Georgia State Names First Black President In School History
Dr. M. Brian Blake will become Georgia State University’s (GSU) first Black president in the school’s 100-year history.
Announced as the sole finalist last week, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) will have a chance to take action on the appointment at their meeting Friday.
“Georgia State has an outstanding reputation combining excellence in both research and accessibility,” Blake said. “It’s built for the next generation of students, scholars and practitioners, and I would be delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the next chapter of the institution.”
He is currently the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost of George Washington University. As the university’s highest-ranking academic officer, Blake oversees three campuses, 10 schools and colleges and over 28,000 students. He’s also a professor of computer science and computer engineering.
As president of GSU, Blake will head one of the most diverse universities in the country. GSU boasts its ethnically and economically diverse student body and annually graduates more Black students than any other nonprofit university in the country, including HBCUs.
Blake is a self-identified native Georgian and a first-generation college graduate. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and Mercer University in Atlanta, respectively.
His Ph.D. in information and software engineering is from George Mason University.
“Dr. Blake has the skills to lead USG’s largest institution while setting high expectations and supporting the needs and growth of students, faculty, staff and alumni,” said Board of Regents Chairman Sachin Shailendra.
Blake previously served as Executive Vice President for Academics and Nina Henderson Provost at Drexel University, where he helped the university achieve its highest retention rate of all time.
Before his time at Drexel, Blake was the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Miami.
During his time as Associate Dean of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame Blake grew the graduate program by over 30 percent.
His first position in academia was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University where he worked his way up to become inaugural Director of Graduate Studies in Computer Science.
“Dr. M. Brian Blake’s experience as a leader in higher education makes him an outstanding candidate to lead one of the nation’s top universities for innovation in student success while also making sure graduates have the skills they need to work — and make an impact — around Georgia and anywhere in the world,” USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley said. “I am pleased he’s been selected as the finalist for president of Georgia State.”
Longtime GSU President Mark Becker will be stepping down from his role at the end of June.
This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with The Atlanta Voice.