Carvajal announced as next VSU president, recounts time in Albany

Published 6:10 pm Friday, December 9, 2016

By Powell Cobb

Managing Editor

Richard Carvajal was chosen by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia to be the next president of Valdosta State University on Friday morning.

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He will assume his post on Jan. 1, 2017, according to USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby.

Prior to VSU, Carvajal has spent the last year as interim president of Darton State College in Albany and served as president at Bainbridge State College from January 2011 to December 2015.

“Dr. Carvajal is a proven leader in the System having already led two USG institutions,” said Huckaby. “I am looking forward to what he will bring to Valdosta State and the Valdosta community.”

When Carvajal was asked by Hucakby a little over a year ago to be interim president of Darton State College while it was consolidated with Albany State College, Carvajal didn’t want to leave Bainbridge, but saw it as an opportunity to improve all of Southwest Georgia, a place he loves.

“The chancellor called me roughly a year ago and asked me if I would do this,” Carvajal said. “I think he asked me for two reasons, and that was they knew it was going to be a challenging process and so they wanted experienced leadership, and two, he knew how much I loved this part of the state. Obviously, Albany is not Bainbridge, but what happens in Albany impacts Bainbridge.”

Carvajal recalled his first speech at Darton State College and setting the bar for excellence in education that he and the entire area hoped to achieve.

“I spoke from the heart that day, and talked about why I thought what was happening there mattered to me, and all of us that love this place,” Carvajal said. “And I said to them we are going to take the absolute best of Darton and the absolute best of what is at Albany State, but we will be honest with ourselves when neither of us have the excellence that we now should aspire. Then we will go out and try to find the people and ideas across the system and beyond and bring them here.”

Before joining the University System of Georgia, Carvajal was vice president for student success services at Cascadia Community College in Bothell, Washington. Other previous appointments include dean of student services at Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas; associate dean of student services at Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina; and an executive officer of the Washington State Student Services Commission.

Carvajal holds a Ph.D. in educational administration with emphasis in higher education conferred in 2005 by The University of South Carolina in Columbia, a master of science in college student personnel administration earned in 1995 from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and a bachelor of science in mass communication/sociology earned in 1993 and conferred by East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma.