Doctoral Alumnus Named University President

Dr. Mark RobertsMark A. Roberts, Ph.D., 2007 has been named the president of Reinhardt University. Founded in 1883, Reinhardt is a private, comprehensive institution grounded in the liberal arts located in Waleska, GA.

Dr. Roberts earned his Union Institute & University Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Arts & Sciences and American Studies 2007.

He remembers his time at Union as challenging and fulfilling.

“Union Institute & University provided me an opportunity to complete my Ph.D. with scholars from all over the United States who understood and respected my interdisciplinary interests. My core professors guided and challenged my thinking and Union’s unique model offered me the ability to complete my doctoral studies while I was also a full-time professor with four children. I will always be grateful for the kind of institution that Union is: One that understands motivated adult learners and helps them achieve their educational goals at an academic level that is on par with the best research universities in the nation.”

Dr. Roberts served as Reinhardt University provost, executive vice president and interim president, before assuming the presidency. At the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Dr. Roberts successfully led the university through its initial crisis response.

Chair of Reinhardt University’s Board of Trustees, Ken White, said Roberts has a strong sense of purpose and is deeply committed to the ideals of private higher education and the mission of Reinhardt University.

“Throughout Dr. Roberts’s distinguished career, and during the past several years as Reinhardt’s Provost, executive vice president and interim president, Dr. Roberts has proven to be a highly respected and effective leader who can guide and elevate Reinhardt during a time of tremendous opportunity in providing the education for today’s students to thrive in a very complex and changing world.”

Dr. Roberts’ goal for Reinhardt in the short term is to steer the university through the challenges imposed by the global pandemic while remaining true to its higher education mission. “I am a big picture thinker. When I think about Reinhardt, I imagine what the institution should look like in 2033, at its seminal 150 years of existence. I have my own ideas of how it should grow into its full potential, but I also need the input of the good people who constitute the fullness of Reinhardt’s essence — its students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, friends, and board members. I am eager to begin defining, and then shaping that vision.”

Dr. Roberts brings 25 years of private higher education experience and intentional preparation to his role as president. In 2019, he completed the Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program – a year-long immersive experience of mentorship and study for prospective college and university presidents with the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).

Dr. Roberts’ tenure at Reinhardt has been one of expanding opportunity and leading growth. Since 2013, he worked collegially with faculty and staff to secure grants in support of academic excellence, including grants from the Goizueta Foundation, National Science Foundation, Department of Justice, and National Endowment for the Humanities. In collaboration with faculty, Dr. Roberts strengthened and launched the Cauble School of Nursing & Health Sciences, the Etowah Valley Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in creative writing, the Master of Science in sports administration & leadership, and the Center for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning (CITEL). Through CITEL and its Goizueta Foundation funding, Dr. Roberts approved the development of the Lightboard Studio, enabling faculty to record visually appealing video lessons.
Dr. Roberts’ creativity is evident in developing educational opportunities for working professionals. To support these students, he paved the way to launch the 100% online Bachelor of Business Administration and revamp the Master of Public Administration to center the curriculum on developing law enforcement leaders in the state of Georgia.

“I completed my doctoral degree while holding down a full-time job during the day, teaching adult learners at night, and homeschooling and raising four children with my devoted wife, Kelley,” Dr. Roberts said. “I have a great admiration for adult learners.”

In addition to service at Reinhardt, Dr. Roberts has assumed several unique responsibilities that offer significant opportunities and global exposure for Reinhardt. One of these includes serving as editor of the James Dickey Review, an annual literary journal with university library subscribers from around the world.

Coming from humble beginnings, Dr. Roberts is a native of Maryville, in east Tennessee, where he grew up on a 50-acre family farm. Inspired by a high school trip to Shakespeare’s home, he attended Middle Tennessee State University to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English literature and language. He went on to earn a Ph.D. at Union Institute & University. He served as a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow studying Appalachian culture, a DuPont fellow at the National Humanities Center, studying cultural globalization, an American studies fellow at prestigious Salzburg Seminars in Salzburg, Austria, and a fellow in the John S. Knight Writing Seminar at Cornell University. His scholarly publications and presentations focus on Appalachian cultural identity and American poetry. A creative writer at heart, Roberts has numerous poems published in literary journals and poetry anthologies.

The inauguration of Dr. Roberts will take place in Fall 2021.

Visit to learn more about Dr. Roberts.


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