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Merger pending, Armstrong gets interim president
Committee: GS, ASU programs to stay put until 2022
W Jennifer Frum.2015
Dr. Jennifer Frum will serve as interim ASU president after Dr. Linda M. Bleicken retires June 30, according to a Friday announcement.

In news this week related to the merger of Armstrong State University with Georgia Southern University, an interim president has been appointed to lead Armstrong beginning July 1, and the consolidation committee announced that all academic programs will be offered on their current campuses through spring semester 2022.

However, Armstrong’s Savannah and Hinesville campuses are expected to be brought into the Georgia Southern fold by fall semester 2018 in the process set in motion by the state Board of Regents in January.

University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley has picked Dr. Jennifer Frum to serve as interim ASU president after Dr. Linda M. Bleicken retires June 30, according to a Friday announcement.

Bleicken, who has been Armstrong’s president since 2009, announced her retirement plans last October. She was later named to work with Dr. Jaimie Hebert, Georgia Southern’s president, to begin leading the committee planning consolidation.

Frum is currently vice president for public service and outreach at the University of Georgia in Athens. As such, she oversees UGA’s outreach and economic development efforts throughout the state.


‘A key role’

“Jennifer brings to Armstrong more than 20 years of experience dedicated to our University System’s mission of teaching, research and service. …,” Wrigley said. “With Jennifer’s experience and skillset, she will play a key role in the consolidation of Armstrong and Georgia Southern that will benefit students, faculty, staff, the community and region.”

Frum previously served as interim vice president for public service and outreach and deputy director and interim director of the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. She began her work at UGA in 1995 as a research professional in the office of international development.

Named one of Georgia Trend magazine’s 2012 “Power Women” in Georgia, she was also among Georgia Trend’s “100 Most Influential Georgians” in 2016 and 2017. Frum serves on the boards of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development, the Athens Area Community Foundation, and Georgia Women of Achievement.

She attained a doctorate from the University of Georgia, a master’s degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in Morgantown.

“The quality and strength of Armstrong State University’s academic programs are a testament to the dedication and commitment of Armstrong State’s faculty and staff,” said Frum. “I am honored to serve in this role, and I look forward to working in partnership with the campus community to advance the institution’s academic mission and its ties to the community.”


Consolidation updates

Meanwhile, the Consolidation Implementation Committee has begun its work, as reflected in updates posted at

Thursday’s update stated that academic “programs currently delivered on a specific campus will continue to be delivered at that campus through at least Spring 2022 in order to allow students starting on a particular campus in Fall 2017 to remain on that particular campus.”

In fall semester 2022, a small number of programs could be limited to one campus “consistent with student demand and community engagement associated with that particular program,” the update continued.

“We will add new programs consistent with regional needs and the new Georgia Southern’s academic mission,” the committee also announced. “Programs will complement offerings at Savannah State University.”


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