- Associated Press - Saturday, April 6, 2019

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Georgia Southern University’s new President Kyle Marrero is pledging to be a president for both Statesboro and Savannah campuses.

Since the consolidation of Georgia Southern and the former Armstrong University, students haven’t understood the strengths of the combined university, Marrero said. That’s partly because the leadership has changed so often, he said.

“Four presidents in the last three years. That does create instability. That can be disruptive,” he said. “For me coming in, what they’ll know is I’m a people person.”

Marrero made the comments at a recent media event, The Savannah Morning News reported.

He said that he considers this a critical time for the university - and its future.

“We’re all looking in essence for where Georgia Southern is going,” he said.

Marrero said he’s optimistic about what the university can become, despite recent enrollment declines. Those prompted a “redirection” for the next fiscal year, with departments asked to cut 10 percent from their budgets.

The new president views programs designed to meet the needs of businesses in the area as a way to expand Georgia Southern.

There are also growth opportunities in online courses, he added. They grew by 25 percent at the University of West Georgia, during his tenure as president there before being named Georgia Southern president.

“I think there’s incredible opportunity here for Georgia Southern as a whole to elevate its distance learning program,” he said.

Addressing students, Marrero said: “We want you post-graduation to be able to find a job and live in southeast Georgia. That’s our goal.”

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Information from: Savannah Morning News, http://www.savannahnow.com

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