July 26, 2013 – Usually, the first day is daunting for someone starting a brand new job, but not for Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith. Georgia’s Board of Regents unanimously named the former York provost and senior vice president as Fort Valley State University’s ninth president in June, and Griffith is confident that he is the right choice for the position.
The self-assured leader is a determined, focused scholar with a keen awareness about creating a successful academic environment. Griffith believes that he has the knowledge, experience and connections to tackle the challenges presently facing the university by expanding its global reach and raising standards of excellence across campus.
“I’m not in the jitters category,” the president replied, when asked if he was nervous about his first day at work. “I think I have a sense of what we need to do.”
Dr. Griffith arrived at FVSU’s campus a week before July 22, his official start date. His first task involved relocating the president’s office from the recently renovated Huntington Hall, back to its previous location inside the Troup Administration Building. Throughout the week, the new president introduced himself to the campus community. On July 19, Dr. Griffith also made a surprise presentation at the Student Research Apprenticeship Program closing ceremony, where he connected with young participants.
On July 22, the president arrived at 7 a.m. to begin his official day in office. Dr. Griffith’s first objective: Greet the entire Wildcat Nation with an inaugural tweet and post on Twitter and Facebook.
“First Day, New Journey!” tweeted Dr. Griffith. “I’m wild about Wildcats at #FVSU!”
Throughout Monday, the new leader juggled a hectic schedule filled with staff meetings and back-to-back media interviews. In several television appearances, Dr. Griffith revealed his vision for Fort Valley State’s future. The new president promised transparency by his administration, which would not radically depart from the foundation already established at FVSU.
President Griffith said that he will be incorporating “three R’s” into the campus’s goals: Recruitment, retention and releasing (or graduating) of FVSU students.
“Graduation is not simply about students graduating with degrees, but [about] the capacity to make them loyal alums by giving them a great experience while they’re on campus,” he said.
The president wants to improve students’ experience by improving the atmosphere on campus. To accomplish this goal, Dr. Griffith has proposed several capital projects during a high-powered meeting with university leaders and students. The president, FVSU Associate Vice President of Business and Finance Dr. Dwayne Crew and landscape architects Lee Philips and John Anderson from Rochester & Associates, delivered an overview of the projects.
Proposed New Projects:
Public Squares:The first involves the creation of public piazzas, or “outdoor rooms,” where students can socialize in new seating areas. Each square will be dedicated to facets of Georgia, U.S. and international affairs. The proposed squares will be located in quad areas next to Patton Hall, the Wildcat Commons, the Dining Hall and the Pettigrew Center.
Relocation of College of Education:This project will re-purpose two vacant dormitories—Boyd and Jeanes halls—to house FVSU’s College of Education.
Demolition of Watson Hall: Once the empty facility is demolished, the space will be transformed into additional public parking spaces.
Pettigrew Center Parking Lot:The grassy area behind the Pettigrew Center will be converted into a new parking lot. This project has already been funded and is scheduled to be completed by December 2013.
Walls of Wisdom:Walls throughout university buildings will feature maxims and quotes from famous people who have made extraordinary contributions to society. Dr. Griffith has proposed the inclusion of prominent history makers like social activist Benjamin E. Mays, theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, human rights activist Gandhi, philosopher Confucius, talk show host Oprah, Nobel Prize-winner Rabindranath Tagore and singer Bob Marley.
“I want people to know that I’m about pursuing every journey where we can make a difference,” said the philosophic leader. “I want people to know that [I’m] here to make a difference.”
The new president has additional initiatives that will be announced during the Faculty/Staff Institute on August 5.
According to President Griffith, he will use his state, national and international connections to extend the influence of the university. When asked where he sees himself in five years, Dr. Griffith said that he envisions he and his wife, Francille, will be celebrating his fifth year as FVSU’s president.
Connect with FVSU’s president on Twitter (@IvelawGriffith)and Facebook (ivelawgriffith7.22).
Christina D. Milton,writer
Fort Valley State University
Office of Marketing and Communications
(478) 822-7589, firstname.lastname@example.org