Mark Becker

BY ALEX ETHRIDGE | Photo by Greg Foster

Commerce Club, Atlanta

Member since:

Who he is: President of Georgia State University in the heart of downtown Atlanta. In his six-year tenure, he has helped expand the campus both abroad and in the city center, and GSU's graduation rate has increased by 10 percent.

Top priority: As a first-generation college graduate, he says he understands the struggle today's students face to pay for higher education, and he strives to find real solutions to those problems. "We're finding ways to take bright people who either didn't have the necessary resources, background, or support, and helping them be successful," he says.

National buzz: At a White House summit in December, President Obama recognized GSU's Panther Retention Grants - emergency funds that cover tuition and fee balances so students can stay in class - as an effective program helping more students cross the college-graduation finish line.

Up next: In November, the university received a $22.8 million gift to create an interdisciplinary media production hub for students in the university's media and creative arts programs.

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