ATLANTA - The state Board of Regents named a new Georgia State University president Thursday, selecting a University of South Carolina at Columbia executive vice president and provost to lead the downtown Atlanta campus.
Mark P. Becker, 50, will succeed longtime Georgia State President Carl Patton, who is retiring after 16 years. There are 27,000 students enrolled at the school, according to the University System of Georgia Web site.
"This has been an important presidential search for a star in American research universities," board chair Richard Tucker said in a news release. "Dr. Becker tremendously impressed the campus search committee and the regents with his thinking regarding Georgia State's future."
Becker will be the school's seventh president when he assumes his new post in January. This was the second attempt to find a replacement for Patton after the finalists in the first search this summer withdrew their names for various reasons.
The other finalist in this year's search, Brooks A. Keel from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, withdrew his name from the running Friday.
Becker has been executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at USC since 2004.
"Mark has been a vital member of the administration," USC President Harris Pastides said Thursday in a news release.
"Under his leadership, the quality of our faculty has become even stronger, and scholarly productivity has increased."
Pastides had been a finalist in the first presidential search but withdrew when he was named USC's president.
Before going to South Carolina, Becker taught biostatistics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where he was also an assistant vice president for public health preparedness and emergency response and dean of the School of Public Health. He also held various academic and administrative positions at several other universities.
Becker has a doctorate in statistics from The Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pa., and a bachelor of science in mathematics from Towson State University in Towson, Md.