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Biography - Columbus State University

Office of the President


Chris Markwood
Dr. Chris Markwood
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Soon after beginning his tenure as Columbus State's fifth president on June 1, 2015, Dr. Chris Markwood outlined a vision for strengthening the university's communiversity identity and cementing its role in local and statewide workforce and economic development. Utilizing collaborative leadership, he promotes creativity, innovation and efficiency across campus - all aimed at improving learning and enhancing the university's capability to attract, retain and graduate students.

Dr. Markwood is passionate about developing and expanding partnerships that benefit students, as well as the community and region. Some of the outcomes of his passion for reimagining education and collaboration and ensuring student success have included installing a new Cyber Range and cybersecurity academic programs in partnership with TSYS; launching a film production academic program with the Georgia Film Academy; creating robotics engineering bachelor's and master's programs in partnership with Ft. Benning, Muscogee County School District and the local community; and establishing Georgia's first education contract guarantee with the local school district. His passion for students extends beyond students' classroom success through his focus on mentoring students for a lifetime of success. He and his wife meet regularly with student organizations just to get to know the students and see how they are doing.

When the "First Choice" comprehensive fundraising campaign concluded in 2019, it did so having exceeded its $100 million by nearly 20%. Its success funded capital projects including the Bo Bartlett Center and Frank Brown Hall - as well as numerous academics and athletics spaces on both campuses. It also created more than 50 endowments for student scholarships, faculty and programs.

Recognizing the importance of an institution's reputation, Dr. Markwood spearheaded Columbus State's first branding study, which resulted in the Create You campaign and continues to rally all students, faculty, staff and alumni to be Creative to the Core in all they do. His passion for student success, innovation and staff/faculty development have driven CSU to new heights in active, engaged and inclusive student learning, as well as the availability of leadership development for all.

Beginning in 2016, Dr. Markwood has been named to Georgia Trend's annual list of "100 Most Influential Georgians" six years in a row - often among just a handful of university presidents across the state to be included in each edition. In 2021, he received the Meritorious Public Service Medal from the Department of the Army. In 2022, Dr. Markwood was presented the Georgia Military College Saber award for his work in developing Servant Leaders. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Columbus, serves on the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce Columbus 2025 Implementation Team, and is chair-elect of the Peach Belt Athletic Conference (NCAA Division II).

Before moving to Georgia, Dr. Markwood served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi from 2011 to 2014. He served as interim chancellor (August 2010 to March 2011) at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, where he also served as provost, vice chancellor for academic affairs, and dean of faculties from 2006 to 2010. After one year at Lamar University, he began his teaching career at the University of Central Oklahoma in 1994 as an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science. He moved through the faculty ranks at Central Oklahoma, serving as assistant dean and then inaugural dean of the College of Arts, Media & Design in 2001. Since becoming president, he and his family have become active participants on campus and in the surrounding community. That involvement helped spur one of Markwood's first priorities as CSU president: expanding a strong town-gown relationship. This has included WinterFest, which brings thousands to CSU's Main Campus every holiday season, and homecoming festivities like a parade and concert that further unify Main Campus and the RiverPark Campus, and both campuses with the community.

A native of Texas, Dr. Markwood earned a doctorate and master's degree in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science and history from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri. He and his wife, Bridget, have one teenage daughter, several bonus 20-something "kids," and one bonus grandchild. As a family, they enjoy cooking, traveling and the arts.

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