Gordon State College President Max Burns has announced his plans to retire effective December 31, 2017. “It has been my great honor to serve as president of Gordon State College,” said Burns. “I have been fortunate to have a dedicated team of colleagues, all of whom have made significant contributions to student success at Gordon State College throughout the course of my term. The support from the Barnesville community is also one of Gordon State’s biggest strengths, and the strong partnership benefits students and the region alike. I’ll always be cheering for Gordon State, which has an incredibly bright future.” Burns was named president of Gordon State College in January 2012. Prior to being named president, he served as dean of the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia. “The success of Gordon State College can be directly attributed to President Burns’ outstanding leadership,” said Chancellor Steve Wrigley. “President Burns’ emphasis on creating learning opportunities and building a campus community that cares about its students has helped Gordon State achieve greater student success. On behalf of the University System, we are grateful to Max for his commitment to Gordon State’s students and the State of Georgia.” Under Burns’ leadership, Gordon State’s graduation rate has increased by 12 percent and the full-time, first-time freshman student retention rate has increased by 24 percent. The college has also updated its strategic plan, initiated the Gordon State College Presidential Scholars program and added $25 million in new and renovated facilities. Additionally, since 2012, Gordon State has changed how it supports students, starting with those in need, by increasing the number of scholarships awarded by 81 percent and increasing the dollar value of scholarships awarded by 125 percent. The Gordon State College Foundation endowment has increased by 31 percent. In regards to academic programs, under Burns’ leadership, the college has experienced significant achievements, including the development of six new baccalaureate degrees focused on high demand professional programs, bringing the total number of baccalaureate programs at Gordon State College to 13. The college has also implemented 13 associate degree programs to meet regional and state workforce needs. Gordon State has received accreditation reaffirmation from SACSCOC through 2027. Burns holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Georgia State University, a Master of Business Information Systems from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Information regarding the search for Burns’ replacement will be announced at a later date.