Originally created 09/23/05

MCG's president boasts of enrollment, research growth



The nearly completed Cancer Research Center at Medical College of Georgia towers over the corner of Laney-Walker and R.A. Dent boulevards. President Daniel W. Rahn said that was intentional.

"We had wanted the cancer center to really be a major campus landmark. And I think its design reflects that," Dr. Rahn said Thursday, just after his fifth State of the University address. "There's a statement of purpose and the importance of the initiative."

The center is part of the $125 million in new facilities that have sprung up since 2001, when Dr. Rahn took office, part of the way he is changing the landscape of the school. The school has added or renovated 330,000 square feet since that time and is planning for more, Dr. Rahn said. It recently received approval to begin planning a new $100 million building for the School of Dentistry that is also likely to change the Augusta landscape.

"Everything has to go up," Dr. Rahn said.

And the school will need another medical education building - enrollment is up 11 percent to 2,100 students, including an increase in black enrollment to 11 percent. Applications to get into MCG are up 20 percent, he said.

"We share responsibility with our students for their success," Dr. Rahn said. "They do their part. We do our part. They should succeed."

Research has also grown, from $43.7 million in fiscal year 2001 to nearly $80 million, Dr. Rahn said.

"Our research enterprise is on an upward trajectory due to an unwavering commitment to create a thriving and productive environment for discovery, and due to our commitment to be among the best in the world in our chosen area of focus," Dr. Rahn said.

But one of the things he is proudest of this past year is not tangible - it is fostering a sense of collaboration on campus.

"We really have come together as a campus leadership to work much more collaboratively across schools and ensure our ability to address the highest priorities for the institution, rather than working as a series of individual schools, but rather really working much more cohesively," Dr. Rahn said.

For instance, a new program in what is being called regenerative medicine is bringing together researchers from the dental school, the medical school and across campus to explore the potential of stem cells to repair the body, he said.

Researcher David Hill, for instance, is one of those looking at using stem cells from bone marrow to repair or prevent damage in the brain from strokes.

"There's been a groundswell across the campus among different groups that were interested in it that have kind of gotten together, and the administration has been very supportive of this," Dr. Hill said.

If they want to know the level of the school's commitment, they can look to the $54 million cancer center for inspiration, he said.

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

In his tenure



Since Daniel W. Rahn became president of the Medical College of Georgia in June 2001:



- The number of students enrolled in Medical College of Georgia is up 11 percent to 2,100;



- The percentage of black students at MCG is up 8.8 percent to 11 percent;



- 330,000 square feet of space has been constructed or renovated;



- The 900-member faculty at MCG now includes 11 Georgia Research Alliance eminent scholars.



Source: MCG