Dr. Stephen R. Cheshier was the first president of Southern Polytechnic State University, serving from the time it gained independence from Georgia Tech in 1980 until his retirement in 1997. After graduating from high school, Cheshier served in the U.S. Navy from 1958 to 1970, where he was trained in Aviation Electronics. He received a bachelor's degree in Physics and Math from the University of Memphis in 1970 and a master's degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 1972. Later that year, Cheshier joined the faculty at Purdue University as a professor of Electrical Engineering Technology. In 1975, he received his doctorate in Engineering Education from the University of Illinois. From 1972 to 1976, Cheshier was promoted to Associate Professor to full Professor, receiving tenure and serving as the Chair of Purdue's Department of Electrical Engineering Technology. Ten years after receiving his bachelor's degree, Dr. Cheshier was chosen to be President of Southern Technical Institute.
During his tenure as President, SPSU went through two name changes: Southern Technical Institute to Southern College of Technology (1986) to Southern Polytechnic State University (1996). Dr. Cheshier presided over the initiation of master's programs, the construction of a student center, the dedication of two new academic buildings, and the approval by the Board of Regents of a third academic building, as well as the development of indoor and outdoor recreation and wellness facilities. Since 1997, he served as Executive Secretary of the Cobb Education Consortium and authored the book, Studying Engineering Technology (1998).
Interview with SPSU President Emeritus Stephen R. Cheshier, 2014-05-16, Southern Polytechnic State University oral history series, Kennesaw State University Oral History Project, 1973-, KSU/45/05/001, Kennesaw State University Archives.
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