One of my joys in recent years is highlighting leaders and organizations in our area that are doing outstanding work.
Some examples of these are Jim Lorraine, Kim Elle and the entire staff of the Augusta Warrior Project, and the wondrous work they are doing. Especially impressive is the success the AWP has had with finding good jobs for veterans and getting permanent housing for homeless vets. Questions? Call (706) 951-7506 or visit the AWP website: www.augustawarriorproject.org.
GEORGE MUIR, THE rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Augusta, has brought energy and creativity to this
historic church on Reynolds Street. Especially recommended is the new Celtic Service, held each Sunday at 5:30 p.m. This 45-minute service provides a program that is easy to follow. The music is in the quiet, Celtic tradition. People of all faiths and religious backgrounds are most welcome. Questions? Call (706) 724-2485 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nancy Glaser, the director of the Augusta Museum of History, is amazing. Thanks to her leadership and the hard work of her fine staff, attendance, bookings of the rotunda and fund-raising all are on the increase.
A reminder: There is a first-rate exhibit at the museum highlighting the life of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. With the release of the movie Get On Up, many folks will want to view the videos, costumes and memorabilia that trace his life story. During the entire month of August, the entry fee for the museum is just $1. Questions? Call (706) 722-8454 or visit augustamuseum.org
Now let us focus on a local community college, Georgia Military College. Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to have three sessions (workshops on leadership and ethics plus a commencement address) with the students, staff and faculty of GMC. I have gained great respect for this historic institution. It is on quite a roll.
Georgia Military College is a multidimensional institution. There is a military prep school in Milledgeville. There are more than 500 uniformed cadets from grades six through 12. The second major element of GMC is a junior college that provides an associate degree to those who complete a vigorous two-year curriculum. There are more than 8,000 students in nine locations throughout Georgia. The GMC-Augusta campus on Davis Road provides education to more than 1,200 of these scholars.
THERE IS LOTS OF good news about GMC:
• Tuition costs are quite modest, and for those who are not official Georgia residents there is no extra charge.
• Nontraditional students can take courses in the evenings and on weekends.
• Course offering are designed so that class sizes remain small – from 20 to 28 students. This ensures lots of interaction between students and professors.
• A recent decision by Gov. Nathan Deal will allow GMC to offer a bachelor’s degree in applied science. This four-year program kicks off in 2015.
• The new president of GMC, recently retired Army Lt. Gen. Bill Caldwell, has brought new energy and ideas to GMC. His background as former commander of the premier military educational institution at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., is serving him well as he charts GMC’s future.
It is important to point out that one of the great strengths of the American higher education system is its more than 1,600 community colleges. Often designated as junior colleges or technical colleges, the most common label in recent years is “community college.” More than 7 million students are enrolled in these colleges.
George Military College has an enviable record. It has been ranked as one of the top 25 community colleges in America by CNN Money, Washington Monthly and Best Schools. Also, GMC was the champion in the 2014 National Junior College Ethics Bowl. In short, it is a great place to learn and to grow.
ON MONDAY, JULY 21, Gen. Caldwell, GMC’s president, will speak at the luncheon meeting of Augusta Kiwanis Club. He tells me that he would be pleased to meet with anyone immediately after his talk. Those who are interested in visiting with him or some of the top leaders of the Augusta campus of GMC are welcome to come to the Berlin Room (on the second floor at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church) at 1:45 p.m. The church is at the corner of Sixth and Reynolds streets.
Those interested in learning more about GMC are encouraged to explore its website: www.gmc.cc.ga.us/
(The writer is a retired U.S. Air Force major general. His email address is email@example.com. His website is genpsmith.com.)