Dr. Kristie Roberts-Lewis Chosen As Inaugural Executive Director Of The Center for Middle Georgia Studies

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Thursday, May 2nd, 2024

Dr. Kristie Roberts-Lewis, most recently senior program manager at the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Institute for Capacity Building, has joined Middle Georgia State University (MGA) as the first executive director of the Center for Middle Georgia Studies.

Roberts-Lewis will direct initiatives taken on by the center, an intellectual and creative enterprise designed to leverage expertise among University faculty and staff to partner with other community entities and take on some of the region’s most difficult challenges.

"I am deeply privileged to have been chosen as the inaugural executive director of the Center for Middle Georgia Studies,” Roberts-Lewis said. “My immediate objectives include nurturing collaborative partnerships with local entities and crafting dynamic educational programs that spotlight the diverse narratives and experiences shaping Middle Georgia.”

The Center for Middle Georgia Studies will embark on groundbreaking research, offer customized training programs, and host engaging events to advance its mission of regional prosperity and vitality. Based on MGA’s Macon Campus in the newly renovated space in the library, the center will focus on tackling issues ranging from poverty and workforce demands to healthcare disparities. The center’s development fits in well with an essential part of MGA’s strategic plan, which is to lead innovation and economic opportunity. This transformative initiative was made possible by a generous $1.2 million grant from the Peyton Anderson Foundation, alongside a generous gift from the estate of Carolyn Smalley.

Christopher Blake, Ph.D., president of MGA, said he is excited to have Roberts-Lewis at the center’s helm.

“Dr. Kristie Roberts-Lewis brings a wealth of experience and insight to her new role,” Blake said. “Her leadership will catalyze the center's mission, fostering collaboration between MGA faculty experts and community partners to address pressing challenges.”

Another recent addition to the center is Charlie Hayslett, a retired newspaper journalist and public relations executive. As scholar in residence, Hayslett is continuing his ongoing research into Georgia’s urban-rural divide, work that he chronicles in his well-known blog, Trouble in God’s Country. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Hayslett was a Grady Fellow in 2008.