M. Brian Blake Makes History As The First Black President of Georgia State University In Its 100+ Year History


July 16, 2021

He’s overqualified!

M. Brian Blake is making history as the first Black president of Georgia State University in the school’s 100+ year history, Technique reports.

Blake is a Georgia Tech alumnus who holds a degree in electrical engineering, a master’s from Mercer, and a Ph.D. from George Mason University. He recently served as executive vice president and provost of George Washington University. He lead the school through the COVID-19 pandemic by transforming their approach to teaching and ensuring the student body succeeded by making sure they felt engaged and supported. 


Before that, Blake served in several higher academic capacities, including as executive vice president and Nina Henderson Provost at Drexel, and vice provost for academic affairs and Graduate School Dean at the University of Miami. Now, he has been appointed as president of Georgia State University, making history as the first Black person to hold the title in the school’s 100+ year history. 

In his new role, he will succeed former university president Mark Becker, who served as president for 12 years. During Becker’s time, he increased graduation rates by 22%, leading the nation in eliminating graduation disparity rates among minority students, enrolling GSU as a Division I athletic school, increasing research expenditures by $153%, and increasing enrollment to more than 50,000. Becker announced that he would be taking an educational leave at the end of the 2020-2021 school year last month. 

“I want to give the Board of Regents ample time to select the new president, with every expectation the search will attract the strongest pool of candidates in school history…Leading Georgia State for more than a decade, starting in the middle of a global financial crisis and concluding with a global pandemic, has been challenging and stimulating. It has been my most rewarding professional experience,” Becker said. 


During that time, officials selected Blake as president-elect, more than confident that his impressive resume and previous work would allow him to fill the shoes left behind by Becker. 

“I’m deeply honored to have been selected as Georgia State president. I’m keenly aware of what President Becker and the faculty, staff, and students have accomplished, and I am anxious to build on the university’s great momentum. Working together, I know we can take our university to new heights in the coming years,” Blake said.

President Blake will serve as the eighth president of Georgia State and the first Black president since the school’s founding in 1918. Blake will start his term as president of the 35,000-student Georgia State on Aug. 9, officials said.



Photo Courtesy of Drexel.edu

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