Celebrating Independence Day 2020

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence. That day marked the beginning of a new world where people would not be governed by monarchs and despots but by themselves. The Declaration expressed the great ideals of freedom and equality: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Our constant dedication to those ideals invoked by Jefferson in the Declaration are the quintessential story of America.  

They were the same ideals invoked by Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg in 1863. With the country torn in two, he reminded people of those ideals and resolved that “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

They were the same ideals invoked by Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington D.C. in 1963.  When he saw our country failing to realize those ideals, he reminded us they’re the core of who we are as a society and that we must strive to realize them for every American: “When the architects of our Great Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.”

Freedom, equality, and self-government are among the greatest gifts the world has been given- they are the gift we celebrate today and every July 4th, and the gift we must never stop striving to preserve!

Happy Independence Day!  

Remembering Rusty Kidd

On Tuesday, June 2, 2020, the world lost a great man, Culver “Rusty” Kidd. Rusty was a dear and beloved friend of Georgia Military College (GMC) and all those who have worked there. Since I joined the GMC team, he has been incredibly gracious to all and very engaged in the affairs of the school. His mentorship and guidance have been absolutely invaluable in charting our future. The Milledgeville native grew up around GMC and has long family ties to the institution.

Rusty’s connection to GMC actually pre-dates his own birth, going back to his grandfather, Culver Kidd, Sr., and his father, Senator Culver Kidd, who both attended GMC. Senator Kidd earned his commission at GMC and went on to serve as a Captain of the U.S. Army in World War II. He also helped to make GMC both a private and public institution of higher learning in the Vietnam era. Upon his death in 1994, GMC honored him by relocating all his office furniture to a special room in the GMC Library. The family still has his GMC saber and uniform in a special place on the college.

When Senator Kidd’s mother passed, local businesses along with the Kidd family created a scholarship fund for her and later added his name to the Tillie S. Kidd and Senator Culver Kidd GMC Scholarship fund.

Since 1987, Rusty has been an active supporter of Georgia Military College, contributing to his family’s scholarship, the Prep School Performing Arts, Annual fundraising, Athletics, and Visual Arts Scholarships, as well as the Baugh Barracks Fund and College Cadet Scholarship, and many more. His most notable contribution was made to the Health and Wellness Fund.

In 1999, Rusty suffered a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Despite his physical limitations, Rusty maintained his appreciation for fitness. When Rusty learned of GMC’s plan to build a new Health and Wellness Center for students and faculty, he immediately came forward to help. Not wanting the generous donation to shift attention away from the project itself, Rusty made the gift anonymously. Only recently, with construction of the center well under way, did he agree to make news of the gift public. The building would go on to be named the “Kidd Center,” marking his family’s legacy at GMC forever.

Rusty made a difference in the lives of many students and cadets on the GMC and GMC Prep School campuses. He was at nearly every event and gathering, showing support for the institution he loved so much. He was a dedicated statesman and community leader that worked to improve the lives of those in Milledgeville and Baldwin County, and across the state of Georgia. He has been a pillar of service and friendship to the entire GMC community and he will be greatly missed by all. His legacy will live on at Georgia Military College.

For those who wish, the family requests donations be made to the Senator Culver Kidd and Mrs. Tillie S. Kidd Scholarship Fund at Georgia Military College Foundation, 201 East Greene Street, Milledgeville, GA 31061. To make an online donation to this scholarship, please visit give.gmc.edu.

Memorial Day and Remembering Those That Died for Our Freedom

At the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial,  there are over 170 acres of white Crosses and Stars of David which mark the graves of American soldiers who gave their lives to liberate Europe during World War II. The cross at plot D, row 19, grave 21 bears the name of GMC Junior College class of 1939 graduate LTC William Turner.

LTC Turner, or “Billy” as he was known by friends and family, commanded the First Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He jumped into France with his men on D-Day. On D-Day plus one, his battalion forced a German retreat town of Vierville, but on the way to St. Come du Mont, they encountered heavy enemy resistance. At which point, LTC Turner jumped into a Sherman tank to personally direct the fire.

Thanks to his heroic leadership, the battalion was able to move forward by destroying the German position. Unfortunately, LTC Turner was killed by enemy fire during the battle.  

He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for “outstanding leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty at the cost of his life.”

Memorial Day exists for Soldiers like him—patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Where would America be without men and women like Billy — a young man from right here in Milledgeville, Georgia who was killed and buried 4,000 miles from his home.  Where would we be without those men and women who served as if America’s future and the freedom of her people depended upon them alone? Without the courage, dedication, and honor of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend freedom throughout the world, we would be lost.  GMC is proud of Billy’s service, and we will never forget his sacrifice.  This Memorial Day, we remember LTC Turner and all of our nation’s fallen heroes.

National Peace Officers Memorial Day

In 1962, the date May 15 was designated as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, a day to honor and to remember local, state, and federal peace officers nationwide who have died or become disabled while serving others in the line of duty. It is also a time to remember those fallen officers’ families and the many sacrifices they, too, have made.

Law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice include GMC Prep School and Junior College alumnus John Thomas “Sonny” King III (HS ’59, JC ’61), a Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agent killed in 1985 while serving an arrest warrant, and Prep School alumnus William “Will” E. Robinson IV (HS ’87), a Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office deputy killed in 1995 while making a traffic stop.

The John Thomas (Sonny) King III Scholarship Fund for GMC Prep School or Junior College students was established in memory of and in honor of King. Among the scholarship’s qualification criteria in order to be awarded includes students whose parent or grandparent was a law enforcement officer in Georgia killed in the line of duty.

The William E. Robinson IV Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to honor the memory of Robinson. The scholarship is awarded to GMC Prep School students from law enforcement families. It also supports the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office C.H.A.M.P.S. Program, a drug and safety awareness program for fifth-graders. The Will Robinson Memorial Run, held for more than 20 years at the GMC-Milledgeville campus, serves as a fundraiser for the scholarship.

For the past two years, the GMC-Milledgeville campus and Preparatory School have honored our area peace officers on May 15 with a morning formation wreath-laying ceremony and a complimentary lunch provided for first responders.

In the past, we have had a fabulous turnout for the lunch that has included public safety personnel from local colleges, the city of Milledgeville, Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, Baldwin County Fire Rescue, and other first responders. Unfortunately, this year, precautions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have required us to cancel the lunch plans.

GMC still recognized National Peace Officers Memorial Day this year by holding a wreath-laying ceremony at the Grant Parade flag pole at the Milledgeville campus on May 15 at 8:30 a.m. This year, however, it was a social-distancing private event with a Facebook Live broadcast for others to view remotely.

Let’s come together on National Peace Officers Memorial Day virtually via live stream – and in our hearts – to remember and to honor all of the men and women in law enforcement who have made the ultimate sacrifice or suffered permanent disabilities selflessly defending their communities.

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week May 4-8, 2020

There isn’t a day, a week, a month, or a year when we don’t appreciate our wonderful and dedicated GMC Prep School teachers, as well as Junior College professors and instructors. From elementary school to college, these educators are invaluable and incredible members of the GMC Family. They are the heart of the institution.

The unexpected circumstances experienced during the coronavirus pandemic have given us even more reasons to be so very thankful for our all our educators who have shown remarkable character and resilience navigating uncharted waters. For more than a month, these dedicated individuals have shown genuine character above all by remaining focused on their commitment to teaching students and student success. No amount of distance could take that away.  For those reasons and many more, Teacher Appreciation Week – May 4 to May 8 – is more special his year.

On behalf of the entire GMC Family, I want to thank our teachers, professors, and instructors for their determination and dedication to working quickly to find ways to adapt their classes in a virtual setting. Despite the chaos and change, they still found fun and innovative ways to connect and to share laughs with their students, such as with Cool T-shirt Spirit Day for seventh graders.

Special people call for special recognition. Throughout Teacher Appreciation Week, please find ways to honor and to thank the educators who have made a difference for their students during the trying and uncertain times of the coronavirus pandemic.

Even with social distancing measures in place, there are a variety of ways to show gratitude. It can be as simple as sharing a poem, drawing, video, or quick note of thanks sent via email or posted on social media.

For those who wish to give more, one way would be to support local businesses by purchasing a gift card online for a teacher, professor, or instructor to use at a local restaurant that offers delivery or curbside pick-up. Gift cards can be sent via email or text.

Nowhere was the spirit of “we’re all in this together” more apparent during the remote-learning period of the pandemic than in the character, duty, and honor shown by our teachers, professors, and instructors at GMC. Their devotion made all the difference in helping our Prep School and Junior College students succeed academically despite it all.

National Vietnam War Veterans Day 2020

As an American Soldier who was privileged to serve others and our Nation for 37 years, I have experienced on countless occasions people’s expressions of appreciation for my military service. It is always an immensely humbling experience that truly warms the heart.

 

Unfortunately, such personal displays of unexpected kindness have not always been shown to some U.S. military members. It has long been acknowledged, and I witnessed it firsthand with my father, that those who returned from the Vietnam War didn’t always receive a hero’s welcome. While we can’t travel back in time to make those wrongs right, we can take time today to honor those who served in the Vietnam War.

 

The date, March 29 of every year, has been designated by the U.S. Congress and our President as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. It was on this date back in 1973, almost fifty years ago, when all remaining U.S. troops were withdrawn from Vietnam – two decades after the war began. 

 

It is never too late to thank a Vietnam War veteran in our community and across our nation for their service and their sacrifice. On this day, Sunday, March 29, may we pause to recognize and to honor the men and women who served in the Vietnam War. May we also take time today to remember the POWs and MIAs of the Vietnam War, as well as their families.

 

We are blessed to live in a town that offers a number of ways to reach out to and to give back to Vietnam War veterans. Volunteer at the Georgia War Veterans Home or at Comfort Farms. Visit the Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery, which features an avenue of flags and places flags on gravesites for special occasions such as Veterans Day. Visit a Vietnam War memorial, which includes ours here on our Milledgeville campus.

 

In addition to each of these Milledgeville locations, on this day make sure to take time to thank and to spend time with family members and friends who are Vietnam War veterans. Let them know how much they and their military service truly mean to you. Gratitude and thanks don’t have an expiration date and they never go out of style. Know that your kind words will really mean a lot to them, even – and especially – today.

A Letter from President Caldwell on Coronavirus

Dear GMC students, parents, faculty, and staff,

These are unprecedented times and we will see the ramifications long after the pandemic is over. Although there is much uncertainty, one thing has not changed and that is the commitment of Georgia Military College to the education and safety of our students attending our Prep School, Junior College, and Corps of Cadets; as well as the safety and well-being of faculty and staff at all 14 GMC Junior College campuses.

In accordance with Governor Kemp’s executive order, as well as other state and national guidelines, all GMC campuses are closed to students and we have implemented social distancing measures. All of our Students and cadets have transitioned to remote learning and online courses until March 31. Faculty and staff members will be telecommuting during this time and readily available to students on a remote basis.

We will continue to have key and essential personnel available on GMC campuses to ensure college operations are maintained as needed and for public safety. Our #1 Mission right now is to Ensure the Success of our Students and minimize to the best of our abilities the disruption to their education.

Throughout the coming days and weeks, we will continuously reassess and adjust our procedures for all GMC campuses as required and appropriate. GMC leadership has committed to communicating on a regular basis with our students. Our intent next week, if sufficient information is made available, is to decide how to move forward after March 31. We will announce any new measures and protocols in a timely manner.

Thank you for your continued understanding and patience as we all navigate through these extraordinary times for our GMC Family, surrounding communities, and beyond.

William B. Caldwell, IV
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (Ret.)
President
Georgia Military College

PRESIDENT’S REPORT 2018 – 2019

As we look back on the phenomenal 2018-2019 academic year at Georgia Military College, we also reflect upon the past 140 years of our history providing character-based education for generations of students. Since 1879, GMC has written an overarching student-centric story of hope, opportunity, leadership, and excellence in everything we do.

The successes we celebrate today are a reflection of the work of those who came before us. For more than a century, dedicated and determined members of our GMC Family have committed their time, talent, and treasure to make a difference in the lives of our students. Today we stand on the shoulders of all those who have worked tirelessly over the past 140 years to make GMC a premier educational institution.

Providing students with the best facilities is an important priority. We continue to invest in the future of our students through newly built and renovated structures. In 2018, we began construction on our new Prep School Annex, along with the renovation and restoration of historic Jenkins Hall, as well as building the second phase of our GMC-Fayetteville campus. Each project was completed and ready for students in the fall of 2019.

We were excited to welcome back fourth and fifth grades at our Prep School in the fall of 2018 and third grade in the fall of 2019. The additional elementary school grades were enthusiastically received by our community and classes filled quickly. We started our own traditions with our youngest students, including “High-Five Friday” held every week during morning drop-off at the Prep School Annex, where our high school students welcome the third- through fifth-graders to school; the “Bulldog Buddies Program,” where seniors are selected and partnered as “buddies” for our third-graders and have monthly programs; and our “West Gate Entrance Walk” for our new third-graders as they walk onto the GMC campus for the very first time.

GMC Junior College and our redesignated Global Online Campus continue to excel in terms of student enrollment and graduation numbers. Our Dual Enrollment program and Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree programs enrolled both a higher number of students and produced more graduates than in any previous year in our history. Our Global Online Campus also had our 50th BAS graduate in the fall of 2019, with many more in the program.

A key mission at GMC is to develop military leaders. We are thrilled to report the leadership and staff of our Corps of Cadets worked exceedingly hard to recruit and retain a greater number of cadets and to expand existing programs at GMC. And in the fall of 2019, we expanded our Corps of Cadets Service

Academy Preparatory Program to now serve as a preparatory school for four prestigious U.S. service academies with over 40 “scholars” in our Corps.

As GMC moves toward our sesquicentennial year in 2029 and beyond, we will continue to invest in the success of our students with a master plan that includes adding additional GMC Junior College campuses and expanding our existing campuses throughout Georgia. Additional athletic facilities and improvements are also included in the master plan.

Strategic plans for the Prep School continue to place an emphasis on the fine arts as a powerful means to advance the character-based education it has provided students for more than a century. A proposed Fine Arts Center for Education would provide our Prep School and Junior College students a state-of-the-art educational, exhibition, and performance venue to further explore and expand on their creative endeavors.

We are extremely grateful to every GMC stakeholder and friend. Each of you is a vital part of the success of GMC. You, too, have selflessly given of your time, talent, and treasure. I am honored to be part of the GMC Family as we move forward into an exciting future working together to accomplish even more for our students and the College.

Click here to read full report

SEASON OF GRATITUDE

We began this year at Georgia Military College with a new email and social media campaign, “Attitude of Gratitude,” that each month features an exceptional employee we are so thankful to have as a member of the GMC Family. Each of them represents a shining example of a team member who is a joy to work with and who brings joy to everything they do at work.

Expressions of gratitude always brighten up a day – for the receiver and for the giver. Gratitude is truly meant to be shared with others. During the busy holiday season, as we spend time with friends and family, shopping and traveling, celebrating New Year’s Day, let’s add gratitude to our daily to-do lists.

Gratitude for those we love and appreciate. Letting family members and friends know how much it really means to have them in our life. Those moments are priceless. Saying thanks is so simple, yet always appreciated by everyone. If someone bakes your favorite cake, tell them how grateful you are. It can be as simple as telling someone thanks for holding the door open for you.

Gratitude for the little things in life. Oftentimes, it’s the little things that mean the most. Reading a book beside a roaring fire in the fireplace. Watching the sunrise, or sunset, alone or with a special someone. Spending quality time with family and friends. You don’t even have to do anything special. Just be together. That’s all it takes.

Gratitude for a new year. New opportunities. New experiences. 2020 holds so much potential. There is a lot to be grateful for in the upcoming year. Good times and bad times. They both hold experiences and lessons to be thankful for. We can be grateful for the ability to find the positive in the negative.

Throughout the year – every year – I am tremendously grateful to be a part of the GMC Family. I am truly grateful for every team member of the GMC Family. I am also extremely grateful for our students, alumni, and friends. I share the attitude of gratitude every day at GMC.

NATIONAL PEARL HARBOR REMEMBRANCE DAY

Few dates in our nation’s 243-year history have made such a huge impact on the trajectory of world history or can stir an immediate emotional response than that of December 7, 1941. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s wise words remain true today – it is “a date which will live in infamy.”

On December 7, 1941, more than 2,300 people – members of the military and civilians – were killed during a surprise attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor, as well as other areas on the island of Oahu. It was the impetus for the United States to enter into World War II.

Many people aren’t aware that Pearl Harbor was just one of a number of military bases attacked by the Japanese on December 7, 1941. Members of the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, the same U.S. Army division that I was assigned to decades later, were among the many soldiers and airmen who served bravely and fought valiantly on that infamous day in history.

My father was a 15 year old living on the island when his father who was stationed at Schofield Barracks on the morning of the attack.  I would later serve two tours on Oahu and be stationed at Schofield Barracks too. The military post was one of the first military installations hit by Japanese fighter pilots on that fateful day in December 1941. When I was there, buildings on the post still held bullets lodged during the waves of aerial attacks by the Japanese.

As with those bullets in the buildings at Schofield Barracks, the island of Oahu holds many reminders of those who selflessly served their country – with thousands making the ultimate sacrifice – on December 7, 1941. For decades, the Arizona Memorial is where many veterans and their families have gone to pay their respects to those who perished in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

In 1994, the date of December 7 was designated as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. It is a day when we can each take the time to remember and to honor the thousands who lost their lives and the more than a thousand who were injured – military and civilian – during the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is also a time to remember and to appreciate the men and women who proudly and selflessly served during World War II, as well as to honor and to thank our World War II veterans and their families.

You don’t have to travel to Oahu to pay your respects. On December 7, you can chose to attend a National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony, pay a visit to the Georgia War Veterans Home in Milledgeville, or simply say a prayer of gratitude for those who courageously fought and for those who lost their lives on that infamous day in 1941. We are forever in their debt.