By Curt Yeomans
The University System of Georgia has picked a man with experience leading a university on an interim basis as Clayton State University's temporary leader.
The system announced Tuesday that Thomas Hynes, the provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of West Georgia, will serve as Clayton State's interim president beginning June 1. He will replace sitting Clayton State President Thomas Harden, who will leave the university in May to take a similar position at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
"We are just anticipating that once we begin the search for Clayton State's next president, there will be a gap between the end of the search process, and the date when Dr. Harden leaves," said John Millsaps, a spokesman for the University System of Georgia. "We would need someone to go in there and lead the university until a permanent president takes over."
Hynes has been at West Georgia since 1996. He served as interim president at the institution in 1999, while West Georgia President Beheruz Sethna temporarily led the university system's academic affairs department. It was that experience which led university system officials to him during a system-wide search for Clayton State's interim president.
"He kind of understands what the position calls for," Millsaps said.
"We are extremely fortunate to be able to call on Dr. Hynes' strong leadership skills during this transition," Susan Herbst, the university system's chief academic officer, said in a statement. "Clayton State University has a great deal of momentum going for it, and I am confident that the institution will be in excellent hands under Dr. Hynes."
Hynes has been working in higher education for nearly 40 years, beginning in 1971 as a teaching assistant at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, according to a resume on the West Georgia Web site. He has also taught at Baylor University, and the University of Louisville.
In addition to being the provost at West Georgia, Hynes is also a professor of mass communication.
Millsaps said no date has been set for the naming of Clayton State's presidential search committee. He said the university system has three other presidential searches under way: at Georgia Tech, Armstrong Atlantic University, and Georgia Southern University.
Hynes could not be reached for comment Tuesday. A woman who answered the phone in his office at West Georgia said he was traveling back to Georgia from Washington, D.C.