Columbus State University Announces New Endowed Chair, Inaugural Recipient

Columbus State University announced today the creation of the new Ralph I. and Martha Brooks King Distinguished Chair in Education. Recently approved by the University System of Georgia and funded by an endowment established by Martha King Cunningham, the endowed chair honors the memory of Cunningham’s parents. Furthermore, it provides support for a professor who embodies, promotes and enhances excellence in educator preparation through outstanding teaching, scholarship and professionalism.

Dr. Deirdre Greer, dean of CSU’s College of Education and Health Professions, will serve as CSU’s inaugural Ralph I. and Martha Brooks King Distinguished Chair in Education. During her 15-year CSU career, Dr. Greer has served as a program coordinator, assistant department chair, department chair, associate dean, interim dean, and dean. She is an active scholar with numerous publications, presentations and grants. She mentors doctoral students and chairs dissertation committees in the Curriculum and Leadership doctoral program.

Dean Greer has overseen significant growth in the College of Education and Health Professions. This has included working closely with local school districts, area hospitals, clinics, and mental health agencies to ensure CSU’s programs prepare students to meet the needs of employers. She also spearheaded the recent Muscogee County School District guarantee of employment for any qualified teacher candidates who graduate from CSU’s teacher education program.

“Dean Deirdre Greer exemplifies the values and passion for social justice that are inherent components of the work of Ralph and Martha Brooks King,” said CSU Provost Dr. Deborah Bordelon. “Throughout her career as an educator and leader, Dr. Greer has been at the forefront of promoting quality education for all. She is truly the ideal candidate for the first recipient of the Ralph I. and Martha Brooks King Distinguished Chair in Education. I am so pleased to recognize her work and dedication through this honor.”

Although he was never able to obtain a formal education himself, Ralph King became a successful businessman in the 1940s and then worked tirelessly to ensure that future generations would receive the benefits of a college education. In 1947, King became one of the first to support the school that was then known as Columbus Community College. He helped raise funds for the college, especially for the department that would become the Schwob School of Music. King’s wife, Martha, was equally involved in the community, teaching commercial law at Industrial High School and co-founding Open Door Community Home.

“I am honored to be selected to serve as the Ralph I. and Martha Brooks King Distinguished Chair in Education,” said Dean Greer. “I believe that I share some of the same passion and values that Mr. and Mrs. King exhibited, and I look forward to the opportunity to use this endowment to make a difference in the community through education.”