Dr. John Schwenn: We’re Coming Back

Thursday, October 31, 2013 - by Dr. John Schwenn
Dr. John Schwenn
Dr. John Schwenn

There is a buzz in the air. It seems everywhere I go people are saying, “We’re coming back!”

In some cases they’re referring to Roadrunner basketball. With our first home game in 35 years scheduled Thursday, November 7, the Roadrunners are indeed coming back. If season ticket sales are any indication, then I think it is fair to say that this community is eager for the return of intercollegiate athletics at Dalton State.

I joined hundreds of other Roadrunner fans who gathered for the Blue and Silver scrimmage last weekend at Dalton High. We have some mighty fine players, and I think our Roadrunners will give us much to cheer for and cheer about when the season starts. The response to our basketball Roadrunners–and also to our volleyball, cross country, golf, tennis, and cheer Roadrunners—has been warm and wonderful.

When I hear “We’re coming back” on campus, it is usually in response to improving conditions at Dalton State. After a couple of rocky years of enrollment declines, budget cuts, and changing admission standards, things have finally stabilized. Enrollment has levelled off, and we have a strong student population. Our student housing is full, and we have a waiting list. We have added new academic programs, bringing the number of degree offerings to 17 bachelor’s degrees and 21 associate degrees.

Construction crews are on campus, building our new science building and renovating Bandy Gym. Soon, work will begin to convert our old technical education building into a new home for our School of Health Professions.

Intercollegiate athletics has added a new level of excitement and enthusiasm around campus. Roadrunner logos are visible at nearly every turn. For the first time in years, we have billboards and newspaper ads in the Northwest Georgia region encouraging prospective students to “experience transformation” at Dalton State.

Even more encouraging is when I hear people saying “We’re coming back” in regards to the local economy. The Great Recession took a toll on our region which suffered the highest unemployment in the state. When the housing industry took a dive, the floorcovering industry did as well. Our community suffered; the College suffered. It’s been a long five years. The lowpoint may have come last year when The Wall Street Journal painted a picture of Dalton that more closely resembled a ghost town than a thriving center for manufacturing and entrepreneurship that was retooling to meet new challenges.

But now jobs are coming back to Dalton. New plants are being constructed. There is more demand for flooring as housing starts pick up. Interior designers, cabinet makers, and other craftspeople report they’re busier than they’ve been in years. These are all positive signs.

The signs are all around us: on our basketball court, on our campus, throughout our community. We’re coming back.

---

Dr. John O. Schwenn is the president of Dalton State College.


Nine Georgia Northwestern Students To Compete In National Phi Beta Lambda Competition

Nine Georgia Northwestern Technical College students will be competing on the national stage in June after a huge showing at the statewide Phi Beta Lambda competition in Atlanta, Georgia’s Westin Atlanta North last week.   Phi Beta Lambda is a professional skills organization in which college students can join to learn more about their areas of professional interest ... (click for more)

Summer Registration Currently Underway At CSCC

Summer registration is currently being held at Cleveland State Community College through Thursday, May 29 for all students. “In order to streamline the process and eliminate one less barrier for students to access higher education, the Tennessee Board of Regents has waived the application fee, so students can apply now for summer registration and not have to pay an application ... (click for more)

City Applies For $27 Million Federal Grant On $52 Million Wilcox Tunnel Project

The city is applying for a $27 million federal TIGER 6 grant for a $52 million complete reworking of the narrow Wilcox Tunnel through Missionary Ridge. The project would leave the current tunnel in place for westbound traffic with a single lane and build a new two-lane tunnel for eastbound traffic. There would be an emergency egress cross passage between the two. Final ... (click for more)

NAACP Recommends Staying Away From Planned Protest By Neo-Nazi Group

The president of the Chattanooga Chapter of the NAACP, urged local residents to stay away from a planned rally here by the Nationalist Socialist Movement in August. James R. Mapp said the group seeks to provoke incidents and said counter-protests could lead to problems. Mr. Mapp said, "On April 8th, 2014, reports surfaced throughout the Chattanooga-Hamilton County region that ... (click for more)

State Moving Forward In Educational Improvements

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education released the following statement from President and CEO Jamie Woodson regarding the 2014 legislative session in Tennessee and HB1549/SB1835, which passed the General Assembly Thursday: After a year of extensive public and legislative conversation regarding higher academic standards and related strategies to improve student learning, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Some Really Funny Tweets

I am not on Twitter so I don’t tweet. Difficulties with my right hand don’t even allow me to text and when you blend in the fact I am now a bonafide senior citizen, it is ample reason for me to live a life where I am lacking in what otherwise might be achieved through social networking. Twitter has done real well without me. It is one of the 10 most visited websites in the world; ... (click for more)