Welcome Back, Roadrunners
August 31, 2012
It is that wonderful time of year when we say “Welcome Back, Roadrunners” but this time around, the greeting has a double meaning.
First, we welcome our students to campus as we launch our 45th academic year, but this year, we also herald the return of Roadrunner basketball. This will be an exciting year of recruitment as Coach Tony Ingle scours the region for the athletes who will wear the Roadrunner uniform in 2013 after a 35-year hiatus.
Needless to say, we are not the school we were when Roadrunners last covered the court in Death Valley 30720. For that matter, we’re not the school we were two years ago. Dalton State continues to evolve into the state college we are called to be to serve the students of Northwest Georgia.
We have changed dramatically since the last time Roadrunners played here. We are now a state college offering 15 baccalaureate degrees with additional ones to be submitted this year.
Our physical campus has expanded incrementally both north and south with the addition of classroom buildings and student housing, as well as other valuable properties such as the CRI building. We will continue the growth of our physical plant by breaking ground for our new science building next month.
Our student body has more than tripled, and our entrance requirements have been raised to ensure that we admit students who have the best chance of success at Dalton State.
The College has taken a greater role in the cultural and recreational life of the community with the addition of free concerts, recitals, and plays, and the completion of three hiking trails on the mountain behind our campus.
We operate a vibrant extended campus in Ellijay and continue to investigate other venues in the region for additional extended campus opportunities, keeping in mind that our Master Plan calls for concentration on our main campus.
One thing that remains the same, however, is the high quality, affordable education we offer our students. Our graduates can get the degree they need for the job they want without incurring excessive student debt. That remains very important to us.
This fall we have enrolled 5,049 students, of those, 43 percent are freshmen, 25 percent are sophomores, 15 percent are juniors, and 16 percent are seniors.
Two hundred eighteen students live in college housing; this is a number we expect to grow as we recruit student athletes from across the state and region.
We celebrate the diversity of our student body; our students come to us from 42 different countries, eight US states, and 62 Georgia counties.
In a difficult but necessary move for us, this fall we denied admission to approximately 200 students who would have been accepted a year ago. This is due to new admission standards that have been enacted this year. We remain an access institution for the University System and that is an essential part of our mission, but we can no longer admit students who have virtually no likelihood for success here. This is a difficult adjustment for us, but it is the right thing to do for the College and for the students.
Many things have changed over the intervening decades since Coach O’s Roadrunners ruled the roost on our campus. But the very best things have not changed at all: our students still enjoy small classes taught by outstanding faculty within our halls of Jersey Cream brick. It’s going to be a great year for Dalton State. Go Roadrunners; beep beep!