Dr. Stuart Eddings Rayfield was named Columbus State University’s sixth president by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on March 9, 2023. She began her official tenure on June 1, 2023.
An Alabama native, Dr. Rayfield earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. She then earned a master’s in higher education administration focused on student affairs from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa before earning a doctorate in higher education administration focused on leadership, policy and organizations from Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
President Rayfield’s original tenure at Columbus State began in 2006 as an assistant professor, later holding the Frank D. Brown Distinguished Chair in Servant Leadership. Along with teaching, she directed the Servant Leadership Program, co-led the SACSCOC reaffirmation of accreditation, and co-developed the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program, Servant Leadership track in the D. Abbott Turner College of Business & Technology. In 2015, she was also named interim associate provost for undergraduate education.
A year later, she accepted the role as interim president of the former Bainbridge State College, where she co-led the college’s consolidation with Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. She then immediately stepped into the role of interim president of Gordon State College, leading the college’s transition to new leadership.
In July 2018, President Rayfield was named the University System of Georgia’s vice chancellor for leadership and institutional development — stepping away only briefly in late 2019 to serve as the interim president of the University of West Georgia. In 2022, she served as interim executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, overseeing the university system’s entire academic enterprise. As vice chancellor for leadership and institutional development, President Rayfield led support for USG’s 26 public colleges and universities as well as the University System Office in areas that include management, leadership transitions, and training and orientation.
Before her service to the University System of Georgia, she held positions at Auburn University, Vanderbilt University, Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro), and the University of Alabama.
Dr. Rayfield is married to David Rayfield, a partner at the law firm Waldrep, Mullin & Callahan LLC in Columbus, and a graduate of Rhodes College and the University of Alabama. Together, they have two daughters: Vivian, who attends the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Celia, a student at Columbus High School.