Category Archives: President’s Blog

MAKING AND CELEBRATING HISTORY AT GMC

The last days of summer in August make up the first days of school for our Georgia Military College cadets and students on GMC campuses across the state. No doubt, the 2019-2020 academic year will be one filled with history here at GMC – both making it and celebrating it.

On August 1, we welcomed a record number of more than forty GMC Junior College Corps of Cadets Academy Scholars – which included U.S. Air Force and U.S. Naval scholars for the first time ever in GMC history.

The following day, the brand-new GMC Prep School Annex made history by opening its doors for the very first time. The state-of-the-art facility houses elementary school students, including the first group of third-graders in more than 50 years at GMC.

Junior College students at the GMC-Fayetteville campus were also welcomed with a new facility on the first day of classes this month. On August 20, GMC-Fayetteville held a grand opening for its 11,000-square-foot addition, marking a momentous milestone in its five-year history.

Without a doubt, this year is a truly special one in terms of history for us here at GMC. On October 14 we will celebrate our 140th birthday. It was on that date back in 1879 when the Georgia General Assembly approved the bill to establish Middle Georgia Military and Agricultural College, later named Georgia Military College.

Other GMC campuses are also celebrating anniversary milestones in 2019 and 2020. In March, GMC-Warner Robins celebrated 30 years. GMC-Sandersville has a 30th anniversary this year, as well. On August 6, GMC-Valdosta turned 40. And on August 29, the GMC-Augusta campus celebrates its 50th anniversary. We have plenty of reasons to celebrate history here at GMC.

When you stop to think about it, we’re helping to make history, too. GMC cadets and students walking through our doors on the first day of classes this month are taking the first steps and the next steps toward building their bright futures. They are each writing an important chapter in their lives to fill their own history books. Every member of the GMC Family is extremely honored to be a part of helping to creating that history.

So, welcome to all of our history makers here at GMC! I am excited to see where history takes each of our cadets and students. Step by step and day by day, let’s start building the next 140 years together!

PRINCIPLES OF DUTY AND HONOR KEY TO THE FOUNDING OF OUR COUNTRY

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On this day in 1776 our great country was born. It was on the fourth day of the seventh month when the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and unanimously agreed to adopt the Declaration of Independence to officially proclaim freedom from British rule.

What is interesting to note is the fact that the Army was founded almost a full year before the United States. The then-Continental Army was established during the Revolutionary War, with George Washington appointed as commander in chief on July 3, 1775.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Duty and Honor have been a fundamental – and vital – part of the very fiber of our being since before the thirteen colonies united to become a Country. It, no doubt, played an important part in the founding of our country 243 years ago.

Throughout Georgia Military College’s 140-year history, Duty, Honor, and Country have served as the three strong pillars that make up our core values. Service to our country, our community, and our classrooms is at the very heart of what every member of the GMC Family believes in and strives for – each and every day.

During Independence Day celebrations, let’s enjoy the usual holiday fanfare of food, fireworks, and fun with friends and family. But may we also take time to remember and honor the generations of men and women who have served our great country for centuries as members of the United States Armed Forces – with many paying the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our freedom.

GRADUATION IS A BITTERSWEET TIME OF NEW BEGINNINGS

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The month of May is always an exciting time across every campus of Georgia Military College. It’s when we recognize, honor, and congratulate graduates from the Prep School, Junior College, and Corps of Cadets. How lucky are we to have a hand in the future of so many across the state – and in so many ways?

The GMC Family is sincerely grateful to be able to provide a character-based head start for so many new beginnings for such a variety of students and cadets, and stages in life. Our graduates include high school seniors, junior college sophomores, and Corps cadet scholars.

Graduation can be a bittersweet time for graduates. Soon they will leave behind family, friends, and all that is familiar to venture out into a new world of opportunities and possibilities. Alas, every ending is a new beginning.

My wife, Stephanie, and I are among the many proud parents of GMC graduates this year. Our daughter, Anna, is a member of the Prep School Class of 2019. She will soon leave home – and all that is familiar – to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Other GMC Prep School and Corps of Cadets graduates will also go on to attend a U.S. military service academy. While still others will choose to start classes at a four-year university, enter the military, or begin a rewarding career.

No matter which next step in life our graduates decide to take, we are immensely proud of each and every one. What’s more, everyone in the GMC Family should take great pride in having a hand in helping to prepare them to go forth fearlessly to face new beginnings and build bright futures.

Congratulations to all of our GMC graduates! Your hard work, determination, and dedication have paid off. On behalf of everyone at GMC, I wish each of you nothing but continued success and all the best in your years ahead.

You did it! Hoo-ah!

CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY WITH A GIFT OF GRATITUDE

For more than a century, March 8 has been the day when people around the world celebrate International Women’s Day, a time to recognize the achievements and contributions made by women on both a personal and professional level. When Georgia Military College first opened its doors in 1879, women were among the inaugural group of students to attend classes. Nearly one hundred and forty years later, women continue to advance their educations here at GMC, making up 62 percent of our Junior College student population.

We observe International Women’s Day by showing support and fully acknowledging all of the women at GMC – administrators, faculty, staff, cadets, and students – past and present, who have helped make our Prep School, Junior College, and Corps of Cadets what it is today. We applaud their countless contributions and numerous successes here at GMC today – and every day.

One way we can all celebrate International Women’s Day is to show our personal gratitude to the women who have made the greatest differences and had the most impact in our own lives – at home, at school, and at work. The very roots of character development, moral principles, ethics, and values often begin by having women in our lives who serve as ideal role models. It can be a mother, stepmother, aunt, sister, cousin, friend, supervisor, co-worker, or teacher.

Today, I encourage everyone in our GMC Family to find a way to celebrate International Women’s Day in your own unique way. Show your gratitude by acknowledging contributions and saying thank you. Give back with gratitude.

CELEBRATE PRESIDENTS’ DAY WITH THE TIMELESS WISDOM OF GEORGE WASHINGTON

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The third Monday in February – Presidents’ Day, also observed as Washington’s Birthday – has become a day to honor and celebrate not only the first president, but all of the presidents of our great nation, past and present. Holidays have a way of inspiring long-lasting traditions. In 1896, the U.S. Senate began observing George Washington’s birthday by reading the first president’s farewell address.

The document was written in September 1796, but was never delivered by Washington. Instead it was sent to newspapers across the country to be read by citizens of the then-fledgling nation. Among the nuggets of wisdom expressed in his famed farewell address, Washington states: “I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy.”

In February 1862, the sixteenth U.S. president, President Abraham Lincoln, issued a proclamation encouraging every citizen of the United States to gather in earnest on February 22 to celebrate Washington’s birthday by listening to or reading aloud the words of the first president’s “immortal Farewell Address.” The document was read in the U.S. Senate on February 22, 1862 and again in 1888. The reading of Washington’s farewell address in the Senate became an annual tradition in 1896.

Every year during a legislative session in late February, a member of the Senate is appointed to read the historic document, written as an open letter addressed to the “people of the United States.” The political parties alternate years to share the honor of reading the rather lengthy document. After reading the farewell address out loud, the appointed senator participates in another 100-plus-year-old tradition, using a leather-bound journal to write a note of the occasion and to sign their name.

In one such note written by Senator Paula Hawkins in 1985, she observes that more than a century later, Washington’s “message remains the same – Duty – Honor – Country.” Those three powerful words used to describe the first U.S. president’s overall message in his farewell speech – Duty. Honor. Country. – also make up Georgia Military College’s core values.

GMC core values established to uphold and instill in students personal and professional qualities such as responsibility, honesty, integrity – as well as loyalty to country – just as Washington stresses in his farewell address written more than 200 years ago. Core values grounded in character and placed at the center of GMC’s mission and purpose.

Isn’t it remarkable that the character-driven values and ideal qualities Washington thought were vital to build our great nation upon more than two centuries ago are still valued and taught today – including here at GMC? Our country’s first president knew that what’s good for our country is also good for the community, for the character – and for the classroom.

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.’S EFFORTS IN AMERICA ARE NOT FORGOTTEN

On Friday, January 18, 2019, it was a very special day for us at GMC. Our first African American graduate from the Corps of Cadets, Al Jackson, returned to GMC to speak at our annual Martin Luther King Jr. Ceremony!

When Al started his journey at Georgia Military College in 1965, he wasn’t welcomed. He was discouraged for coming to GMC, and he’ll tell you, he doesn’t have many fond memories from his time as a Cadet here. But in the last few years, Al and I have gotten to know each other and I know that the challenges he faced during his time at GMC are experiences that need to be shared.

Most of our current students can’t imagine a world that was segregated, but sadly it wasn’t that long ago. It was important for Al to share his stories about his time here at GMC, to show our students that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. changed America for the better, and because of his efforts, people like Al Jackson had the courage to persevere as the first African American Cadet at Georgia Military College.

We are so grateful to Al for coming back to GMC to share his story. On Friday, some of his old high school classmates and close family and friends surprised him at our Martin Luther King Jr. Ceremony, and before he even took the stage – just as I was introducing him – he got a standing ovation.

Al Jackson is a special man and he is part of GMC’s history, and for that, we are so grateful. We couldn’t have asked for a better day!

Click here to watch GMC’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ceremony

TAKE THE LEAD ON LAW ENFORCEMENT APPRECIATION DAY

When Alex Maddox watched the final bodycam footage of her husband, Locust Grove Police Officer Chase Maddox, rushing into a situation that would prove fatal, she told a WSB-TV reporter, “To watch that be displayed, and to know that without him more people would be dead … it made me proud. It made me very proud to be his wife. It made me very proud to even know Chase Maddox.”

Four days after Officer Maddox was killed in the line of duty, Alex gave birth to their second child.

Every day, law enforcement officials like Officer Maddox stand on the front line against crime to keep the rest of us safe. They provide us with the peace of mind that comes from knowing our children, our spouses, our loved ones can move safely through our own neighborhoods. They risk their own lives to protect ours. They risk everything to stand tall as part of that “thin blue line” which stands between order and chaos, safety and tragedy.

And Officer Maddox was not the only one to pay the ultimate price last year. Five other Georgia law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2018: Officer Anthony Christie, Chief Frank McClelland, Officer Antwan Toney, Officer Edgar Flores. Officer Michael Smith was killed just over a week ago. A few days after Christmas.

It’s easy to take for granted the miracle that you can pick up a phone any time of the day or night and one of America’s bravest will be ready to serve and protect you at any cost. When others rush away from danger, they’re the ones who rush toward it. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to these exceptional men and women.

Unfortunately, we fail them far too often. When anti-police sentiment is perpetuated by the media and glorified by pop culture, it makes the men and women who protect and serve our neighborhoods less safe. It would be a tremendous failure of our national character if these men and women who put their lives at risk for strangers every single day couldn’t count on us to protect them. That’s why it’s important on this Law Enforcement Appreciation Day that we come together to fight back against anti-police sentiment by putting our support for our men and women in blue on full display. An act as simple as changing the profile picture on your social media page can go a long way toward spreading our thanks wide enough that it reaches every law enforcement official in the United States. Today, let’s sound a national cheer that to tell them, “we see the work you’re doing, we know what you’re risking, and we couldn’t be more thankful.”

(As seen in the Union Recorder 01/09/19)

INDEPENDENCE DAY!

During America’s war for Independence, John Adams sent a message to all future generations of Americans. It read, “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.”

On this 4th of July, let us remember all of the pains that have been to taken by so many to preserve those rights that, 242 years ago, the Declaration of Independence asserted were the God-given rights of all people: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Every generation of Americans has lost heroes on foreign soil or here at home to safeguard these cherished rights. They are the rights that were invoked by Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia in 1776, by Abraham Lincoln on the battlefield in Gettysburg in 1863, and by Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington D.C. in 1963. They are the greatest of American ideals- the ideals we celebrate today and every July 4th, and the ideals we must never stop striving to preserve!

Happy Independence Day!
President Caldwell

“A PART OF AMERICA DIED”

In the 1980’s a police officer working his beat in a small town was killed in the line of duty. Members of his department found, tacked to his bulletin board, an anonymous poem.  They were so moved by the poem, they submitted it to the local paper to be included in the story of the officer’s death.  The poem began, “Somebody killed a policeman today, and a part of America died.”

As we celebrate National Police Week (May 13-19) and National Peace Officers Memorial Day on May 15, we celebrate those individuals who join together to form society’s shield—selflessly guarding order against the ever-creeping chaos which threatens it and our safety against the agents of danger.  These men and women of law enforcement are modern day Knights committed to service and driven by their outstanding courage.

Courage— the type possessed by our men and women in blue— is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity.  Without it, who would volunteer to stare danger in the eye and provide us that precious peace of mind that comes with knowing that someone is standing between our children, our spouses, our loved ones and the harm that could befall them.

Who would stand between us and harm knowing that the ultimate sacrifice is always lurking in the shadows.  Knowing they are always one irrational act, one evil deed away from losing everything.  We are robbed of so much on the days when that evil wins.  We are robbed of all the good an officer had left to do in the world.  Children are robbed of mothers and fathers.  Men and women are robbed of their spouses.  And every member of the human race is robbed of one of our courageous few.

But their resolve remains iron and their commitment steadfast.  They rush in.  Knowing all that could be lost, they rush in for us.  What a Blessing from God that we have these heroes.

Today and every day, we are tremendously proud of those in our Georgia Military College family who possess that courage and made the ultimate sacrifice to protect and serve.

In 1985, GBI officer and GMC graduate SAC John T. “Sonny” King was killed in the line of duty while serving an arrest warrant.  In honor of his service and sacrifice, there is now a Sonny King Endowed Scholarship.

In 1995, Deputy Sheriff William Robinson, IV was shot and killed by a paroled felon while serving as a member of the Baldwin County Sherriff’s Office.  In honor of his service and sacrifice there is now a Will Robinson Endowed Scholarship.

In 2017, GA DOC Sergeant Christopher Monica, the father of a GMC student, was shot and killed while transporting prisoners in Putnam County.

These three members of the GMC family had much left to give.  Their families, their friends, and those whose lives they touched are forever torn.  These three great men were taken from us, and a part of America died.  But their courage, their service, and their sacrifice live on.

This week and always, we remember our fallen heroes, and the service of all who form the shield to protect and serve.

GOVERNOR DEAL APPROVES NEW FOUR-YEAR BACHELOR OF APPLIED SCIENCE DEGREE PROGRAM AT GEORGIA MILITARY COLLEGE

[Milledgeville, GA] – On April 22, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation authorizing Georgia Military College, a junior college, to offer a four-year degree program at select campuses across the state.

“GMC is committed to supporting Governor Deal’s ‘Complete College Georgia’ initiative, which aims to increase the number of college graduates by 250,000 by the year 2020,” said Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell, IV, GMC president.  “Our new Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree will allow us to contribute even more significantly to Governor Deal’s goal, and position GMC to support technical college graduates seeking to earn four-year degrees.”

In 2012, GMC’s research found two-thirds of technical college students surveyed had an interest in pursuing a four-year degree program at GMC, if the two-year junior college were to offer it.

“These are young men and women who will come to us with an array of associate in applied science (AAS) or associate of applied technology (AAT) degrees, from construction management to computer programing to hotel/restaurant management,” said Mike Holmes, Ph.D., GMC vice president for academic affairs. “Unlike several years ago, many of the leadership positions in those fields now require a four-year bachelor’s degree. Our BAS in supervision and management will offer these students an avenue for advancing their careers across a wide range of technical fields.”

In addition to attracting recent technical school grads, GMC’s BAS program is expected to appeal to working community members who already hold AAS or AAT degrees and want to advance their careers, but cannot uproot their jobs and families to relocate.

“The BAS degree is currently offered at eight other colleges in Georgia, but these schools are not easily accessible to several of the communities we serve,” said Dr. Holmes.  In order for GMC to offer the BAS in those areas, a change in state law was required because the school was legally limited to offering two-year courses of study.

GMC will initially offer the BAS degree at its Milledgeville, Augusta and Columbus campuses, as well as at its recently announced campus in Fayetteville.

“None of the four-year institutions currently offering the BAS degree are in the same geographic areas, so we are most definitely filling a void,” Dr. Holmes said. “And GMC will continue to work with the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents to avoid duplication of programs in close proximity to one another.”

Lt. General Caldwell says it is important to note that GMC’s new degree program in no way signals its intent to become a full-fledged four-year institution as the concept applies to sports, ROTC or other extra curricular programs. “We are one of only five Junior Military Colleges in the United States—also serving a large civilian student population—and we intend to maintain that status,” Caldwell said.

GMC’s next step is to seek approval from the Southern Associate of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accrediting agency. In the meantime, school officials will work with local technical schools to design the BAS degree program curriculum.  Pending SACSCOC approval, GMC is targeting August 2015 to begin offering its new BAS degree program. 

Pictured left to right:  Senator Burt Jones (District 25), Representative Joe Wilkinson (District 52), Representative Rusty Kidd (District 145), Mr. Mark Strom (GMC Vice President for Human Resources and Business Development), Dr. Mike Holmes (GMC Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculties), Major General Peter Boylan (GMC President Emeritus), Mr. Dudley Rowe (GMC Foundation Chairman), Governor Nathan Deal, Ms. Jeanette Walden (Milledgeville City Council), Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell, IV (GMC President), Representative Bubber Epps (District 144), Mr. Jim Pace (Group IV Senior Partner), Mayor Richard Bentley (City of Milledgeville), Representative Emory Dunahoo (District 30).

About Georgia Military College

Georgia Military College is the state’s second largest, two-year, public college with campuses in Milledgeville, Augusta, Fairburn, Warner Robins, Valdosta and Columbus, extension centers in Madison, Sandersville, and Stone Mountain, and an online campus program. Its enrollment includes more than 8,000 civilian students at these locations, plus 250 junior college cadets and 500 prep school students at their Milledgeville campus.