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 freshman 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 Virgina. 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 degree but to excel in their chosen field.
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.