Dr. T. Ramon Stuart, President of Clayton State University (North Fulton Business Radio, Episode 409)
Dr. T. Ramon Stuart, recently installed as President of Clayton State University, joined host John Ray to offer his vision for Clayton State University, the students it serves, and the broader Laker Nation. Dr. Stuart also shared the inspiration for his education journey he received from his mother, some of the high points from his recent “State of the University” address, and much more. North Fulton Business Radio is broadcast from the North Fulton studio of Business RadioX® inside Renasant Bank in Alpharetta.
Clayton State University
Clayton State University is a public university in Morrow, Georgia. Clayton State University is a part of the University System of Georgia. The campus is located fifteen minutes from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The University has 208 full-time faculty and 356 full-time staff.
The institution was founded in 1969 and was originally known as Clayton Junior College. When the school became a four-year institution in 1986, the institute took on the name Clayton State College. In 1996, the Georgia Board of Regents renamed many higher-ed institutions, with Clayton State becoming Clayton College & State University. In 2005, the name was changed to Clayton State University.
Dr. T. Ramon Stuart, President, Clayton State University
Dr. T. Ramon Stuart assumed the role of Clayton State University’s fifth president on July 1, 2021. As the first African American to hold this position, Dr. Stuart joins the university after serving as the provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Fort Valley State University (FVSU) in Fort Valley, Georgia.
During his six-year tenure at FVSU, Dr. Stuart led the academic colleges and degree programs, aspects of enrollment management such as retention, and other major administrative areas that included a sponsored research portfolio that was the fifth-largest among 26 institutions within the University System of Georgia (USG).
Under Dr. Stuart’s guidance, FVSU witnessed an average retention rate of 75%, increased enrollment, improved the graduation rate by 15% over a two-year period, and led the USG in the number of first-time, full-time freshmen who enrolled in at least 15 credit hours per semester.
Prior to joining FVSU, Dr. Stuart was a faculty member and administrator at West Virginia State University in Institute, West Virginia. His accomplishments there included developing an engineering 2+2 program, aiding in increasing retention by almost 10% over four academic years, serving on the self-study reaffirmation steering committee responsible for achieving a 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation, and helping to increase overall enrollment.
Dr. Stuart is known for his commitment to student success in the classroom and beyond. At the age of 24, he began teaching computer science at West Virginia State Community and Technical College also located in Institute, West Virginia. He excelled in this role and during his second year, peers named him Professor of the Year. Later that year they unanimously elected him to serve as the faculty senate president making him the youngest person to hold that position in the history of the institution. He held that post for two consecutive terms.
Raised in the small coal-mining town of Welch, West Virginia, Dr. Stuart realized at a very young age the transformative impact that education could have on one’s life, one’s family, and ultimately one’s community. That realization has been the driving force behind his motivation to provide opportunities for students to not only obtain their degrees but to excel in their chosen fields.
While serving at FVSU, Dr. Stuart secured over $4 million in grants and scholarship funding to reduce the cost of expenses for students and to help prepare them for careers in coveted STEM fields such as genome engineering, computational data science, and biotechnology.
Identifying the need for talent in the local multi-million dollar film industry and recognizing a shortage of financial technology professionals, Dr. Stuart developed minors in those fields to equip students with the skillsets needed to quickly fill voids in the workforce.
Committed to enhancing community partnerships, Dr. Stuart collaborated with Robins Air Force Base to develop an employment pipeline for students majoring in supply chain management; established an agreement with Georgia Power to create a 100-acre solar farm with a 9,000 square foot demonstration center that serves as a living laboratory for FVSU students and professors; fostered an articulation agreement with Grand Valley State University to offer an engineering transition program; developed 13 articulation agreements with Georgia Technical College System institutions; and worked with Atrium Health Navicent, Houston Healthcare and Phoebe Putney Hospitals to launch health science degrees.
In addition to enhancing their classroom experience, Dr. Stuart recognizes the value in providing students with mentorship and academic coaching to help them overcome challenges which lead to a 6.8% increase in the institution’s six-year graduation rate.
With a focus on the university’s strategic priorities, all steeped in the mission of providing an exceptional student experience, Dr. Stuart increased the number of full-time faculty by 20%, established training to help more than 50% of the university’s faculty develop online courses that met or exceeded Quality Matters requirements and created a Center for Teaching and Learning which increased the number of faculty development opportunities by 127%.
Dr. Stuart received his education in McDowell County Public Schools before going to West Virginia University where he earned undergraduate and graduate engineering degrees from the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources where he was a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Fellow. He later went on to earn his doctorate in higher education administration from the Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education at Ohio University where he was the institution’s first Southern Regional Education Board Fellow.
It was from his humble beginnings in McDowell County that Dr. Stuart learned the power of the words that reminds us that to whom much is given, much is expected. Those words stuck with him throughout the years and are at the root of his commitment to student success, in and out of the classroom.
Many who encounter Dr. Stuart quickly recognize his dedication to helping others to be their best selves. A true servant leader, Dr. Stuart embodies the American dream, the belief that regardless of where you are born, you can determine and attain your own version of success.
Dr. Stuart resides in south Atlanta with his wife Jamilah, a graduate of Howard University and general manager of a Hilton Hotel in Macon, Georgia, and their daughter, Kayleigh Grace.
Questions and Topics Discussed in this Episode
- Why did you choose to lead Clayton State University?
- How does Clayton State aim to help students find solutions to challenges?
- What did you learn in the listening journey of your first 100 days?
- Give a sense of what you presented in your State of the University address.
- Speak to how Clayton State has evolved since its beginning.
- Talk about the students you serve.
- How can businesses support the work of Clayton State University?
North Fulton Business Radio is hosted by John Ray, and broadcast and produced from the North Fulton studio of Business RadioX® inside Renasant Bank in Alpharetta. You can find the full archive of shows by following this link. The show is available on all the major podcast apps, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Amazon, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, TuneIn, and others.
Renasant Bank has humble roots, starting in 1904 as a $100,000 bank in a Lee County, Mississippi, bakery. Since then, Renasant has grown to become one of the Southeast’s strongest financial institutions with over $13 billion in assets and more than 190 banking, lending, wealth management and financial services offices in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. All of Renasant’s success stems from each of their banker’s commitment to investing in their communities as a way of better understanding the people they serve. At Renasant Bank, they understand you because they work and live alongside you every day.
Special thanks to A&S Culinary Concepts for their support of this edition of North Fulton Business Radio. A&S Culinary Concepts, based in Johns Creek, is an award-winning culinary studio, celebrated for corporate catering, corporate team building, Big Green Egg Boot Camps, and private group events. They also provide oven-ready, cooked from scratch meals to go they call “Let Us Cook for You.” To see their menus and events, go to their website or call 678-336-9196.