, I’m going to be on a fast learning track,” Blake told The Telegraph.

For now, he likes what he sees. The fact that the college is the result of a recent merger (the two colleges merged in January) and is seeking university status within the next few years is enthralling, he said.

“It’s a very exciting time for Middle Georgia State College,” he said.

At Mount Mercy, Blake led the effort to launch graduate programs, something that will be discussed at Middle Georgia State, he said.

“It’s very important that you build on your strengths,” he said. “You need to make sure you’re doing so in a way that makes sense to the institution.”

Because the college is looking to achieve university status, Blake’s experience implementing graduate programs is a plus, Fuller said.

In addition to launching graduate programs at Mount Mercy, the university under his tenure established a satellite campus, began offering athletic scholarships, revised its core curriculum and developed a campus facilities plan. Freshman, transfer, nontraditional and graduate student enrollment increased 30 percent under Blake, according to a news release.

Blake, who is on sabbatical, was provost and director of teacher education at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Maryland before moving to Mount Mercy. He also served as associate dean of the graduate school at Towson University in Maryland and held faculty and administrative positions at Brunel University in London.

In his spare time, Blake is an avid reader and a runner, who is active in the community and enjoys his church, he said. A United Kingdom native, Blake also calls the United States his home and believes his cultural background is a strength he can bring to Middle Georgia State.

“I can bring some of that outsider perspective, some of that global perspective,” he said.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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