Rob Watts has been named interim president of Georgia Highlands College, in Rome, Georgia. Watts will assume the presidency beginning Jan. 1, 2012, following the retirement of current president Randy Pierce.

Watts previously served as Georgia Highlands` (then named Floyd College) interim president from 2000 until the appointment of Pierce in 2001.

`Rob is one of the University System`s most experienced leaders, given his responsibilities at the System Office as well as leadership roles at three other institutions,` said USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby in making the appointment. `We are extremely fortunate to be able to call upon his skills in this important assignment at Georgia Highlands.`

Georgia Highlands serves 5,500 students in Northwest Georgia, at the founding campus in Floyd County; at Heritage Hall in downtown Rome; the Cartersville campus; a site in Marietta on the campus of Southern Polytechnic State University; a site in Paulding County, on the square in Dallas; and an instructional site in Douglas County on Stewart Parkway in Douglasville.

Watts has an extensive career in the University System. He was chief operating officer for the USG until earlier this year, a position he held since 2006.

Watts previously served as interim president of Georgia Perimeter College in Decatur, Ga., from 2005-2006. From 2002 to 2005 he served as a senior policy advisor to the chancellor as well as the interim director of the Gwinnett University Center in Lawrenceville, Ga. From 2001 to 2002, Watts was the interim president at Middle Georgia College, in Cochran, Ga.

Plans for the search for Georgia Highlands` next permanent president will be announced at a future date. ..