George T. French, Jr.
For more than 100 years Miles College has continued its mission of educating and molding the minds of future local, national, and global leaders. Now, the College rests on the shoulders of President George T. French, Jr. President French served as Acting President for the institution beginning October 2005, and then as Interim President starting December 2005 when the Board of Trustees made the unanimous decision to appoint him the 14th President of Miles College in March 2006. Before serving as Interim President, President French served as a member of the President’s Cabinet in the capacity of Director of Institutional Planning and Development, and as such directed the offices of Alumni Affairs; Federal Contracts and Grants; Title III; Institutional Research and Effectiveness; Congressional Relations; and Public Relations. However, his chief responsibility was to raise money for the College. As Director of Development, President French helped lead the largest Capital Campaign Fund Drive in the history of the College to that date, raising $12 million, placing Miles College on sound financial footing.
As President of Miles College, President French led the largest Capital Campaign Fund Drive in the history of the College, helping the College to exponentially develop and expand raising more than $42 million, exceeding the College’s goal of $30 million. With these strategic efforts, Miles College has achieved an unprecedented financial composite score rating of 7.0, denoting that an institution is in sound financial health and position for growth, and positioning the College among the most fiscally sound institutions in the nation. To date, President French has secured approximately $100 million dollars of funding in support of Miles College.
Under the leadership of President French, Miles College has increased allocation toward education and educational support services by 11.03%. Total operating budget increased significantly since 2005 on average of $2 million per year. Miles College has progressively increased student access to educational funding with a recent 54.31% increase in Pell Grants awarded. Pell grants provide assistance to eligible undergraduate postsecondary students with demonstrated financial need to help meet educational expenses. Further, Miles College has recently realized a 32.28% increase in operating revenue from government grants and contracts to help bridge the ever increasing tuition gap students confront. President French has positioned Miles College as a cornerstone in the 21st Century higher education space, incrementally seeking and attracting highly qualified faculty with terminal degrees in their fields to serve its students.
During the current tenure of Dr. French’s presidency, the College has a more deliberate academic focus, with faculty having secured some of the largest grants in the history of the College. Under his leadership, not only has the initiative of culture, class, and civility been placed into action, but Miles College is strategically positioned for an exciting future with the acquisition of the North Campus, a 41-acre site that more than doubles the size of the existing campus. The College has successfully been reaffirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges through 2023. President French was the driving force behind a $20 million capital improvement project simultaneously building three new student oriented facilities on campus.
Under the leadership of President French, Miles College is rated in the top three most underrated historically black colleges and universities according to HBCU Digest. Furthermore, he has led the College to an unprecedented financial composite score rating denoting that an institution is in sound financial health and among the most fiscally sound in the nation.
President French has great influence outside of the Miles College campus as well. He has won numerous awards to include Birmingham Spotlight “Man of the Year” award. He is also a member of the Regions Financial Diversity Advisory Council. President French serves as an officer of the Birmingham Business Alliance Executive Committee as Vice President for Workforce Development. In 2011, he was appointed the Treasurer of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. He has been invited to the White House to meet with President Obama and members of his Cabinet. President French was appointed by the United States Congress, at the recommendation of Majority Leader John Boehner, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Congresswoman Terri Sewell, as one of 18 appointees in the country, to serve on the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI). The NACIQI advises the Secretary of Education on the establishment and enforcement of the standards of academic accreditation and on the eligibility and certification process for institutions of higher education. He was also appointed by the United States Congress to serve on the U.S. Department of Education Negotiated Rulemaking Committee in support of student aid and access to affordable postsecondary education.
President French earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with an emphasis in Policy Analysis from the University of Louisville. He was competitively accepted into the University of Richmond Law School, where he matriculated for two years before being recruited by then President Albert Sloan to reposition Miles College as the Director of Development. He completed his final year of law school at Miles Law School, earning a Juris Doctorate. President French holds a J.D. It is a rare accomplishment to pursue both a Ph.D. and J.D. He is All But Dissertation (ABD) for his second doctorate, a Ph.D. from Jackson State University, where he is completing his dissertation on the topic of 21st century challenges in higher education and the use of transformational and transactional leadership as solutions. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, President French represents a long line of past Miles College presidents who were members of the clergy, having served as pastor with CME churches around the country.