Roadrunners Leave Footprints

Dr. Vince Postell left Dalton Junior College for Georgia Tech just three credit hours short of receiving his associate degree. A few years later, Postell returned to Dalton State, having since earned the rank of full professor and completing his doctorate in mathematics from Georgia Tech.

Dr. Jim Burran, former president of Dalton State, heard the story and found out Postell finished those credits while a student at Georgia Tech. Burran decided to surprise Postell with a diploma during a DSC commencement ceremony to celebrate Postell’s status as an alumnus who had completed all the requirements for an associate degree.

The culture and the pride from faculty who attended Dalton State hasn’t changed in the years since this happened. I believe it’s a great asset to the college that we have so many faculty and staff members who experienced firsthand the value we offer students.

I had been researching our alumni for an upcoming presentation when I reached out via email to faculty and staff asking them to let me know if they had ever taken a credit-bearing course at Dalton State, or previously when the college was Dalton College or Dalton Junior College. The responses are still pouring in, but so far 23 faculty members and 74 staff members have taken at least one course here.

I was struck by the sheer volume and speed of responses to my email, as well as the enthusiasm. Postell’s is one of a dozen stories about the pride associated with being an alumnus of this institution. Some took a few classes before transferring, others graduated with a two-year or four-year degree and transferred to earn another degree elsewhere. Some only took a class or two and some are currently enrolled. Several of these employees have earned multiple degrees from Dalton State. At least one employee is a “triple bird” from the classes of 1983, 2011 and 2015.

One member of our faculty described not only her own alumna status but also the many connections within her family to Dalton State. She wrote:

I graduated from Dalton Jr. College in 1979 and my then-boyfriend/now-husband graduated from here as well. We met on this campus, earned our respective associate degrees, and kept coming back! My husband took advantage of the classes on campus through West Georgia and later received his bachelor’s, and I completed my master’s degree through the West Georgia program offered on Dalton State’s campus. While I was in high school, my mother completed her second degree, in education, through the courses offered through the West Georgia program. My dad took continuing education classes and was on many community committees when there was discussion about making this a four-year institution. All three of our daughters took part in summer camps here, and two of them graduated from DSC – one in education and the other in social work – and one married a DSC alumnus. I mention all this to say that as a family we are highly invested in both the college and the community.

In addition to our faculty and staff, many of our local community leaders have attended Dalton State at some point. Several of our alumni have gone on to great successes including businessman and philanthropist C. Lamar Wright (class of 1967); Bryan Hair, CEO of Marketing Alliance; Whitfield County Sherriff Scott Chitwood and David Pennington, former mayor of Dalton.

There are also a number of young professionals in our community today who have passed through Dalton State. Jonathan and Whitney Marks are both graduates who each worked for the college after graduation. Whitney now works for Engineered Floors in their human resources department, and Jonathan is pursuing a career as an entrepreneur with his own e-commerce business. Jonathan is known for the terrific videos he produced for Dalton State in recent years.

Another example of a young professional alumna in our community is Andrea Dobbins Blackbourn. You may recognize Andrea as the former director of donor relations and strategy for our local United Way of Northwest Georgia. Currently, Andrea serves as the executive director for the Floor Covering Industry Foundation. Andrea also happens to be married to one of our newer faculty members, Dr. Forrest Blackbourn.

Dalton State alumni have left footprints all over this community. Each year, we graduate more students who will continue the legacy of leadership in Northwest Georgia. Are you one of us? We would welcome your sharing your story with us at [email protected].