President Addresses Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education Appropriations

Dr. Daniel J. Kaufman, president of newly established Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville testified today in Athens at a special meeting of the Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education Appropriations to discuss the needs of the college in the state fiscal year 2009. Kaufman joined fellow presidents from several other institutions to discuss facility and program needs.

Dr. Daniel J. Kaufman, president of newly established Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville testified today in Athens at a special meeting of the Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education Appropriations to discuss the needs of the college in the state fiscal year 2009. Kaufman joined fellow presidents from several other institutions to discuss facility and program needs.

Kaufman stated, “There is an air of excitement and anticipation at Georgia Gwinnett College. We are excited about the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design a college from scratch, and we anticipate growing at a rate that will continue to challenge those of us fortunate enough to be involved with this remarkable new venture.”

Senator John Wiles, chairman of the subcommittee, indicated to President Kaufman that GGC is a critical factor in the University System of Georgia in meeting future student demand.

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President Daniel Kaufman’s Comments
Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education Appropriations
Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning/afternoon to all of you and thank you for this opportunity to spend a few minutes talking with you about Georgia Gwinnett College. At the outset, I want to thank you for the support you have shown and continue to show for the programs at GGC. We simply could not have achieved what we have to this point without the extraordinary support all of you have shown for what we are doing. So, on behalf of all the faculty and staff at GGC, thank you.

As you know, GGC was created in 2005 by a resolution passed by the Board of Regents and the General Assembly. We are the first new 4 year state college founded in Georgia in over a hundred years, and, according to the American Council on Education, we are the first new public 4 year college to be chartered in the United States in the 21st Century.

Accordingly, the mission of GGC is decidedly 21st century. The intention clearly is for us to be a model of innovative instructional methodology for all colleges and universities to follow.

For all that we have accomplished in our brief history, the magnitude of our tasks will increase many fold in the coming years. Our mission—as directed by the Board of Regents and the General Assembly-- is to provide access to targeted baccalaureate programs that meet the workforce needs of the growing and diverse population of the northeast Atlanta metropolitan region. Our guidance from the Board of Regents as well as the General Assembly is to be innovative in the way we design and deliver our educational programs and in the way organize the administrative support structures of the college. Our timetable for mission accomplishment is ambitious. We already have about 800 students enrolled, and we expect to enroll upwards of 2,000 to 3,000 new students in August, all of whom will show up at our doors and expect a full four year college environment.

Obviously, we have many needs for this fledgling college to be successful. Let me say that the Board of Regents, the Governor and the General Assembly have been absolute stalwarts in understanding and supporting the needs of the new institution, and we very much appreciate what you have done for us.

That said, we do have important needs that we have to address now and in the future. We recently have completed an important addition to one of our academic buildings that includes a 300 person auditorium, so we now have a place where I can actually meet with the entire faculty and staff, an amenity we lacked until now. Additionally, as you know the Legislature approved the governor’s request for funds in Fiscal Year 2008 to build a Library and Learning Center at GGC, a project that we are initiating now. The Library and Learning Center will be the intellectual center of campus, where separate functions such as research instruction, student success programs, faculty development programs, and individual as well as group study facilities can come together in a synergistic fashion. Libraries are also the Information Commons on campus, a place where any student, regardless of economic circumstance, can have computer access to the educational technology systems and electronic data programs that are an inherent part of any curriculum.

We are excited about that new facility, and all of us at GGC appreciate the support you showed us in making it possible. I am pleased to note that many of the foremost architectural firms in the nation have expressed an interest in designing our new facility.

As we grow, we will have additional facilities needs in the future. Once we are fully accredited, we will begin our nursing program, and so the capital plan calls for funding for an allied health and science building in Fiscal Year 2012. That timing coincides nicely with the initiation of our nursing program. We also will need to build additional classroom and office space in the years ahead as we grow, and the capital plan provides for such facilities. Since all of our facilities are essentially new, our MRR requirements have been modest to date.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the significant contributions that private support has provided, enabling us to acquire needed facilities in a timely fashion. The Georgia Gwinnett College Foundation already has purchased two buildings and surrounding property immediately adjacent to the college, one of which now serves as our student services building, the other of which will provide badly needed storage space for equipment and other materials. Thanks to the generous support from members of our community, the Foundation also helped provide financial aid to eligible students this past year, since GGC students are not eligible for federal financial aid until we are admitted to candidacy as part of the accreditation process of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Foundation also has enabled us to participate in public-private ventures, one of which already has resulted in the construction of a 750 car parking deck that we will open next month. The Foundation also is working with the College and the Board of Regents on a plan to develop student housing on campus.

So, there is an air of excitement and anticipation at Georgia Gwinnett College. We are excited about the once in a lifetime opportunity to design a college from scratch, and we anticipate growing at a rate that will continue to challenge those of us fortunate enough to be involved with this remarkable new venture. Mr. Chairman, you and the members of this committee have much to be proud of in forming this new college and in meeting the rising needs of college students in the northeast Georgia region, and in particular Gwinnett County. I can assure you that all of us will do everything in our power to make GGC a success in every sense of the word. This will truly be a remarkable institution in just a few years, one of which all Georgians can be justifiably proud.

I will be glad to answer any questions you may have. Again, I thank you for the opportunity to speak with you, and I look forward to working with you in the future.

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