a man sits at a desk in an office with a bookshelf full of books behind him and a blurred sign on his desk that reads "Russell T. Keen, EdD"
Russell Keen, EdD, was named president of Augusta University on Friday by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.

Dr. Russell T. Keen named president of Augusta University

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) today named Dr. Russell T. Keen president of Augusta University (AU), effective July 1, 2024.

Keen has most recently served as executive vice president for administration and chief of staff to the president at AU, where he has held an executive leadership role since July 2015. He has worked within the university system for more than 22 years. Previously, he held leadership roles at Georgia Southern University and in fundraising at the University of Georgia.

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“Russell has the experience and institutional knowledge for the job, and that will be critical as we look to increase Augusta University’s impact in Georgia and beyond,” USG Chancellor Sonny Perdue said. “I’m looking forward to watching Dr. Keen push AU toward being one of the best research universities in the nation as it continues to emphasize student success.”

Keen’s appointment follows an announcement last fall by AU President Brooks A. Keel, PhD, that he would retire following the 2023-24 academic year, ending a 40-year career in higher education.

“I truly look forward to serving Augusta University as its next president,” Keen said. “I am excited to expand the focus Augusta University has had on cutting-edge research and innovation. We will prioritize elevating a culture of excellence and creating an unparalleled student experience, while promoting critical thinking and student engagement.”

“It will be my priority to address Georgia’s growing need for highly skilled graduates and a well-educated workforce in vital areas such as health sciences, cybersecurity and education,” Keen added. “The impact of Jag Nation is already significant and felt on a global scale. I’m confident that our influence will continue to grow as we navigate this transformative phase at Augusta University.”

About Dr. Russell T. Keen

A Georgia native, Keen has worked within USG for over 22 years. For the past nine years, he has served in senior leadership at Augusta University, including in his current role as executive vice president for administration and chief of staff to the president. In this position, Keen has managed and allocated the university’s more than $1 billion budget, managed and coordinated its executive vice presidents and served as head administrator in the president’s absence.

From 2001 until 2015, he worked at Georgia Southern, where he advanced from director of annual giving to vice president for external affairs. In these positions, Keen secured hundreds of millions of dollars in university funding from individual fundraising campaigns and state and federal grants. His roles included vice president of governmental relations and community engagement where he developed relationships with local, state and federal officials to enhance the success of the university and its advocacy efforts. He previously worked as the major gifts officer at the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia.

“The impact of Jag Nation is already significant and felt on a global scale. I’m confident that our influence will continue to grow as we navigate this transformative phase at Augusta University.”

Russell T. Keen, EdD

Outside of his university work, Keen serves the community as a member of several boards, including the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Rotary Club of Augusta and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. He also serves as a lead teacher at the Augusta Men’s Forum.

Keen is a first-generation college student with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an M.Ed. in higher education administration from Georgia Southern. He earned an Ed.D. in higher education management from UGA in 2019. His family has been a part of the Augusta community for generations. Growing up in the Central Savannah River Area, he attended Columbia County public schools from kindergarten through high school.

Keen and his wife, Karen, have been married for 22 years and have two children, Kaleigh and Brinson, who are both proudly enrolled at universities within the University System of Georgia.

About Augusta University

Augusta University is one of only four public comprehensive research institutions in Georgia. The university includes nine colleges with 10,000 students, 1,000 full-time faculty members and 5,000 staff members. It houses the nation’s 13th-oldest medical school, the Medical College of Georgia, which was founded in 1828, and the state’s only public dental college, the Dental College of Georgia. It offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs. Graduates speak highly of their AU education, citing factors such as small class sizes, extensive faculty support and in-depth clinical training.

With 650 acres of campus and nearly 150 buildings, the university has grown into a $1 billion-plus enterprise. AU’s primary campus is in downtown, historic Augusta with satellite campuses in the cities of Athens, Albany, Rome and Savannah. The university also partners with the Wellstar Health System in support of the unified Wellstar MCG Health system.

Known for its commitment to research and innovation, the university boasts workforce partnerships to address Georgia’s physician and medical professional shortages, while also expanding the state’s skilled workforce in fields such as cybersecurity and education. Research achievements include laying the groundwork for breakthroughs in fertility treatments and beta-blocking drugs for cardiac arrhythmias. In innovation, AU plays a leading role in incorporating technology into the curriculum through simulation labs, online instruction and customized mobile apps for students and faculty.

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Augusta University Staff is a collection of talented writers, photographers, students and professionals; all working together to promote and support the amazing impacts and every day wins of Augusta University and the people that make up JagNation.

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Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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