Dan HollingsworthPiedmont College names Hollingsworth next President

Dr. Danny P. Hollingsworth of Morristown, Tenn., has been named the 12th president of Piedmont College. Hollingsworth will take over the reins of the college from Dr. W. Ray Cleere, who announced last year that he would retire in May 2011 after 16 years as president.

Hollingsworth, who currently serves as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Carson-Newman College, will officially assume the role of president in June, following his approval by the Piedmont Board of Trustees on March 5.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to become a part of such a fine educational institution as Piedmont College,” Hollingsworth said. “I hope to build upon the college’s many successes to enhance its national reputation and to better serve the citizens of northern Georgia with higher educational opportunities to improve their lives.”

Cleere said he was “extremely pleased” with Dr. Hollingsworth’s appointment. “With his background and experience, and his knowledge of this part of the country, he is an excellent choice to continue the progress that is under way at our institution,” he said.

Cleere thanked the members of the committee that oversaw the eight-month, national search for a new president. “We were assisted by William Funk and Associates out of Dallas, Texas, one of the most widely respected search consultants for higher education,” he said. Internally, a committee including the president, Provost Dr. James Mellichamp, and some 40 faculty, staff, students and alumni helped conduct the search and evaluate applicants. After the committee’s process of review was completed, the information was brought to the full Board of Trustees for consideration. Following their deliberations, the Executive Committee of the Board, chaired by Thomas A. “Gus” Arrendale III, made the final decision.

Hollingsworth comes to Piedmont with some 36 years experience in business and higher education. Before joining Carson-Newman College as Dean of the School of Business in 2008, he taught business and accounting at Mississippi State University, where he served as director of the School of Accountancy and as interim Dean of the College of Business and Industry. From 1987 to 2000, he taught at Baylor University, serving five years as chair of the Department of Accounting and Business Law.

At Carson-Newman College, Hollingsworth is responsible for all financial areas, including the offices of advancement, athletics, communications, church  relations, finance, human resources, information technology, physical plant and student affairs. Hollingsworth and his wife, Elizabeth, have three college-age sons, Jake, Clark and Luke. “My wife and I are looking forward to becoming an integral part of the community as we serve Piedmont College,” he said.

Cleere said that after leaving Piedmont, he plans to continue to be active in higher education, working as a consultant for small colleges in the Southeast. His wife, the Rev. Dr. Ashley Cleere, will continue at Piedmont as Chaplain and as an associate professor of religion.

Before coming to Piedmont as president in 1995, Cleere served as commissioner of higher education in Mississippi, and he previously served as vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University System of Georgia. He also served as vice president and dean of faculties at Valdosta State College. He began his career in education as a teacher and counselor in the Atlanta City Schools.

During his time as president, Cleere has overseen the growth of Piedmont from a small, 850-student, four-year, liberal arts college to a comprehensive institution of almost 3,000 students on two campuses in Demorest and Athens. During his tenure, the college has constructed nine new buildings in Demorest, including five dormitories to dramatically increase the number of residential students. Almost every building on campus has also undergone a complete renovation, as have the athletic facilities and overall landscaping. The Athens Campus, which began in a former residence, has now grown to include a sprawling campus near downtown.

On the academic side, the college has expanded its curriculum in almost every area, including the addition of master’s, specialist, and doctoral programs in education, and three master of business administration (MBA) programs. The college also opened the Daniel School of Nursing, which offers bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degrees in Demorest and Athens.

Piedmont has not been the only beneficiary of Cleere’s time while president. He is an active member and former president of the Habersham County Chamber of Commerce. He also was the driving force for the establishment of radio station WPPR, which provided northeast Georgia with Georgia Public Radio broadcasts for the first time beginning in 1995.

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