About: Robert Mayes, Jr.

Robert Mayes, Jr., CEO
  • Role : CEO

As the chief executive officer of Columbia Southern Education Group, the parent company of Columbia Southern University (CSU) and Waldorf University, Robert Mayes provides strategy and leadership support to the institutions and is responsible for governmental affairs. Mayes has more than 25 years of experience in distance education.

Along with his parents and sister, Chantell Mayes Cooley, Mayes cofounded CSU, an online university headquartered in Orange Beach, Alabama, in 1993. He transitioned to the role of president of CSU in 2005 and served until May 2018. In his role as president, Mayes worked closely with leadership to accomplish the goals, objectives and strategies of the university. During this time, the university grew from 7,000 students to 30,000. He was awarded the title of president emeritus on May 1, 2018, for his contributions and impact on the university. Mayes also led the acquisition of Waldorf University (previously Waldorf College) in Forest City, Iowa, in 2010, a task that included achieving approvals from the U.S. Department of Education and the Higher Learning Commission.

During his time at CSU, Mayes worked directly in the areas of online university operations, including key roles in accounting, finance, information technology, online course design, outcomes assessment, policies and procedures development, accreditation and more.

Mayes serves as a member of the National Advisory Committee for Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), which reviews and advises the U.S. Secretary of Education on the recognition of accrediting agencies. He is chairman of the board of directors for South Baldwin Christian Academy. He serves as a board member of the Business Council of Alabama. He served eight years on the board of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission board of directors and served on its executive, finance and nominating committees. In 2017, Mayes was awarded the Distance Education Accrediting Commission’s Distinguished Service Award and was a Boy Scouts of America Golden Eagle Honoree. In 2019, he was named the Distance Education Accrediting Commission’s Person of the Year.