GC faculty and students packed Russell Auditorium on Feb. 9 to hear GC President Steve Dorman present the State of the University Address and tout GC’s 2017 accomplishments.
GC has had quite the year, with Beeson Hall, Mayfair Hall and the McIntosh House reopening after extensive renovations. Flannery O’Conner’s family gifted Andalusia farm the university, and GC opened the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy, which seeks to promote better literacy for children in the Milledgeville area and to raise literacy levels across the state.
GC opened the year with a capital campaign of gaining $11,000,000 through donations and alumni, but it quickly reached $20,000,000 within months. The new target for the campaign is now set at $30,000,000 with that campaign ending on June 30, 2020.
Dorman started out the speech by hitting on GC’s big accomplishments but quickly switched over to his plans to increase success, foster preeminence and continue to infuse the liberal arts across the campus.
“I take pride when pointing out the signs of preeminence along the way,” Dorman said. “You know, I see these signs everywhere I turn at GC. As president, I feel it is incumbent upon me to do all I can to build a strong foundation for preeminence.”
Dorman also addressed another main issue: parking.
“I know that parking is an issue on everyone’s minds,” Dorman said. “It’s on my mind too, and I want you to know that.”
Last year, GC paved the area behind the depot, adding 150 spaces. Dorman also stated that in a recent purchase, GC has gained a tract of land near the main campus and will be adding 50 more spaces in the next few months.
Dorman closed by announcing GC’s initiative for the coming year: “Think Independently, Lead Creatively.”
Dorman said that as a collective whole, GC could better job unpacking the liberal arts and educating the public in order to better define GC’s identity. Thus, “Think Independently, Lead Creatively” is how GC will be branding itself in 2018.
Dorman stressed that GC’s logo and the rest of the university’s branding will stay the same, but the new mission statement, “Think Independently, Lead Creatively” will be in effect. He noted that through the use of this goal, GC will be able to move closer to it’s goal of preeminence in the next year.
“There’s a simple, very simple, formula in my mind that I think will lead us down a pathway to preeminence, and it goes something like this: Student success plus faculty success plus staff success will yield institutional success,” Dorman said.
Sophomore Amelia Lord, a political science major said she appreciated Dorman’s speech.
“My favorite part of any university engagement is always just seeing the GC community come together,” Lord said.
“So definitely at the end honoring the service awards, he definitely kept the main focus on the students which is
always really important.”
Sophomore Cameron Watts, an economics major, noted an element he thought was missing from Dorman’s speech: inclusivity.
“I think that it’s still a large issue on campus that needs some more direct intervention by the Office of the President,” Watts said. “I do want to acknowledge that he [Dr. Dorman] has done a lot with the Diversity Action Plan, with stuff that we have been able to implement and also starting the student commission on diversity that he has been heading, but just further acknowledgement of the long distance we have to go, in being more representative of the community that we live in, but also representative of the workforce that we are going to be entering in the future.”
Dorman ended the speech with a challenge to think about institutional renewal, embrace the new normal, create more self discovery for students, foster a better experience for the student body to build character and to “Think Independently, Lead Creatively.”