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Preczewski named GGC interim president

LAWRENCEVILLE — Perhaps it’s fitting that the man who has reported to President Daniel J. Kaufman for more than a decade at multiple learning institutions will take the reins at Georgia Gwinnett College upon Kaufman’s departure this summer.

In addition to their time together at GGC, Stanley “Stas” Preczewski worked with Kaufman at the United States Military Academy at West Point beginning in 1999.

It was Kaufman who later called on Preczewski in 2005 to come serve at GGC as an administrator.

On Friday, University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby announced the appointment of Preczewski — currently vice president for Academic and Student Affairs at GGC — to serve as interim president at the local institution.

The appointment, effective July 1, follows GGC President Kaufman’s recent appointment as the next president of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. Kaufman plans to leave the institution at the end of June.

Preczewski has served in his current position since GGC’s founding in 2005.

Preczewski was responsible for overseeing the process for initial regional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which was achieved in 2009, and also helped GGC obtain initial Federal Financial Aid approval. He also supervised the hiring of over 500 faculty and academic staff.

Board of Regents spokesman John Millsaps said there is no “set timetable at this point” regarding selection of an official president at the college. “We’ve appointed an interim president, but beyond that there is no set time.”

In a previous interview, Millsaps said the standard process for finding a college president includes the formation of two separate committees: a campus search committee and a Regents search committee.

The campus search committee is made up of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members. The Regents search committee is composed of two to three board of regents members.

The committees work to narrow down the pool of applicants and assess the strengths of those in the running. The Regents committee will then interview remaining applicants and make a recommendation. Upon the committee’s recommendation, the Board of Regents makes a final decision.

In the meantime, as Kaufman passes the torch to Preczewski, the new interim president said he hopes to “continue following in the footsteps” of his predecessor.

“It’s an incredible opportunity,” Preczewski said.

Preczewski was also interim president of Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, from July 2011 through June 2012.

“I look forward to working with the USG and the Board of Regents,” said Preczewski. “As we transition our growth model to complement the USG’s strategic direction, there is great opportunity to build upon the countless achievements of President Kaufman and consolidate our strengths to leverage further success for our entire community in the years ahead.”

Said Kaufman: “Stas Preczewski is a gifted educator who is absolutely committed to the GGC vision and mission. Under his leadership, GGC will continue to provide the transformational educational opportunities that the residents of our region deserve. He is exactly the right person to lead GGC into its next phase of development.”

Preczewski earned a Ph.D. specializing in higher and adult education from the University of Missouri in 1997. He has a master of arts degree specializing in strategic planning from the United States Naval War College earned in 1998 and a master of science degree specializing in industrial engineering and operations research from the University of Massachusetts earned in 1987. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in agricultural engineering and economics in 1980.

An ROTC graduate, Preczewski served his nation in the U.S. Army from 1980-2006, achieving the rank of colonel. He served in various command and staff positions in combat arms units world-wide, and received two Legion of Merit awards, four Meritorious Service Medals and the Army Commendation Medal, among other honors.

Preczewski has received a number of academic recognitions and awards, including a fellowship from the American Council on Education, 2003-2004, which he spent at Wake Forest University. He also is an ACE Chief Academic Officer Graduate.

Preczewski and his wife, Jean, reside in Buford and have three adult children.