Armstrong State University President Linda M. Bleicken recently announced plans to retire as the university’s chief executive, effective June 30, 2017, after 27 years of service to the University System of Georgia and seven years as president of Armstrong.
“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve as the president of such an important institution for the past seven years,” said Bleicken. “Armstrong stands apart as a vibrant, diverse community dedicated to student success and focused on our values of scholarship, leadership and stewardship. I sincerely appreciate the ongoing support of faculty, staff, students, parents and community leaders and hope Armstrong will continue to cultivate generations of future leaders for many years to come.”
Bleicken has been appointed to serve as the president of the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), a national organization dedicated to the development and support of leadership in higher education, beginning in July of 2017.
A strong advocate of student success, Bleicken has served as the president of Armstrong since 2009, when she became the first female president since the institution’s founding in 1935. During her tenure, she has expanded scholarship opportunities for Armstrong students, enhanced the diversity of the student body and connected the university with the surrounding community in meaningful ways, founding the Treasure Savannah day of service as well as a number of other initiatives.
“President Bleicken has been an outstanding leader for Armstrong State University,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby.
As president, she spearheaded the creation of a new strategic plan that reaffirmed Armstrong’s commitment to student success and established key goals for the institution. In addition, she oversaw $100 million for new construction and renovation of existing buildings, including a new Student Union, Windward Commons residential housing, a 12-court tennis complex, the Student Success Center and a LEED Gold-certified Learning Commons.
Under Bleicken’s leadership, Armstrong graduated the largest class in the university’s history in May 2016, with nearly 800 students crossing the stage at the Savannah Civic Center, and promoted the College of Health Professions as the largest producer of undergraduate health professionals in the University System of Georgia. In addition, she helped secure funding and established community partnerships to open a state-ofthe art Armstrong Liberty Center facility in downtown Hinesville in January 2016, expanding higher education options for students in Liberty County.
Originally from Iowa, Bleicken earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in management from Georgia State University in Atlanta, as well as a bachelor’s degree in marketing, magna cum laude, from Georgia State University.