Celebrating our Independence

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 each other. 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 desire to realize 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 over the issue of slavery, he reminded people that our nation was “conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” and he 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.” Over 360,000 Union soldiers died to guarantee that these great American ideals would live on. 

They were the same ideals invoked by Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington D.C. in 1963.  When he saw our country still failing to fully realize those ideals, he reminded us that they are 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.” 

In 2021, inspired by the progress of leaders like Jefferson, Lincoln, and King, we continue to strive toward the realization of true liberty and equality for all. It is the noblest of goals and one for which every generation of Americans has fought and sacrificed. 

During the Revolutionary War, John Adams wrote, “Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present Generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good Use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.” 

Every single day, it is our duty to use that freedom to continue striving toward the lofty and honorable goal of guaranteeing liberty and justice for every single American so we can hand freedom, equality, and self-government to the next generation in even better shape than it was handed to us.      

Remembering Our Heroes on Memorial Day

Sergeant Paul Henderson Lawing, Jr.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. contains the names of 58,318 Americans who gave their lives in service to the United States during the Vietnam War. Panel W1, line 42 of the Memorial bears the name of GMC student Paul Henderson Lawing, Jr. who loved dogs and was known around his hometown for his basketball skills.

On 14 June 1972, Sergeant Lawing, or “Skip” as he was known by friends and family, observed Viet Cong forces advancing on his hilltop. He immediately brought this enemy force under mortar fire and requested assistance. When the reaction force arrived and encountered resistance, Sergeant Lawing unhesitatingly moved through intense enemy small arms and machine gun fire in order to direct the movements of the reaction force. “Once again with complete disregard for his own safety he moved through the bullet swept area in order to engage this flanking element.”

His decisive and heroic actions that day saved numerous lives. Unfortunately, Sergeant Lawing, who acted with selfless disregard for his own safety, was killed by enemy fire.

He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for “conspicuous gallantry in action.”

Memorial Day exists for Soldiers like him—patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.

Where would America be without men and women like Skip? 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 serve our country throughout the world, we would be lost. GMC is proud of Skip’s service, and we will never forget his sacrifice. This Memorial Day, we remember Sergeant Lawing and all of our nation’s fallen heroes.

Teacher Appreciation Week

We are excited to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week!

This year, honoring and celebrating the work of our teachers means so much more. This time last year our teachers and professors were working overtime to make sure our students had the support they needed to end the school year remotely due to COVID. We asked a lot of our educators in 2020 – they had to transition to remote learning and adjust all their lesson plans to be made virtual, learn new technology, teach students while they were at home, and make sure those students were still successful. During that time GMC implemented our Five Step Program to provide for a safe learning environment for all our students, faculty, and staff. Because of our Five Step Program, we were able to hold in-seat classes for all students this entire school year! This was a huge step for our institution, being one of the only schools in the state to fully open for in-seat instruction, and after school activities, last August. We’re proud that we’ve been able to continue working toward the goal of getting back to normal, and we have our teachers, full-time professors, and adjuncts to thank for that. We are grateful for your support and willingness to make a real difference at GMC throughout this past year.

This is an exciting time in the school calendar, and the perfect time to shine a light on our teachers. We thank you for your commitment to provide a character-based education for our students, and to accomplish the GMC mission of producing “educated citizens and contributing members of society in an environment conducive to the development of the intellect and character of our students.”

Thank you to all our teachers and professors of GMC, and HAPPY TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK!

One Year of COVID-19: A Testimony to the Strength and Character of our GMC Family

It has been a full year since Georgia Military College, with our 13 college campuses, a College Corps of Cadets and College Athletic program, along with our Preparatory School (grades 3-12), was forced to change how we operate in a way we had never experienced before. Per Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s mandate issued on March 14, 2020, all public schools were ordered to close on March 18, 2020 due to the threat of COVID-19. In anticipation of the global pandemic, GMC formed a COVID Task Force and immediately went to work to make sure GMC would continue to provide quality education for our Students by shifting all instruction to a remote setting.

All GMC and GMC Prep School Students transitioned to remote learning on March 16th and 17th in 2020. What we thought would last only two weeks, lasted much longer. All our faculty and a majority of our staff were forced to work from home and we were not allowed to bring our Students back to campus for the remaining three months of the academic year. No parades, no proms, no end of the year celebrations – it was a tough pill to swallow, as we knew our graduating Students would be missing tradition celebrations and milestones. 

It’s a blessing our leadership had the foresight early on to invest in the tools and resources providing the means to offer remote learning.  Our faculty, guided by their passion for Student success, took the helm and swiftly transitioned to a new mode of learning.  Their unwavering commitment to their Students was critical in making the transition successful.  There were bumps along the way and we learned a lot as an educational community, but in the end we can boast 1,880 college graduates for the 2019-2020 school year and for the Prep school a 100% graduation rate. 

In April, after having successfully transitioned to remote learning our COVID Task Force next took on the mission of planning a safe  return  to in-seat instruction once we were authorized to do so.  As a team, we committed to do whatever it took to put into place the systems to enable GMC to provide for a safe environment on our campuses so we could welcome back our Students, faculty, and staff for in-seat instruction to continue the traditions of GMC we all know and love. 

Our Health Services and Engineering staffs hit the ground running, working to provide supplies to our campuses to keep the campuses clean and healthy. We reworked classroom spaces, implemented new safety measures, and spent considerable funds to secure and install technology to assist us in preventing COVID from being introduced on our campuses; and if it did, to immediately eradicate it.  Most importantly we implemented our “Five Step Program”, focused on personal responsibility along with the application of new technology.

On June 1st when the Governor permitted those who were ready to resume in-seat instruction to do so, we did it immediately.  Our Prep School was the first to welcome back Students to campus for in-seat instruction teaching summer school that began that day. From there we began to phase back in our staff as we also continued to learn more about the virus and how to fight it. The preparation enabled us to continue welcoming our Students back to campus and host every summer program originally planned by our Prep School on the GMC campus. By August, the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year, Students at the Prep School and every GMC campus were back on site for in-seat learning. 

Since then, things have significantly improved across our campuses. We are finally getting closer to what we consider normal at GMC. Our Prep School Fine Arts Department has hosted multiple in-seat theater performances, and our College will do so this month.  We have hosted commissioning ceremonies, graduations, award presentations, and numerous other in person events on campus.  We are also hosting our first in-person parade since this time last year, adjusting our etiquette on when you should wear a mask, and so much more. We can do this because our GMC family is committed to keeping our Students safe. 

For our GMC Board of Trustees, and our GMC Leadership Team, we celebrated this one-year mark last Friday when 70 members of our GMC Prep School faculty and staff received the first dose of the COVID vaccine on our campus. They will receive their second dose next month. This was a pivotal step in our progress, and demonstrates our commitment to return  to normalcy.  The vaccine has now been referred to as the “Sixth Step” in our Five Step Program; it is a game changer.

Over this past year our GMC Family demonstrated one more time what makes GMC so special.  It is the strength and resiliency of our Students, their Parents, our Faculty and Staff, who are all committed to ensuring our Students receive the best education possible during a very challenging time.  It is a real honor to serve with everyone who is making a real difference in the lives of our Students.  Thank you for your commitment and dedication to our Mission to embrace our dual focus on advancing the intellect and developing their Character of our Students, a unique blend exclusive to our institution since its founding in 1879.

LtGen William B. Caldwell IV (USA, Ret)

President, Georgia Military College

Celebrating Women’s History Month

Mary Walker was a doctor during the Civil War. She treated wounded soldiers at field hospitals and later as a surgeon for the War Department. In 1864, she was captured and held as a prisoner of war for four long months. A year after her release, President Andrew Johnson awarded her the nation’s highest military award— the Medal of Honor.

Two years before she died, the medal was rescinded due to her civilian status, but Dr. Walker— knowing her own worth— refused to return it. She hung that symbol of her bravery and sacrifice proudly around her neck and wore it until the day she died.

Sixty years later and long after she was gone, the honor was posthumously restored to her, and she remains the only female ever to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Doctor Walker is just one among thousands of American female glass breakers. In fact, glass shatters every day in this country as women prove again and again the limitlessness of their potential for achievement and their aptitude for leadership and discovery. That potential has been exhibited for many years at Georgia Military College.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Georgia Military College is proud to remember the women who have made history right here at home, and continue to do so today. Some key dates and achievements among GMC females:

-1979, Roxanne Renner became the first female Cadet battalion Executive Officer
-1984, Kathy Durden Clark became the first High School Battalion Commander
-1999, Jill Gooch Moss became the first Junior College Battalion Commander
-2006, Heather Stacy became the first Regimental Commander.

These women, and countless others since, have shattered the glass ceiling at this institution and continue to catapult GMC forward. These leaders, through tenacity and an unwavering commitment to our core values of duty, honor, and country, proved that GMC is a place where there are no limits to what women can achieve and be recognized for their leadership.

GMC Annual Update

Each year Georgia Military College provides an update to our Governor, and we recently did so at the end of August 2020. Even with the challenges of COVID-19 in the latter part of the year, we had a great one, and are starting the 2020-2021 academic year on the right foot. In our 141st year at Georgia Military College, we’re able to continue offering quality, character-based education in the state of Georgia.

Georgia Military College continues to provide pathways to success at our 14 community college campuses across the state, as well as at Georgia Military Global Online College.

  • GMC offers 28 Associate degree programs and 5 Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree programs.
    • Added 2 new Associate degree programs and a new BAS in Healthcare Management. Pending SACSCOC approval, a BAS degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management will be offered later this academic year.
  • GMC 50 articulation agreements with four-year colleges, and 44 of those provide GMC graduates with guaranteed admission.
  • Over the past 5 years, we have seen a 32% increase in total number of graduates
  • 91% of GMC’s 16,351 students call Georgia home, with GMC serving students from 139 of 159 counties in the state.

Georgia Military College’s 141st Corps of Cadets had a banner year offering military opportunities to U.S. Service Academy Prep Scholars, State Service Scholarship, Early Commissioning Program, Civic Leader, and Football Cadets.

  • 42 Cadet Scholars received appointments to U.S. Service Academies – the most ever.
  • GMC Georgia State Service Scholarship program continued to provide up to 42 new full scholarship awards to recruit and enlist Georgians to serve in either the Georgia Air or Army National Guard.
  • Corps members provided community service in Central Georgia by volunteering 3,258 hours of community service, a 255% increase from the previous year.

Georgia Military College Preparatory School serves students in Baldwin County and surrounding communities in grades 3-12 and continues to excel in meeting the mission of “developing the intellect and elevating the character” of the students we serve.

  • The GMC Prep School Class of 2020 continued its record of 100% high school graduation rate for the 10th consecutive year.
    • 83% of graduates are matriculating to a Georgia post-secondary school this fall and 70% of graduates had the opportunity to do so under Georgia’s HOPE scholarship.
    • As a part of our Dual Enrollment partnership with GMC, 43 of these graduates (80%), enrolled in college classes as a Sophomore, Junior, and/or Senior.
  • GMC Prep’s AP program celebrated its third consecutive year of a 90% or higher pass rate on all AP tests taken with 93% or more of students enrolled in our AP program taking the test.

We are extremely grateful for Governor Kemp’s support of Georgia Military College as we continue to make a difference in the lives of our students, and in our communities.

Patriot Day 2020

Moira Smith was miles away from Ground Zero when the planes hit the World Trade Center, but she went there, and was killed when the South Tower collapsed.  Moira Smith was a police officer, so unlike most people, she went toward the huge plume of smoke and into the burning tower that September day. Officer Moira Smith was one of the 412 who were responding to their fellow citizens’ call for help and in doing so became 9/11 victims.

The first year or so, the news was filled with stories like Moira’s as well as stories of courage and heroism from people who weren’t first responders. From the passengers of Flight 93 who crashed the plane and likely saved the U.S. Capitol or The White House to people inside the towers who just held a stranger’s hand while they went through their last minutes together.

We all promised we would never forget, but with 9/11 now 19 years in our rearview mirror, that promise is getting harder to keep.

Most students at Georgia Military College and across the U.S. who are entering college this year have no memory of September 11, 2001. They weren’t born yet.      

They don’t remember thinking it was just a terrible accident for the 17 minutes between the North Tower being hit and the South Tower being hit.

They don’t remember the towers collapsing.

They don’t remember people desperately searching for their missing loved ones.

They don’t remember seeing reporters on 24-hour news networks burst into tears.

They don’t remember how the whole country put aside our differences and came together as one that day.

They don’t remember the American flag that was raised over the rubble or the flags that went up at homes and businesses across the nation.

We’re reaching the hard part of our pledge to “never forget,” and that’s to instill the meaning of that day in the next generation. Those of us who were here have told the story of where we were and how we experienced that day a thousand times. Most of us couldn’t forget if we tried. But those who weren’t here and have no memory will forget if we let them. It’s up to all of us to use this anniversary that we call Patriots Day to instill in our young people the importance of remembering a day that was unlike any other—a day where the worst of humanity brought out the best of humanity.

A Special Thanks to Teachers

Choose any successful person, and I guarantee you they can name a list of teachers who made it all possible. 

Every great teacher invests considerable time and effort transforming the classroom into the best learning environment for students. Oftentimes with their own personal resources, teachers devise and create a visual environment to engage learning without being distracting. Teachers have an innate ability to know when to push students and when to tread gently. Teachers possess a sixth sense identifying changes in a student’s personality which may point to problems outside the classroom. Every day, teachers commit hours of preparation and summon extraordinary energy to capture and sustain student interest and attention. 

Without in-class experience, students lose much of what makes an outstanding education powerful and lasting. Students lose the availability of face-to-face learning to capture the imagination and to inspire. Lives are changed in classrooms every day, and when schools close their doors to young people, we all lose something — as a community, as an institution and as a nation. Students truly need their teachers. 

Venturing back out into the world in this time of Coronavirus is frightening. Teachers are being asked to be front-line workers, and to those who have accepted the challenge and chosen to reenter the classroom this week, we all offer our sincerest thanks. Your commitment to students and their education as well as your courage to step into the world are inspiring. 

I want you to know Georgia Military College will have your back every step of the way.  

In addition to the precautionary policies and technology we’ve already implemented, we will continue to maintain constant vigilance. As information and knowledge of this virus evolves, our policies and procedures will evolve accordingly. 

Our job each day is to provide our students with the best possible education we can, in the safest possible environment. We are confident we can strike that balance. Every minute of every day, we will strive to maximize your safety as well as each student’s safety, without minimizing your effectiveness as an educator.

We are all looking forward to a safe and fantastic school year. 

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.