Honoring the Past, Planning for the Future

On Friday, October 21, 2016, Dalton State College will inaugurate its fifth president. The installation of a president comes infrequently in the life of a college –at least ideally. Therefore, it is an auspicious occasion in itself. Couple this with the approach of a fiftieth anniversary of the institution and it means we have an obligation to hold a real celebration!

I have appointed a fun group of people to what I am calling a Celebrations Committee. It includes a variety of perspectives including an alumnus, retiree, and student as well as several faculty and staff. The committee is led by a seasoned faculty member, Dr. Lee Ann Nimmons. The purpose of this group is to plan and execute the activities associated with the presidential investiture as well as a year of activities leading up to the fiftieth anniversary of what was originally Dalton Junior College. In fall of 1967, the first students enrolled at the College and I am pleased to say I have met several of those first students as well as their faculty and other administrative employee pioneers.

We have much to celebrate! Since its founding, the College has grown from a few hundred students to five thousand. We have expanded academic programs to include 21 baccalaureate degrees while maintaining 17 associate degree programs and 3 certificate programs.

Since 2009, we have students living on campus and by Fall 2016 will have modern student housing. Our Pope Student Center is being renovated in time for fall of 2016 and our new food service provider is already gearing up to serve our enlarged residential student population. We have a vibrant Athletics program.

Dalton State’s School of Business was recently reaccredited by the AACSB International, a global nonprofit organization of educational institutions and businesses devoted to the advancement of management education. It was originally accredited in 2010 and is a credential held by very few business programs. We hope to begin the renovation and expansion of the building that houses our School of Business by 2017 (pending funding during the 2016 legislative session).

We have increasingly robust student life and recreation events calendars. We will be updating at least some of the campus signage, adding new pole banners to acknowledge the fiftieth anniversary, and finishing the newly renovated Health Professions building by adding a simulation laboratory and a student health clinic. Our new science building, Peeples Hall, is a showcase for undergraduate research and STEM (Science, Technology, pre-Engineering and Mathematics) education.

Our Bandy Heritage Center creates the beginning of a downtown presence for the College and attracts visitors to its events which share the historical information and artifacts of this region.

We host endangered turtles and we provide hiking trails on our campus.

I do not know what the committee will plan yet since they are just getting started, but look for a variety of happenings designed to highlight the College during the week of October 16 and throughout the year leading up to the fall of 2017 fiftieth anniversary. There will likely be events that showcase our students, and bring us all together to celebrate the past and future of the College, and there will be opportunities to re-engage with Dalton State in new ways. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have suggestions for us on how we might celebrate.

Despite the party planning, we are also still hard at work on updating our Mission, Vision and Values statements in preparation for an update of our Strategic Plan. There will be opportunities for the community stakeholders to review our draft documents and provide input to help shape the future of Dalton State College. Please email [email protected] if you would like to receive the draft documents being prepared and if you would like to be invited to an open meeting to review and discuss the Strategic Planning work in late March.