Georgia regents nominate current Augusta University administrator as next president


TIFTON, Ga. (AP) — A current Augusta University administrator is positioned to become the school's next president.

Regents of the University System of Georgia voted Thursday to name Russell T. Keen as the sole finalist for the presidency of the 10,000-student public university, which includes the Medical College of Georgia.

Keen is currently executive vice president for administration and chief of staff to the president at Augusta University.

Being named a sole finalist is typically a prelude to being named president of a public college or university in Georgia. Under state law, regents must wait at least five days before confirming Keen's appointment.

Brooks Keel, the president of Augusta University since 2015, announced last September that he is retiring on June 30.

Keel took over in Augusta shortly after regents merged Georgia Health Sciences University and Augusta State University in 2013. The school was called Georgia Regents University until shortly after Keel became president in 2015. Under Keel, regents handed over control of Augusta University's hospital to Wellstar Health System in an effort to improve the hospital’s financial position. Lawmakers this year agreed to create a freestanding medical school at the University of Georgia and a new dental school at Georgia Southern University, meaning Augusta University will no longer host Georgia's only public medical and dental schools.

Keen has worked under Keel at Augusta University since 2015. Before that, Keen was an administrator at Georgia Southern University for 13 years, working for Keel there as well. Earlier, he was a fundraiser for the University of Georgia.

Keen earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and a master's degree in higher education administration from Georgia Southern. He earned a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Georgia.