Fort Valley State University
Office of Marketing and Communications
Fort Valley State University’s Fall 2015 commencement speaker is president of one of the fastest growing colleges in Georgia and an educational icon who promotes continuous learning as a way to transform lives. Dr. Gary Allen McGaha Sr., president of Atlanta Metropolitan State College, will provide graduating Wildcats with his words of wisdom during the event scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 in the Health and Physical Education Complex.
McGaha, a Mississippi native, earned a bachelor’s degree in social science from Mississippi Valley State University, a master’s degree in political science from Bowling Green State University and a doctorate in political science from the University of Mississippi. He was the first African American to receive a doctorate in political science from the University of Mississippi.
From 1976-1983, McGaha worked as a senior-level administrator at Kentucky State University. During this period, he served as an administrative assistant to the president, as chair of the department of political science and history and as the associate vice president for academic affairs. In 1983, he accepted an invitation from Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., the founding president of the Morehouse School of Medicine. McGaha worked in this capacity for 10 years.
Because of his interest and commitment to helping underrepresented and under served populations, McGaha left the medical school in 1993 to come to Atlanta Metropolitan College (AMC). There, he served as chair of the division of social sciences. He served in this capacity for almost eight years. The division grew under his leadership: new courses and degree programs were added. The graduation rate significantly increased and more than a half-million dollars in grants were received. In 2002, McGaha left the campus to become the dean of Academic Services for the Dunwoody Campus and the Alpharetta Site of Georgia Perimeter College in 2002. He returned to AMC in 2006 to become the vice president for Academic Affairs and was named interim president in November 2006. He began serving in this capacity in January 2007, when he was appointed as the permanent president on Nov. 13, 2007.
Under his leadership, the enrollment has increased by 86 percent. The college was granted baccalaureate degree status by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents on May 10, 2011, and the name of the institution was changed to Atlanta Metropolitan State College in 2012.
McGaha is active in his church and in his community. He is a member, deacon and Sunday school teacher at Greenforest Community Baptist Church. He is a member of the board of directors for the Metropolitan Regional Educational Service Agency (Metro RESA) and vice chairman of the Board of Directors for the Southern Association of Colleges with Associate Degrees.
He is married to Juliette Wilkinson McGaha and has two daughters and two sons.
For details, contact Marketing and Communications at (478) 825-6319.