Georgia State University President Becker leaving after 12 years

ATLANTA — Georgia State University President Mark Becker will leave next June after 12 years in the post, Becker announced Tuesday.

Becker said he plans to take an educational leave to conduct research and write. The University System of Georgia will conduct a national search for a successor to take over next July.

Under Becker’s leadership, Georgia State has set records for enrollment, graduation rate and total graduates. Its consolidation with Georgia Perimeter College in 2016 made Georgia State the state’s largest university with 54,000 students as of this semester and one of the largest in the nation.

“President Mark Becker’s outstanding leadership has helped Georgia State University set the national standard for innovation in student success, resulting in dramatic increases in graduation rates for students of all backgrounds,” said Steve Wrigley, chancellor of the University System of Georgia.

“Georgia State has gained in quality and stature during Mark’s tenure, from record-setting research productivity to strong financial management.”

Georgia State also gained in stature on Becker’s watch with the arrival of Division I college football. The Panthers launched football a decade ago playing in the since-demolished Georgia Dome before moving to the former home of the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, which was converted into a football stadium.

Becker was named one of America’s 10 most innovative university presidents by Washington Monthly in 2015. The university been ranked as one of the most innovative in the country by U.S. News & World Report ever since the innovation category was created.

Becker also has won accolades for promoting diversity. He won the Academic Leadership Award from the Carnegie Corporation three years ago for Georgia State’s achievements in “eliminating disparities in graduation rates based on race, ethnicity and first-generation status.”

As one of the most diverse universities in the nation, Georgia State is first in the country among nonprofit institutions in graduating African American students.

Becker also led a major building expansion of the university campus, becoming a major contributor to the redevelopment of the southern portion of downtown Atlanta.