On Tuesday, October 4, 2016, East Georgia State College began another chapter in their history as they broke ground on their Academic Building Expansion project. This project will provide more classroom and lab space at the growing institution and is expected to be complete in Fall of 2017.
“This is the first new classroom and laboratory space that the college has constructed since the day that this campus was opened, so this is a very exciting day for EGSC. We deeply appreciate everyone being here today,” said EGSC President Bob Boehmer.
Both Senator Jack Hill and State Representative Butch Parrish were present for the event, and both had great things to say about the college.
“I’m one of the ones old enough to remember when this building was originally built, and it has been a long time coming that we’ve been able to do these things. It is a testament to the fact that East Georgia is a vibrant school that is growing and has the support from the community and surrounding areas,” said Representative Parrish.
Hill added, “These are wonderful days when we can begin construction on a very needed project. This is indicative of the growth that EGSC has been undergoing in the past few years. This is a project that, for a very reasonable amount of money, will create much needed space.”
Swainsboro Mayor Charles Schwabe also spoke, presenting Dr. Bohemer with a special gift. “Every time I come out here, I am reminded of how fortunate we are to have this college in our community and how fortunate we have been to have the leaders we’ve had. We’ve had some great presidents, but I cannot think of any who have been as prolific with a shovel as President Bohemer,” he said, presenting him with a box containing a gold-painted shovel. “And you know, ground breaking is the easy part. The hard part is the politics and the convincing.” He then presented Dr. Boehmer with a gold-painted wrench which he referred to as a “South Georgia Arm-Twister.”
“The reason I’m here this morning, in all seriousness, is to reaffirm the bond between this college and community. We are so proud of your progress and we look forward to more of it,” he concluded.
EGSC Foundation President Denny Key then spoke, adding his sentiments. “If you stop and think about groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings, they never get old, especially when you look and see the benefits that have already been reaped, and those that will be reaped, by the students, the community and the state. It takes all of us to do what has been done on this campus. Dr. Boehmer has been a leader in what has happened in this college community and this area of the state. I hope it gives some inspiration to the students that know and can see that people are behind them and will inspire them to, in the future, make their own contributions back to a community.”
Austin Davis, president of EGSC’s Student Government Association, also spoke to the assembled members of the community, saying, “On behalf of the student body, I’d like to thank you all for your dedication to us. Each and every one of you have a special role that you play towards our education. We realize it takes a lot, and we thank you for your investment in our future. We are appreciative of your hard work, and we strive to work just as hard in the classroom.”
After the groundbreaking ceremony, a reception was held in the Luck F. Gambrell Building Rotunda, followed by the annual State of the College Presidential Address.
During the address, Dr. Boehmer outlined where the college has been and where it is heading.
“[The day of the State of the College Address] is one of my favorite days every year,” he said. “It is a chance to say a really sincere thank you to people for all that they’ve done, to reaffirm our commitment to the college’s mission, to celebrate the accomplishments of the college, to commit to future improvements and, perhaps most importantly, to think about our core values and reaffirm our commitment to them.”
“There’s been an amazing transformation in our physical campus in the past year, and I’d like to thank Senator Hill and Representative Parrish, as well as Senator Jesse Stone, because their advocacy in the legislature has made this possible. I’d like to also thank the residents of Emanuel County for welcoming these new on-campus residents,” he said, outlining the new residence hall and the Academic Building expansion project. He also outlined the next project proposal, an expansion of the Jean A. Morgan Student Center that would provide more space for dining, the bookstore and more.
“Students who are engaged and participate in student activities, spend time on campus with their fellow students and faculty and staff, are the ones who excel academically,” Dr. Boehmer explained. “This expansion that we’re proposing is critical to our students’ success.”
Dr. Boehmer then outlined the acreage belonging to EGSC’s Swainsboro campus, which, after a recent gift, now totals 385 acres. “This means that, due to gifts of land from the Gambrell family, there is space for this campus to grow to serve our students.”
He spoke of the plan to be good stewards of this property, explaining that the University of Georgia College of Environmental Design will begin working on a new physical master plan with input from the community and its people.
“All of these buildings and land are important because of our mission,” Dr. Boehmer said. He talked about the importance of EGSC as an access institution, sharing an email he received from a former student and employee of EGSC who has gone on to earn his bachelor and master degrees and is soon to complete his Ph.D.
Dr. Boehmer went on outline how the mission of EGSC is at an intersection with national imperatives with higher education: affordability, accessibility, graduation, and colleges operating efficiently and with accountability.
“We do all of these things. That is why the state of East Georgia State College is good,” he said.
He outlined the two bachelor’s degrees—Biology and Fire and Emergency Services Administration—that are currently offered at EGSC, and also spoke of the newest bachelor’s degree, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, that is currently moving through the approval and accreditation process.
“My dream for all of you is, whether you’re involved in athletics, student government, the business club or the science club, that what you’re thinking about is the brilliant future that you’ve got if you follow the pattern of being engaged while you’re here, realizing the importance of getting your degree, and going on to earn your Associate’s Degree and Bachelor’s Degree. It is important for every student in this room today,” emphasized Dr. Boehmer.
He ended his presentation with an emphasis on EGSC’s core values: integrity, service to the community which founded this institution, respect for all members of our community, intellectual curiosity and diversity.
To watch the entire State of the College Presidential Address, visit EGSC’s Youtube page at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h94maGPxjkA