Monthly Column October 2015
Investing in Students Who Invest in Our Community
This fall, we celebrated with our scholarship donors by gaining a glimpse at the lives of some of the Dalton State students touched by the scholarships. It was a beautiful fall day, and we gathered by the James Burran Bell Tower to listen to the students tell their stories of how the scholarships changed their lives. Each one had a unique description and yet all of them told compelling narratives. It never hurts to be reminded of the transformative power of higher education. It is the reason I have dedicated myself to this mission, and it is the reason our donors invest in our students.
Later that day, we celebrated the career of a charter faculty member, Dr. Terry Christie, by honoring him with a surprise party also at the Bell Tower. We announced the new Terry Christie Scholarship that has been endowed by his friends and family. Terry Christie is a much beloved retired faculty member who impacted many lives while he taught Political Science for what was originally Dalton Junior College. He told the story of how he was first hired to help start a new college. Terry was recruited from Florida to come to Dalton. He had already accepted another job, but he came to Dalton anyway because he believed in what was happening here. People told stories about how Terry shaped their lives and the life of the College. It gave me chills to realize this was one of our many founders. Without the courage, tenacity, creativity, and wisdom of people like Dr. Terry Christie, the Dalton State College we know and love today would not exist. We stand on the shoulders of people like Terry Christie in this community. The Terry Christie Scholarship will be awarded for the first time in the 2016-2017 academic year. It will be announced in April of 2016 and will be awarded to a junior or senior history major.
Dalton State College has evolved since those early days in the 1960s, and now the majority of our students are pursuing baccalaureate degrees. What hasn’t changed is the fact that we still offer one of the most affordable, high quality college educations available. Nevertheless, many of our students still need financial assistance. The stories of our students reaffirmed that some of our best students would not be with us (or in college anywhere) without the scholarships our Foundation is able to provide due to the generosity of our donors. In fact, Dalton State offers what we call “gap scholarships” to some students. These are students who are so very close to being able to pay their tuition and fees but fall short of being able to cover the full bill. In some cases, we are filling a gap of as little as $100. Imagine that a few dollars could be the difference that allows a young person to complete his or her college degree.
Just as Dalton State is transforming the lives of these young people, these students are investing in this community. They understand the value of what they are gaining as students here and want to return the favor by paying it forward to others. Our students are joining the health professions workforce, the teaching workforce, the business and manufacturing fields, and more. The majority of our students still come from the northwest Georgia region, and they hope to remain here after graduation. If you would like to invest in the future of this community, please contact Mr. David Elrod, Director of Institutional Advancement for Dalton State College, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (706)272-4473. Together, we are making a difference, and even a few dollars could impact the future for a worthy student.