Turning Leaves & Turning Points: A Mid-Semester Check-In

As the crisp autumn air descends each morning on our campuses, I, like many of you, find myself enjoying the beauty of the season of autumn. And, I confess, I do so despite the horrors of pumpkin spice, a drink befitting the scariness of Halloween! The fall decorations come out, the football season (both kinds) moves into a frenetic pace, and all around us the natural world orchestrates a majestic beauty that we would be best served to pause and delight in for a few minutes daily, before it all goes in a short few weeks. The “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” (Keats, 1819) is one of the very finest times of the year. It is also a time of great activity for us all at MGA, and I want to give you a quick mid-semester check-in, while encouraging each us to savor these special fall days.

In recent weeks, I have had the privilege of taking our new five-year strategic plan, "Middle Georgia's Path to Excellence," to the communities we serve. This has been an opportunity to share our successes and to listen to those communities where we live and work. I trust you will find inspiration in some of these highlights:

  • Student Success – A Testament to Dedication: Our students aren't merely plotting a course; they're soaring toward remarkable achievements. Retention and graduation rates are rising, and we have reached a significant milestone – more than 10,000 new Knights have proudly graduated since we became a state university in 2015. This accomplishment stands as a testament to the dedication of our faculty and staff and their commitment to our students' success. It’s also a tribute to our students who have honed their perseverance through the difficulties of recent years.
  • Strengthened Community Bonds: Our recent community town halls were more than meetings; they were a collective affirmation of the value of our university and the bright future that awaits graduates. One of our primary goals has been to deepen our connections with the communities surrounding our campuses, and I believe we've never been more connected. Our economic impact has reached an all-time high, an impressive $288 million, and our communities are grateful for the prosperity our university brings. Beyond mere dollars, it's about graduates living and working in our communities, making a tangible difference in the lives of our neighbors.
  • Investment from Enthusiastic Supporters: The enthusiasm and belief in our university's future are contagious, and it's not just us who recognize our success. This week, I had the privilege of meeting with several supporters interested in investing in our vision. During a tour of our equestrian center, nestled in the picturesque countryside outside of Cochran, we watched members of our equestrian team in action as they practiced. Their impressive performance left a lasting impression on me and our guest, underscoring the undeniable forward momentum of our university.

I encourage you all to not only celebrate these successes but also to acknowledge the effort you invest each day. Remember, challenges are an inherent part of any journey, particularly for students. If you find yourself facing difficulties, reach out to your professors, advisors, and the university support system who are all here to assist you. Your success is our shared goal. We are well-equipped to guide and support you on your path to excellence.

Enjoy this season of autumn, and Go Knights!