Gilmer Campus to Celebrate 10 Years


For the last 10 years, Dalton State’s Gilmer Campus has served Northeast Georgia as a close-to-home, affordable option for students wanting to complete their first two years of college courses.

The Gilmer Campus will celebrate 10 years on Monday, April 8 at 10:30 a.m. at the Gilmer Campus, at 103 Dalton Street, Ellijay. There will be program, apple-themed refreshments, for which Ellijay is known, and door prizes. The event is free and open to the public.

“I'm excited to share this celebration with all of these students, past and present, because this is why we are here - to serve this community and provide a quality education that might have been out of reach for someone had we not been here,” said Tracey May, coordinator of the Gilmer Campus.

The Economic Development Committee of Gilmer County approached Dalton State in the 2000s about opening a campus in Ellijay because there was a need for access to higher education in the area, May said.

“At the time, there was not a public institution within an hour’s drive of Ellijay,” she said. “There was a real need for a place of higher learning in the area.”

The county had an empty building downtown that would serve the Gilmer Campus’ needs well. After approval from the Board of Regents, Dalton State signed a lease with the county and began remodeling the former library to be used as an extended campus.

Classes began in 2009 with 179 students, and since that time, the Gilmer Campus has served thousands of students from the area, May said.

“Because Dalton State is affordable and students are able to continue to live at home, many students for whom college education was once unattainable have been able to receive a degree,” she said. “We serve a diverse student population with dual enrollment, traditional, and nontraditional students. We offer general education, or core classes, for students pursuing a degree. Generally students can complete between two to four semesters at the Gilmer Campus before moving to the main campus for upper level courses.”

Students can complete an associate in arts or science at the Gilmer Campus.

“Serving North Georgia is a key component of Dalton State’s mission,” said Dr. Margaret Venable, president of the College. “The Gilmer Campus provides access to a high-quality, affordable college education for a region of the state that is not within an easy commute to a four-year college.”

“The students at Gilmer are some of the best people I have ever worked with,” May said. “The majority of them work outside of school, and they are dedicated, hardworking, and don't take their education for granted. It has been exciting over the 10 years of working here to see the connections the students have. We've had parents attend who then send their children; we've had siblings first attend who then send us their younger brother or sister. We've had one entire family attend: mother, father, and children, including nieces. To know that the first student enjoyed their experience at the Gilmer Campus and entrusted us to take care of their family member is humbling.”