New president of University of West Georgia will be Kyle Marrero of Florida. Background in opera and conducting.

Dr. Kyle Marrero is the finalist for the presidency of the University of West Georgia

Dr. Kyle Marrero is the finalist for the presidency of the University of West Georgia

From the Board of Regents:

Board of Regents Chair “Dink” NeSmith and University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby have announced the name of the finalist for the University of West Georgia presidency, Dr. Kyle Marrero.

Marrero is currently vice president for University Advancement at the University of West Florida, Pensacola, a position he has held since August 2009. In this position, Marrero provides executive leadership to advance the mission of the university in the areas of alumni relations, development, marketing, communications and the University of West Florida Foundation.

He was given primary responsibility by the university president to lead the university’s effort to achieve the Carnegie Community and Curricular Engagement and Outreach and Partnerships Classification Award for 2015. This goal serves as one of the benchmarks of success specifically aligned to engaging in community partnerships that respond to mutual concerns and opportunities and that advance the economy and quality of life in a region.

Under his leadership, the advancement office has made significant contributions to a recorded 20 percent increase in enrollment, completed the largest capital campaign in the institution’s history by raising $39.2 million toward a $35 million fundraising goal, and increased the Foundation investment portfolio from $45 to $60 million.

Marrero’s background is in music, and prior to his current position, he served as first the chair of the Department of Music and then as the director of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at the University of West Florida.

Prior to his work at the University of West Florida, Marrero has taught voice, opera and conducting at a number of institutions in Louisiana, Michigan and Ohio.

He currently serves as the artistic director of the Pensacola Opera, a position he has held since June 2000. During his tenure, the company was recognized for exponential growth and quality. He developed a comprehensive education and outreach program serving 20,000 school children and 10,000 adults in Northwest Florida and received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Opera America for programming and education.

Between 1998 and 2002, Marrero was the artistic director of Opera Southwest in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has produced and directed an extensive number of operas in this facet of his career. Marrero also has served as a judge for a number of opera and vocal competitions and has performed on stage with a number of opera companies worldwide in principal roles, as well as maintaining an extensive career as a recitalist and performer with symphony orchestras.

He holds both bachelor and master of music degrees from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, and earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) in vocal performance from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Marrero also has studied music education and vocal performance at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and Arizona State University, Tempe, as well as the German language at the Goethe-Institute in Munich, Germany.

The Board of Regents will take final action on the selection of the next president of the University of West Georgia at a future meeting.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

26 comments Add your comment

Private Citizen

March 16th, 2013
9:46 am

Heard on the radio this morning that both Kennesaw State University and Georgia Southern University are both going to add to tuition / fees $100. per semester in fees that go to the football program. The fee increase is for all students.

Such a caste system we live in, and now it increasingly looks like an intellectual caste system. The “football” school over here, the “arts” school over there. Problem is, if you have a vocabulary, you can hardly exist in most public K-12 schools zone, where anything outside of the box is prohibited and there’s no one taking joy in three and four syllable words. Story from back in Thanksgiving, looked up a word with a young person. They did not know the word. And then, they did not know any of the words in the definition to describe the word. Personally, I would not be comfortable as a student spending $100. per semester on the football program,$200.-$300. per year.

Private Citizen

March 16th, 2013
9:49 am

That’s quite a photo. Wishing every success.

Worst Georgia

March 16th, 2013
9:52 am

Marrero has just inherited arguably one of the worst athletic programs in division 2. UWG Football is operating somewhere around a 26% winning percentage over the past 5 years. Will be interesting to see if Marrero is apathetic to the embarrassing athletic results at UWG or if he will actually make the necessary personell changes in the UWG athletic department.

Anonymous

March 16th, 2013
10:26 am

Dr. Marrero is a very capable and intelligent individual, and has been an outstanding VP for Advancement @ UWF. However, UWG has an Advancement VP and the search was for a President to lead campus. UWG needs a President! Dr. Marrero has very limited, and in most cases no, experience toward managing and leading a campus. UWG needs an experienced leader to overcome many serious internal issues, especially serious issues with academic affairs and its leadership. These issues, if not addressed in a timely fashion, will have a wider implication for the future of the institution as well as the State. Based on recent history, Dr. Marrero is capable of learning and excelling in his new post. I surely wish him the best, and the community as well as the campus are ready for a positive change and a breath of fresh air. UWG community has been looking to July 1st. for years, and cannot wait to embrace its leader!

Phil Lunney

March 16th, 2013
10:34 am

Does this mean that in addition to the many programs available at West Georgia that there will be an Opera Program in their future (expanding on their current Opera Workshops)?
I have watched the growth of West Georgia College through name changes, program expansions and campus improvements for the last 20 years. He appears to be a good choice, I wish him well and the continued success of a fine University.

UWG_2003

March 16th, 2013
10:38 am

I’m a proud alum of UWG and appreciate where we have been and where we were headed under Dr. Sethna’s leadership. I am not 100% comfortable with this choice as I don’t feel his executive experience and resume rises to the level of someone who should lead the institution at this crucial time in UWG’s history.

I wish him the best.

Private Citizen

March 16th, 2013
11:16 am

I’d suggest converting the football team into a soccer team and then renaming it “football” using the proper use of the word on a world level. This would be a step forward. Real football costs a lot less to implement, and demands more action, coordination, and imagination from the players, and is in league with international competition. U. S. “football” ala NFL has about as much to do with the rest of the world as U. S. denial of health services and rationing of health care.

Private Citizen

March 16th, 2013
11:19 am

I sure hope UWG start producing graduates with a little more spine than Dr. Barge, who “goes light” at every turn, where the state is 5th tier in the power structure of education administration.

Private Citizen

March 16th, 2013
11:22 am

Here’s an idea for the education school at UWG, start sending graduate education management students to internships in other rich countries to see how it is done. With no federal interference, the state leaders in other rich countries probably have a clearer idea of what are their responsibilities. They do them themselves without subcontracting.

1984

March 16th, 2013
11:23 am

Need to rename back to “Braves”.

Worst Georgia

March 16th, 2013
1:12 pm

Maybe Marrero can help UWG establish a unique image that makes more sense than putting a flame symbol on everything in site. UWG does need to get back to some of its heritage that it held prior to 1993-94.

Collegiate institutions are often viewed and judged through the window of their athletic programs. Marrero has to fix athletics at UWG. Students are being taxed to extreme with student athletic fees and stadium fees and alumni have helped invest in a new football stadium. These type of financial investments/transactions warrant more than a 26% return from the Director of Athletics or football coach.

Lee

March 16th, 2013
2:39 pm

Once again, with all those Deans of this and Deputy Vice President of that running around campus, why does a college feel the need to go off campus to fill the president’s job? To me, that indicates a failure of the past president to develop the people below them so that one day, they can step into that leadership position.

It’s called succession planning. Successful businesses and institutions do it well.
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I lost a lot of respect for WGA when they changed the name of their mascot from the Braves to the Wolves. @#$*@ political correctness.

K

March 16th, 2013
2:39 pm

@1984: agreed.

Worst Georgia

March 16th, 2013
3:34 pm

I consider Dr. Sethna to be a historical revisionist. UWG lost the McIntosh steps to the flame; lost the Braves to the Wolves; they even changed the founding date of the institution under Sethna. Hopefully Marrero will be more in tune with what is historically correct at UWG.

Former Brave

March 16th, 2013
4:16 pm

Worst Georgia, you hit the nail on the head. Dr. Sethna reminds me of Betty Siegel of KSU. Was a good leader at first but slipped into mediocrity the more years that they were there at their institution. Let a lot of bad things happen towards the end of their tenure either because of apathy or lack of institutional control. Hopefully this new president will have as much success as Dr. Papp has had at KSU (i.e.: improve the infrastructure of the academic buildings, revamp the athletics, raise the academic standards of the school).

Also, let’s change the name back from Wolves. It’s stupid and inane. Braves doesn’t have to connotate Native America. It just means someone who is brave in the face of difficulties, be it athletic or in the classroom.

Adam

March 16th, 2013
6:42 pm

As a former player at UWG and Alumni of Kennesaw State, I am proud of the fact that KSU is getting a program and as someone soon returning to further my graduate degree I have no problem paying that extra $100. Frankly, that is old news and you need to get with the times.

@Worst Georgia, you don’t have a clue what in the hell your talking about. Maybe statistically the athletics program has struggled but they are finally developing this program the way it needs to be developed.

Long Time Fan

March 16th, 2013
7:32 pm

I am not totally comfortable with this choice, but as a West Georgia graduate I will give Dr. Marrero my full support.

One of his big jobs is going to be evaluating the athletic department. With its location, facilities and enrollment, there is absolutely no reason for West Georgia’s teams to be so consistently mediocre, bordering on bad. Results on the field/court have to improve, and somehow the fan base has to be energized. I’m not sure West Georgia has the proper coaches in place, and I don’t think it’s proper to have one person as athletic director/head football coach when the football results have been so bad.

Good luck Dr. Marrero. Here’s wishing you the best.

Dear Anonymous

March 16th, 2013
8:28 pm

Dear Anonymous,
Althouth I don’t agree with everything that Dr. Sethna has done he has grown the college, oh yea my bad now a state university. So I am guessing that you were either on that didn’t get picked for the job or one that was very close to the decision. Either way putting Dr. Sethna down is an insult! He has grown that college to much more heights than anyone and I know this since I have lived there since 1979!!

Georgia Dad

March 17th, 2013
8:33 am

Dr. Marrero’s resume appears to be light. Is he really the best that UWG can do?

Catlady

March 17th, 2013
3:21 pm

You know, there ARE doctoral programs that prepare talented educators to be college and university leaders! Why tap a musician?

OriginalProf

March 17th, 2013
3:55 pm

@ Catlady. College presidents usually are faculty originating in a non-Education field, who have worked their way up the administrative ladder. I don’t know of any who have an Ed.D in Educational Leadership, if that is the doctoral program you mean. Those programs usually prepare their graduates to be K-12 principals or mid-level K-12 or college/University administrators. But not University Presidents.

My own reaction to this choice is that it’s interesting and refreshing that he’s from a Fine Arts/Humanities field, rather than one of the STEM fields or Social Sciences. Usually, a President is hired to be a fund-raiser for the school (the Provost runs the academic side), and he seems to have a good background for this.

I have no ties at all to the U. of West Georgia.

Worst Georgia

March 17th, 2013
6:24 pm

@ Adam all it takes is a quick look at GSC standings or sitting in the stands watching Shorter beat UWG to realize the right athletic leadership and coaches are not in place. How long does anyone get to build a program in collegiate athletics? There is no way this head coach would have survived at any other institution. Maybe if UWG leaves the current AD and football coach in place for another 5 years UWG might get one winning season. Long Time Fan has it right about athletics at UWG.

Anonymous

March 17th, 2013
7:23 pm

@ Dear Anonymous; Basing your views on what evidence? You really need to speak to community leaders as well as campus folks (like faculty, students, & staff) to realize that after his first 5-7 years, Sethna’s main goal became to consolidate his power (hiring only people who are only loyal to him personally, and not to the institution, students or the State. Over the years, this did so much harm to all important aspects of the institution. Ironically, this is exactly what did him in. He thought, he could ride this forever. When he was told that last year was his last year, yep, it was not his choice- regardless to what he claims, he just did not know what to do. When the Chancellor refused him severance pay, that was a clear message that you need to retire now, not next year, not two years from now. If it was his call, he would ‘ve retired (instead of sticking around campus to get an over-size pay for what he does). The Chancellor is right to seek a new leadership for the seek of the institution. I think this is a great move to bring in a new leader to help the institution and region.

Yep, Sethna did good things. He also did bad things, some to very innocent people (with his own admission). Here is one, I am sure you know: http://atlantaunfiltered.com/2011/10/17/univ-of-west-ga-vp-quits-after-272k-whistleblower-firing/ .

No, I was not a candidate nor close to the process. When you wish to discredit someone, stick to what she/he writes and not your fantasy. And, stick to the evidence (as documented, not as wished or hoped to be). You would be best served by talking to people who work @ UWG, and the Carrollton Community. Sure, you may have several different views, but, you will also start seeing some clear and emergent themes.

And, BTW, it is “University” of West Georgia. We long moved away from “State University.”

Worst Georgia

March 17th, 2013
10:34 pm

Anonymous is correct. Sethna did bad things and ened up being his own worse enemy. In the meantime, many good people who are employees and supporters of UWG suffered.

OriginalProf

March 18th, 2013
11:29 am

I see by comments that some connected with UWG are dubious about Dr. Marrero’s qualifications to be President of your university, in part because of his musical background. But to me, he has some important administrative experience relevant to his new position at UWG. He’s now Vice President to advance UWF’s external relations with the community, and seems successful; he’s increased student enrollment, raised funds significantly, and increased his university’s investment portfolio. He has a solid academic background–something that’s important to the faculty and not always true for University presidents, believe me–and is respected in his field of music. Before being Vice President, he was department chair and then School director, so he has experienced faculty politics.

He also seems quite enthusiastic about his new position–just look at that grin in the photo! He should bring some harmony to what sounds like rather a troubled campus.

Stay Positive

March 25th, 2013
1:03 am

What’s with all the negativity? Give the guy a chance! “Worst Georgia” – please stop with your smart a** attitude. It’s really not being appreciated by anybody! Please try if you or anybody think you can do a better job! People just really love to talk. It’s not always easy and straightforward being in a leadership position. This is just another chapter in this man’s life and he could turn out to be a really great president of UWG. “Troubled campus” is just another way of saying UWG has potential – it’s how you look at it.