Former Provost Brian Blake officially named Georgia State University president

Media Credit: File Photo by Jack Borowiak

Blake said he is "eager" to build on the foundation built by Mark Becker, Georgia State's outgoing president, in academics, research and athletics.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents formally named former Provost Brian Blake as Georgia State University’s next president Thursday after he was announced as the sole finalist last week.

Blake – who arrived at GW in November 2019 – stepped down as provost immediately after being announced as finalist for the position at Georgia State. He will begin his position Aug. 9, according to a release.

“I have no doubt Dr. Blake will work nonstop on behalf of students, faculty, staff and alumni to advance Georgia State’s priorities and increase its growing reputation as being among the best in the nation,” USG Board of Regents Chairman Sachin Shailendra said in the release. “On behalf of the Board of Regents, I look forward to working with Dr. Blake as we welcome him home to Georgia.”

Blake had been selected as one of two finalists for president at the University of Rhode Island in March but withdrew from consideration for the position days later.

“Georgia State will excel under Dr. Blake’s leadership,” USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley said in the release. “He has outstanding experience, and understands the University’s mission to provide students everything from access to a college degree to top-tier research opportunities.”

The move has left officials looking to fill two of GW’s three most senior administrative positions after University President Thomas LeBlanc announced in May he would be stepping down from his position following the upcoming academic year.

Blake, a computer scientist by training hired by LeBlanc as he sought to expand GW’s STEM presence, worked to build connections with students while strengthening GW’s academic offerings as provost. He restructured the provost’s office and implemented a decentralized “pod” model for research during his tenure.

But just months into his tenure, he began managing GW’s academic operations as they shifted remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Blake spearheaded a Post-COVID Academic Task Force, which will study teaching lessons from the pandemic, and helped launch the University-wide diversity audit this year.

“I am deeply grateful to the Board of Regents and Chancellor Wrigley for the opportunity to lead Georgia State into a very bright future,” Blake said in the release. “I know that with help from the campus community, we can further the institution’s national reputation and innovative environment and create a truly unique education experience for students. The university has made tremendous strides under President Mark Becker’s leadership in the classroom, the laboratory, and on the athletic field. I am eager to start building upon that strong foundation.”

Blake did not immediately return a request for comment through a spokesperson.

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