From the institute’s inception as an A&M School in 1906, there have been two Principals and seven Presidents. From principal Melson to President Dr. Kyle Marrero, each has brought their own ideas and perspectives on how to push the institute to new levels, and help students strive for higher achievements. Each one has left their mark on the institute, and helped make what the University is today.
J.H. Melson was the first principal of the Fourth District A&M School in 1907. He helped the school develop in its early years, and its hardest years of financial difficulties. When the school first opened, the buildings were not complete, due to the loss of funding. Principal Melson worked to obtain the funding to complete the buildings. He then worked to acquire farming equipment and other supplies for classes. After 13 years of leading the school through some of its hardest times, Principal Melson retired in 1920.
Irvine Sullivan Ingram was the second principal of the Fourth District A&M School. He started in 1920, and led the A&M School until 1934, when he became the first President of the newly created West Georgia junior College. He worked with the Rosenwald organization to help out local rural schools. He saw the junior college become a senior college in 1958. He retired as President in 1960.
Dr. William H. Row was the second President of West Georgia College, in 1960; predecessor Irvine Sullivan Ingram handpicked him. Before becoming the second, President Dr. Row was an English Professor and the Dean of Administration. Unfortunately, President Row had a fatal heart attack just nine months after taking over. During the period between Dr. Row’s death and Dr. James E. Body taking over, Irvine Sullivan Ingram stepped in as acting President.
Dr. James E. Boyd was West Georgia College’s third President, in 1961. Before he was President, he was a professor of Science and Mathematics. During his presidency, he took part in the expansion of the College, not only by expanding the number of buildings but also by expanding the number of degrees and majors for students. During the late 1960s and early 1970, there were issues of rampant drugs and alcohol use on campus. President Boyd retired as president in 1971.
Dr. Ward Pafford was the fourth President of West Georgia College in 1972, and saw decreases in enrollment due to the increase of media attention towards the drug and alcohol issues. During his time as President, he had to deal with the numerous bomb threats that were made against almost every building. Even though the campus was calming down, President Pafford resigned in 1975.
July 1975, Dr. Maurice K. Townsend took over as the fifth president of West Georgia College. During his presidency the sports teams were doing well, there were more increases to the campus buildings and curriculum. President Townsend also started the process of getting the Senior College to a State university in 1989, unfortunately that would not happen until many years later. President Townsend’s health decline in 1993 and died in 1994.
Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna became the sixth President in 1994. He was a hand on, academic lead President that still taught and conducted research as the college’s president. During his first few as President, he worked to push the school to reach their goal of becoming a University, and finally in 1996, the Senior College ended and the opening of a new State University began. President Sethna’s early goals were to make the school a better University and help its students achieve greatness. President Sethna retired in 2013.
Dr. Kyle Marrero is the seventh President of the University of West Georgia, taking office in 2013. Since taking his presidency, Dr. Marrero has worked consistently to honor the past while forging a New West. Focusing on the 2014-2020 strategic plan. He is working toward a higher culture of high performance, by working on the four essential areas student success, academic success, partnership success, and operational success. President Marrero has established task forces to explore key topics, including sustainability and diversity and inclusion. These efforts are part of the transformative Engage West! family of programs and support UWG's vision of becoming the best comprehensive university in America. Under Marrero's leadership, so far, UWG has seen significant growth, achieving record enrollment, record GPA for new freshmen, record graduation rates, record regional economic impact, and record fundraising. Also under Dr. Marrero's leadership, the university was selected as the University System of Georgia's 2015 Institution and President of the Year through the Chancellor's Service Excellence Awards.