Monthly Column January 2018
What Does It Mean to ‘Run Boldly?’
You may have noticed that Dalton State is now using the phrase “Run Boldly” in a variety of formats and venues. But you may be wondering what it really means and why we have adopted this new catch-phrase. In short, we needed a few well-chosen words to try to encapsulate all that Dalton State is today. Just as the phrases “Just Do It,” “The Few. The Proud. The Marines,” or “America Runs on Dunkin” call to mind specific organizations or companies, we believe “Run Boldly” describes the Roadrunner experience and Dalton State College culture.
At some institutions, students are there because college is simply the thing to do after high school. However, when I meet with students at Dalton State and learn about their backgrounds, their hopes for the future and their experiences at Dalton State, I discover students who are often the first in their families to attend college and who appreciate that we are a high quality affordable opportunity to earn their college credential while remaining in close proximity to their families.
At Dalton State, we find that our students are here because they recognize that college can open doors for them and their families for generations to come. Many of our students initially are concerned whether they will be able to succeed in college. But student after student tells me their story of how welcoming and supportive our faculty, staff and other students were for them. They describe experiences that gave them courage and people who inspired them, cheered them on and helped them identify resources to succeed. Our students are proud to be enrolled in college and pursuing a college degree because they know it will help them lead fuller, richer lives. I’ve never once heard a student, parent, employee or alumnus describe Dalton State as a “party school” and we are proud of that. Our students spread their wings and run boldly to claim their future destiny, proud of who they already are and of the person they are becoming.
This phrase extends beyond our students to include our faculty, staff, alumni and even parents of students. This expression seems to have caught on quickly because it resonates with everyone associated with Dalton State for a variety of reasons. I believe many if not all of our employees are here because we dare to dream big dreams for our college, our community and our students. We have high expectations for ourselves and our students despite our limited funding and daunting statistics that indicate our students are less likely to graduate from college than students at some other more expensive and selective colleges and universities. Parents and other family members have high hopes and expectations for their students when they bring them to Dalton State.
Each week we feature a student, faculty, or staff member in our Roadrunner Spotlight on the homepage of our website. Every spotlighted Roadrunner is asked what running boldly means to them, and the responses are illuminating.
For one biology major, running boldly was intensely personal: “It means becoming the person I needed when I was a child. I want to be able to help those in need.”
To another, to run boldly means “to take that leap of faith and become more powerful, more fearless, and smarter than ever before.” Another said that running boldly means “to run without fear, run with pride, and do what you love without regret.”
Running boldly speaks to the grit and determination we see in our students who try when it’s hard, and keep going even when they’ve been knocked down a time or two. One of our students put it this way: “Running boldly means never giving up, never quitting. If you have any dream or goal you want to accomplish, then you run after it boldly.”
We have adopted many variations of the Run Boldly tag-line. Our School of Education shapes its graduates to Teach Boldly. Majors within our School of Health Professions pledge to Care Boldly. Our tutoring center adopted the phrase Learn Boldly, and our Residence Life area challenges us to Live Boldly.
At our most recent commencement ceremony, I was proud to hand graduates their diplomas under a banner that read Finish Boldly. This is my wish for every Dalton State Roadrunner – that they run boldly, finish boldly, and live boldly, thereby contributing to the success of northwest Georgia and beyond.