Since beginning his tenure as Georgia State University’s seventh president in January 2009, President Mark P. Becker has pursued an ambitious vision for the future of the institution and has led it into an unparalleled period of growth and advancement.
Reflecting his vision of the modern public research university, Georgia State adopted a dynamic 10-year strategic plan that has fueled its emergence as one of the nation’s premier urban research universities. Dr. Becker was named one of America’s 10 most innovative university presidents by Washington Monthly in 2015, and the university was ranked the second most innovative university in the country by U.S. News & World Report magazine in 2019.
As a first-generation college student who began his educational career at a community college, Dr. Becker is personally and professionally committed to ensuring that students of all economic backgrounds succeed. In a 10-year period the university’s graduation rates have increased by 22 percentage points. The university has become a widely recognized national leader in the introduction of innovative programs and initiatives to foster student success. It leads the nation in eliminating disparities in graduation rates based on race, ethnicity or income, and as one of the most diverse universities in America, is first in the nation among nonprofit institutions in graduating African-American students.
Prior to his appointment as president of Georgia State, Dr. Becker was executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of South Carolina, and dean of the School of Public Health and assistant vice president of public health preparedness and emergency response at the University of Minnesota. From 1989 to 2000, Dr. Becker was a professor in the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, where he also was associate dean for academic affairs. He has held academic appointments at the University of Washington, the University of Florida and Cornell University.
Trained as a statistician, Dr. Becker has had a distinguished career in biostatistics and public health sciences. For most of his professorial career he was a member of the faculty in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Michigan, where he also held appointments in the Institute for Social Research and the Department of Statistics. He was made a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Becker has been principal investigator on research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. He has published extensively in leading journals, and his doctoral students have gone on to successful careers in leading higher education institutions and with multinational companies.
Dr. Becker attended Harford (Md.) Community College, earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Towson State University in 1980 and his doctor’s degree in statistics from the Pennsylvania State University in 1985. He grew up in Havre de Grace, Md., near Baltimore.
At Georgia State, he has served as Chair of the Department of Religious Studies and Director of the Honors Program. Since 2008, he has directed the student success and enrollment efforts of the university, overseeing among the fastest improving graduation rates in the nation and the elimination of all achievement gaps based on students’ race, ethnicity or income level. Dr. Renick has testified on strategies for helping university students succeed before the United States Senate and has twice been invited to speak at the White House. His work has been covered by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time, and CNN and cited by President Obama. He was named one of 2016’s Most Innovative People in Higher Education by Washington Monthly, was the recipient of the 2015-16 Award for National Leadership in Student Success Innovation, and was awarded the 2018 McGraw Prize in Higher Education. He currently is principal investigator for a $9 million U.S. Department of Education grant to study the impact of predictive-analytics-based advisement on ten-thousand low-income and first-generation students nationally. A summa cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College, Dr. Renick holds his M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University.