UWG's Sethna retiring: His plans will not affect Newnan center expansion
By REBECCA LEFTWICH
Plans for the University of West Georgia’s Newnan expansion will not be affected by UWG President Beheruz N. Sethna’s retirement, officials say.
“That’s all set in motion and should continue to move along smoothly,” said Cathy Wright, director of the Newnan Center.
Deputy Provost Jon Anderson, who outlined the university’s expansion plans at the April meeting of the Coweta County Board of Commissioners, said UWG will move forward as soon as it secures approval from the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents.
“I think that Dr. Sethna has done a good job leading the effort to carefully plan what’s going on (in Newnan),” Anderson said. “He will still be in the presidency for the rest of this fiscal year, and most of the work there will be finished by the time he retires.”
Anderson said the university intends to be a “long-term, leading partner in providing higher education in the city of Newnan and Coweta County.”
“Conceptually, we have pretty solid buy-in (from Coweta County and Newnan),” Anderson said. “Everybody has been very supportive. It’s an excellent time to be part of the growth there.”
Sethna, who has been at UWG for 19 years, announced Wednesday he will retire June 30, 2013. He said he will continue on as professor of business administration at UWG post-retirement and plans to spend summers teaching English and science at an orphanage in his native India.
In addition to his current status as longest-serving president of a four-year institution/ university in the state, Sethna is believed to be the first person of Indian heritage to head a university in the United States and the first ethnic minority to do so in Georgia.
“I personally was sad to hear the announcement, but I am happy for him and his plans for the future,” Wright said. “He has been a good friend to me and a great supporter of our Newnan Center. He has accomplished amazing things in his tenure at UWG, and I have enjoyed working with him during my five years as director here. He is well respected by the citizens and community leaders of Coweta County and will be missed.”
West Georgia College – now the University of West Georgia – was a liberal arts school with an enrollment of 7,947 students when Sethna arrived in 1993-94. UWG is now an institution with full university status whose full-time equivalent enrollment has grown by 50 percent since that time. It has also conferred more than 20 doctoral degrees in the past year, including its first Ph.D.
“We continue to dream and achieve impossible dreams at West Georgia,” Sethna said. “I will never stop wanting more for it and its students, faculty and staff and will remain as charged, as passionate and as enthusiastic about UWG as I was when I set foot on campus,” Sethna said. “It has been my honor and my privilege to serve as the president of the University of West Georgia.”
“Dr. Sethna has elevated the reach, brand and esteem of UWG throughout Georgia, the Southeast and nationally, said University System of Georgia Regent Ken Bernard. “Dr. Sethna was and is passionate about teaching, and this carried over in all his efforts, both at USG and throughout his tenure at UWG. In fact, he made it a priority that all administrators taught as part of their jobs. He will be missed, but his presence as a faculty member will be immensely valuable to UWG.”