Dr. Richard Holmes Powell, 1911-1933

President Powell

Dr. Richard Holmes Powell was the first president of South Georgia State Normal College.  He was elected in 1911 by the Board of Trustees, and served for 22 years (1911-1933).  Dr. Powell was born in Blakely, Georgia, in 1875.  He received an A.B. from Mercer University in 1894, an M.A. from the University of Colorado in 1898, and an honorary LL.D. from the University of Georgia in 1924.  He married Freida Berens in 1907, and they had three sons: Alfred, David and Richard; and one daughter, Elizabeth (Betsy).

Prior to his appointment at SGSNC, Powell held several distinguished positions in his career as an educator/administrator.  He was the principal of the Tennille (Ga.) Institute (1984-96); the head of the English department at the  New Mexico Normal School in Las Vegas, N.M. (1898-1903); and associate professor of English and history at the Colorado State Normal School in Greeley, Colo. (1903-06).  Powell returned to Georgia in 1906, and was the head of the English department at the Georgia Normal and Industrial College in Milledgeville (1906-10).  He later became the State Supervisor for Rural Education (1910-11), then accepted the post as president of SGSNC. Read more...

Dr. Jere Madison Pound, 1933-1934

Jerry Madison PoundDr. Jere (pronounced "Jerry") Madison Pound was the second president of Georgia State Womans College. He was appointed in July 1933 by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, and served only until May 1934, due to illness.  Dr. Pound was born in Liberty Hill, Georgia, in 1864.  He received an A.B. from the University of Georgia in 1884 and an honorary LL.D. from the University of Georgia in 1915.  He married Ada Murphey in 1890, and they had five sons:  Murphey, Jere Madison Jr. (d. 1910 at age 14), Edwin Aldine, Merritt Bloodworth and William Stokely; and three daughters: Willie Greene, Ida, and Lucy Floyd.

Dr. Pound had an extensive career as a Georgia educator and administrator, beginning as a teacher at the Boys High School in Atlanta (1884-85).  He was the principal of the Fort Valley (Ga.) Institute (1885-87), then president of the Gordon Institute in Barnesville (1887-96 and 1897-1901). During 1896-97, he was the director of the Normal Department at Georgia Normal and Industrial College in Milledgeville.  He was the superintendent of the Macon and Bibb County public schools (1901-04), and was briefly the superintendent of the East Florida Seminary (1904-05).  Read more...

Dr. Frank Robertson Reade, 1935-1948

Frank Robertson ReadeDr. Frank Robertson Reade was the third president of Georgia State Womans College. He was appointed by the Board of Regents as interim president in May 1934, due to Dr. Pound’s illness. After Dr. Pound’s death in 1935, Dr. Reade was appointed president and served for a total of 14 years (1934-1948). Dr. Reade was born in Abingdon Virginia, in 1895. He graduated from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia in 1914 and taught there for two years. In 1916, he entered the University of Virginia. Dr. Reade took a sabbatical from college to serve in France during World War I. When he returned, he graduated with an English degree from the University of Virginia in 1920. Reade received his M.A. in English in June 1921 and completed requirements for a doctorate degree in 1926. He returned to teach at Episcopal High School for one year in 1922, and then taught English at the Georgia School of Technology from 1923 until his appointment at GSWC. He married Jean Cunningham in 1922; the couple had no children. Read more...

Dr. James Ralph Thaxton, 1948-1966

James Ralph ThaxtonDr. James Ralph Thaxton was the forth president of Georgia State Womans College. He served as the Acting President from 1948-49, and replaced Dr. Reade as president in 1949. He served for a total of 18 years (1949-66). Dr. Thaxton was born on March 23, 1901 in Griffin, Georgia.  He received an A.B. from the University of Georgia in 1921, an A.M. from the University of Georgia in 1924, a diploma from the University of Grenoble, France in 1922, and he received his PhD from the University of Indiana in 1937. Dr. Thaxton married Helen Clarkson in December 1922, and the couple had two sons. 

Dr. Thaxton’s career in public education lasted for 45 years.  Beginning as a teacher at Griffin High School (Georgia) in 1921, he moved on to teach at the University of Georgia working his way from instructor to full professor (1922-39),  he was also the Director of Admissions at the University of Georgia (1943-48) before coming to GSWC in 1949. Read more...

Dr. Sidney Walter Martin, 1966-1978

Sidney Walter MartinDr. Sidney Walter Martin was the fifth president of Valdosta State College.  Appointed by the board of Regents in 1966, Dr. Martin’s presidency lasted 12 years (1966-78). He was born on February 1, 1911, in Tifton, Georgia.  Dr. Martin received an A.B. from Furman University in 1932, a M.A. from the University of Georgia in 1935, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in 1942.  He married Clare Philips on July 30, 1940, and they had one son and one daughter.

Before his appointment at Valdosta State College, Dr. Martin spent 22 years at the University of Georgia as a professor, Dean of Facilities, and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (1935-57).  He was then appointed as president of Emory University (1957-62), and finally he was the Vice Chancellor of the University System of Georgia (1962-66) until he came to Valdosta State College in July 1966. Read more...

Dr. Hugh C. Bailey, 1978-2001

Hugh C. BaileyDr. Hugh Coleman Bailey was the sixth president of Valdosta State College. Appointed by the board of Regents in 1978, Dr. Bailey served for 23 years (1978-2001). He was born July 2, 1929, in Berry, Alabama. Dr. Bailey graduated from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, with a B.A. in history in 1950. He went on to get his M.A. in 1951 and his Ph.D. in 1954 from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He married Joan Seever in 1962 and they have two daughters. He began his career November 17, 1953, as a history instructor at Samford University and became a full professor by 1959. He was not new to administration positions; he held two at Samford University: the chairman of the Department of Social Sciences from 1967-1970, the Dean of Arts and Sciences from 1970-1975. He also served as the Vice President of Academic Affairs and the Dean of Faculty at Francis Marion College in South Carolina from 1975-1978 before becoming President of Valdosta State College in 1978. Read more...

Dr. Ronald M. Zaccari, 2002-2008

Ronald M. ZaccariDr. Ronald M. Zaccari is the seventh president of Valdosta State University.  He was appointed by the Board of Regents in January 2002 and served until June 2008.  Dr. Zaccari was born in Butler, Pennsylvania on August 29, 1937.  He received a B.S. from the State University, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania in 1963; a M.Ed. from University of Pittsburgh in 1967; and a Ed.D. from Pennsylvania State University in 1973.  He married Nancy Sanford on February 24, 1964 and they have two sons.

Dr. Zaccari had a background in administration as well as teaching.  Before he became VSU’s President, he held various faculty positions at Edinboro State College and University of Colorado.  He spent 19 years (1977-1997) at Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, Louisiana, as professor of art and in various administrative positions, including Dean of the College of Education and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Dr. Zaccari served as President of West Liberty State College, West Virginia, from 1996 to 2001. Read more...

Dr. Patrick J. Schloss, 2008-2011

Patrick J. SchlossDr. Patrick J. Schloss, served as Valdosta State University’s eighth president from August 2008-April 2011.

His core academic values shaped the focus of his presidency — and he was particularly attentive to budgetary processes that enhanced the fiscal responsibility of those closest to the university’s mission.  He was a strong advocate for shared governance, directing his attention to policy formation processes that benefited from the voice of all campus constituents.

Dr. Schloss’s focus was student centered, and he invested substantial energy in cultivating student-life opportunities. He was deeply committed to establishing and maintaining strong relationships between the university, its alumni, and community partners. Read more..

Dr. William J. McKinney, 2012-2015

William McKinney

A nationally recognized teacher, scholar, and academic leader, Dr. William J. McKinney became Valdosta State University’s ninth president on July 1, 2012. Prior to arriving at VSU, Dr. McKinney served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Professor of Philosophy at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW).

During his tenure at IPFW, Dr. McKinney led the successful regional reaccreditation by the North Central Association’s Higher Learning Commission as well as the process that led to IPFW’s “Engaged University” designation by the Carnegie Foundation. In his four years at IPFW, sponsored research, grants, and contracts increased by 33 percent. Under his leadership, IPFW also had increases in full-time tenure track faculty, and the percentage of female and minority faculty. Read more...



Dr. Richard Carvajal, 2017 - Present


Dr. Richard A. Carvajal is the 10th president of Valdosta State University. Dr. Carvajal assumed his post on January 1, 2017.

Prior to his appointment as interim president of Darton State College in December 2015, Carvajal served as president of Bainbridge State College in Bainbridge, which he began January 2011.

Before joining the University System of Georgia, Carvajal was vice president for student success services at Cascadia College in Bothell, Washington. Other previous appointments include dean of student services at Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas; associate dean of student services at Coker University, South Carolina; and an executive officer of the Washington State Student Services Commission.