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Executive Leadership Team - Columbus State University

Office of the President

Executive Leadership Team

The Columbus State Executive Leadership Team (ELT) is to be a model of collaborative leadership who will analyze, debate, and decide on critical issues that fundamentally affect CSU. The ELT meetings will ensure all members of ELT are informed on pertinent issues. Each member of the ELT will be encouraged to grow as a leader to better serve the university.

Dr. Stuart Rayfield

Dr. Stuart Rayfield

Background: Dr. Stuart Rayfield began her tenure as Columbus State University's president on June 1, 2023. The University System of Georgia announced her appointment in March 2023.

Office: Richards Hall 108


Pat McHenry

Pat McHenry, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President

Background: A member of the university faculty since 1996, his service has included: professor of English; associate dean of the College of Letters & Sciences; interim dean of both the College of Letters & Sciences and College of the Arts; and most recently, associate provost and associate vice president for undergraduate education

Education: B.A. from St. Ambrose College; M.A. in English from Middle Tennessee State University; Ph.D. in English renaissance literature from Ohio University.

Office: Richards Hall, 305


Craig Burgess

Craig Burgess, Esq.
General Counsel

Background: Burgess was General Counsel of South Carolina State University immediately prior to CSU. His more than 20 years of legal experience includes his tenure as an Associate and Partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLC, in Charleston, South Carolina and Senior Litigation Counsel for BellSouth and AT&T in Atlanta, Georgia

Education: B.S., The Citadel; J.D., University of South Carolina

Office: Richards Hall 206


Rocky Kettering

Rocky Kettering, Ed.D., CFRE
Vice President for University Advancement

Background: Former vice president of development and external relations at the Texas State Aquarium, and worked at St. Mary’s University, our Lady of the Lake University, the University of Southern Mississippi, and Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta

Education: BS, Louisiana State University; M.A., Saint Mary's University; Ed.D., Nova Southeastern University

Office: Richards Hall 116


Aaron Chip Reese

Aaron “Chip” Reese, Ed.D.
Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management

Background: A higher education administrator for more than three decades, his professional portfolio includes serving as CSU’s head baseball coach and in student-facing roles as Columbus State’s associate vice president for student affairs, dean of students and executive director for enrollment management. He led Columbus State’s initial pandemic response as chair of its COVID-19 Response Team before accepting a special assignment as project director for the University System of Georgia $11.5 million statewide CARES Act Mental Health Initiative. Within the USG, he has also served as vice president for enrollment management at Savannah State University and vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at Albany State University.

Education: B.S. in physical education from the University of West Georgia; an M.Ed. in education administration from Clemson University; and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Argosy University.

Office: Enrollment Services Center, University Hall


Rick Sears

Richard Sears, CPA, CGMA
Vice President for Business and Finance

Background: Associate VP for Finance at the University of West Georgia prior to CSU. Interim Vice President for Business and Finance for both Gordon State College and Columbus State University. Richard has over 35 years’ experience in finance in higher education and health care industries in Texas and Georgia.

Education: Bachelors of Accountancy, University of Mississippi; M.B.A, University of West Georgia

Office: Richards Hall, 216


Gina Sheeks

Gina Sheeks, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

Background: Associate VP for student affairs; interim chair, Department of Communication; Career Center director

Education: B.A., M.A., Murray State University (Kentucky); Ph.D., Georgia State University

Office: Schuster Student Success Center, 216


Ron Williams

Ron Williams, Ed.D.
Chief of Staff

Background: Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Academic Innovation; Vice President for Student Affairs at Western Illinois University; Director, Academic Programming at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission

Education: B.S., Lane College; M.Ed., Ed.D., Tennessee State University

Office: Richards Hall, 111


Ask Cody

Ask Cody