Paine leader urges excellence

In his first public speech, Paine College's newest president said Wednesday that he envisions the college becoming a "premier" learning institution and touched on what it will take to get there.

"We should take this opportunity to recommit ourselves to the work to be done to make Paine College a premier liberal arts institution in our region," President George Bradley said during Winter Convocation.

Wednesday's convocation at Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel, packed with students, professors and alumni, officially marked the start of the college's new semester and also marked the start of Dr. Bradley's tenure as Paine's 14th president.

"Your personal success becomes the success of Paine College," he said.

Integral to the success of the college is the success of its faculty, Dr. Bradley said. For the college to achieve, he said, its "collective energy" must be focused on supporting faculty members.

"Our faculty provides the informational resources that are central to our mission and our vision here," the president said. "We have to have a strong faculty."

A faculty must be committed to research, service and engaging students, Dr. Bradley said.

The college must also improve its "curb appeal," he said.

"We must let the outside see the beauty of Paine College, the things that are beautiful outside and around our campus, so we can entice the public to come to us with the great things that are happening inside our campus," Dr. Bradley said.

The college needs to work on "friend-raisers," building community support for Paine, Dr. Bradley said.

In introducing the president, Coordinator of English and Foreign Language Marva Stewart commended him for his willingness to "stand up and pull us over the horizon" and not to "blow the uncertain trumpet."

During the convocation, Dr. Bradley also took time to thank Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Curtis Martin for his service as interim president and honor his predecessor, former President Dr. Shirley A.R. Lewis, for the climate she established on campus.

The new president was selected by the college's trustees in October and took over the position at the beginning of this month.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.