Marrero starts new job as West Georgia president

by CELIA SHORTT

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Dr. Kyle Marrero, new University of West Georgia president, answers questions at a meet-and-greet Monday. 

Dr. Kyle Marrero started his job Monday as the new president of Carrollton-based University of West Georgia.

“It’s been a great day,” said Marrero.

Marrero comes to UWG following Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna’s 19 years as president of the university.

“I’m following in the footsteps of an exceptional leader, visionary, and scholar: Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna, Marrero said. “Dr. Sethna and the outstanding faculty and staff have achieved so much. These are indeed exciting times for UWG.”

Marrero brings with him his own academic experience and mission and vision for UWG.

“I believe in the simple premise that we in higher education are in the business of transforming lives,” he said. “It is our responsibility to prepare students for success — in all facets of life. We will make sure everyone in the state of Georgia knows about UWG,” he said. “It’s going to be an interesting time. As a university, we need to be ahead of the curve and move forward.”

In his plans to move forward, Marrero hopes to bring the first capital campaign to UWG as well as keep a customer service base at the university in the midst of its growth.

“From the moment someone applies to be a student, we care about each of them and about their success,” he said. “Some schools get too big to care. That will not be us. They are paying for something with an expectation to deliver. We need to live up to that expectation.”

When asked about what the community and people in Georgia have to look forward to with him as president, his answer was simple.

“What do we have to look forward to?” Marrero asked. “Purposeful growth. We are known here at UWG as the school that is big enough to make things happen, but small enough to know the students’ names. We don’t want to lose our soul for the sake of growth.”

One area of growth for UWG is the university’s planned new campus in Newnan at the site of the historic Newnan Hospital facility on Jackson Street. On Jan. 8, the UWG Board of Regents voted to approve purchasing that property, and the Newnan City Council approved contracts to move the project forward on Jan 22. The project is estimated to cost $15 million.

At its meeting in May, the Newnan City Council voted to remove the contingencies and move forward with the plans to convert the historic hospital facility into the new UWG Newnan campus. Under the plan, the Newnan Hospital Board will donate all the land and also give approximately $4.2 million toward the project. Coweta County will give slightly more than $500,000 over a 10-year period. Once the project is completed, the Board of Regents will buy the complex for $5 million.

Marrero, his wife and his daughter are looking forward to being a part of the community in Carrollton, and he plans to make the UWG a destination point for arts and fun for the entire community. Both were with him as he addressed members of the press. His young daughter, Lily, was showing her UWG pride by wearing a blue Wolves cheerleading outfit and carrying around a red balloon.

“We are here as a family and excited to be a part of the community here,” he said.

“I want to make sure the community wants to visit the campus and an initiative for this next year is that the community knows it is invited here.”

Before coming to UWG, Marrero served as vice president for University Advancement at the University of West Florida, Pensacola, for four years. He also has an extensive background in fine arts. While in that role, the advancement office recorded a 20 percent increase in enrollment, completed its largest capital campaign in its history, and increased the Foundation’s investment portfolio. Before serving as vice president for university advancement, he served as chair for the Department of Music and the director for the School of Fine and Performing Arts at the University of West Florida. Marrero has also taught voice, opera, and conducting throughout Louisiana, Michigan and Ohio.

From 1998 to 2002, he served as the artistic director of Opera Southwest and the Pensacola Opera from 2000 to 2013. In addition, he has produced and directed more than 100 operas, served as adjudicator for national opera and vocal competitions, and performed in operas throughout the world.

In his educational background, Marrero earned both bachelor and  master of music degrees from Bowling Green State University and his Doctorate of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) in vocal performance from the University of Michigan. He also studied German at the Goethe-Institute in Munich, Germany.




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