COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Columbus State interim President Dr. John Fuchko finishes his yearlong tenure at the end of the month.

Dr. Stuart Rayfield will become the new president when he leaves for another interim assignment at Dalton State College.

On Friday, Dr. Fuchko sat down with WRBL between graduation ceremonies.

Dr. Fuchko may have had the interim tag since he got here a year ago. But he hasn’t acted like an interim. Some would say he has driven CSU like he owned it.

Under Fuchko’s leadership, CSU had to make financial and personnel cuts. The university has trimmed or identified for cutting almost 9 million dollars. That has come across the board, including reducing faculty and staff.

He has spent the majority of his higher education career in the University System of Georgia office.

Here’s what he had to say about Columbus State and its community partners.

“When I got here, I think it was Steve Butler who said to me, ‘You know, Columbus State University is our university,’” Fuchko said of the former Chairman of the W.C. Bradley Co. Board of Directors. “I’m not quite sure I understood it or knew what that meant until after I spent some time here and Sherie and I had gotten to know the folks here. And what I think that means is that there is a sense of ownership and partnership in this community that I think is unmatched across the university system in this probably actually a model for the entire country.”

Here’s what he had to say about Columbus State and its connection to the military community.

“We have over 1300 military, military-affiliated students enrolled at Columbus State University,” Fuchko said. “So, almost a quarter of our enrollment has an association with the military. And of course, as you know, we had hired retired Major General Pat Donahoe, who works not just for Columbia State, but for Columbus Technical College. So that between the two of us, we’re partnering to serve the military as they serve us and their dependents, to provide a place where they can further their education, further their military career, and frankly, become that much more equipped to serve, serve us back and to serve our country.”

Here’s what he had to say about incoming Columbus State President Dr. Stuart Rayfield.

“One of the mental frames or mental images that I kind of use as I was thinking about preparing for this transition was this is a race and we need everything firing well,” Fuchko said. “And when I’m handing over in that relay and handing over that baton, so to speak, that that person was running, running right alongside, not losing momentum.

“The only difference in this case is I’ve got a sprint to do that to get to where Dr. Rayfield is because she is out established in our community. She’s well known, she’s committed to it. She loves it, she and David both. And I just cannot be more excited or personally thrilled to be handling this over to her.”

Dr. Rayfield, as Dr. Fuchko was saying, is well suited for her new assignment. She has been a professor at CSU, she has worked in the University System office and she has been an interim president. And she and her family have lived here through all that.