Fort Valley State president steps down

Fort Valley State University President Ivelaw Griffith will step down from the job he has held for less than two years.

A news release from the University System of Georgia did not give a reason for the move, which will take effect June 30.

“Dr. Griffith has overseen key changes in Fort Valley’s administration and operations to better serve students,” University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby said in the release. “On behalf of the University System, I thank Dr. Griffith for his contributions, and we wish him and his family the very best in his future work.”

Griffith had been president of the university since taking office July 22, 2013. He previously was a political science professor, provost and senior vice president at York College of The City University of New York.

Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Elaine Lucas, who graduated from Fort Valley State in 1977 with a master’s degree in early childhood education, said she was “surprised” to hear about the move.

“I’m really just kind of shocked because Dr. Griffith, from what I can tell, had been doing a good job of having a lot of activities going on,” Lucas said. “This is really a surprise to me that this is going on. ... The school needs stability.”

Among Griffith’s accomplishments noted in the release are several agreements he recently signed with Albany Technical College, Central Georgia Technical College and Georgia Military College to help students transfer more seamlessly to Fort Valley State from those two-year schools.

He also oversaw the layoff of 14 employees this past September after the university experienced a 25-percent decline in enrollment from fall 2013 to fall 2014.

Griffith, the university’s ninth president, replaced Larry Rivers, who stepped down in June 2013. Rivers, an alumnus of Fort Valley State, was president for seven years. Rivers’ predecessor, Kofi Lomotey, resigned in 2005 amid “dissension among faculty, students and alumni,” according to Telegraph reports.

Griffith could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Lucas said she was confident the university would make the right decision in finding a replacement.

“Since I received my master’s from the school, I have nothing but gratitude for that school,” she said. “I am sure that the new president is going to keep Fort Valley moving.”

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331.

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