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Large crowd attends reception for SGTC new president John Watford

AMERICUS — New South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) President John Watford, Ed.D., thanked the over 400 individuals who attended the Presidential reception held in his honor recently at the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center on the Americus campus.
“Thank you for coming out tonight and thank you for your support of South Georgia Technical College,” said President Watford.  “South Georgia Technical College is a very special place. We are in the business of changing lives.
“I am very appreciative to Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Commissioner Gretchen Corbin for trusting me with this very sobering task. It is my profound honor to be entrusted with the responsibility of serving as president of South Georgia Technical College and when I officially begin on April 1, which is about four hours away, I am ready to go to work!”
President Watford also took time to introduce his wife Barbara, and their three grown children, Mark, Joshua, and Lacey Watford as well as his mother, Dorris Watford, and his sister, Lettie Watford, Ph.D. “These are the people who have shaped me, who support me, and to whom I am responsible,” explained Watford. “Thank you for indulging me and allowing me to brag about them for a few minutes.”
And while they are not family by blood, Watford also said that he would be remiss if he didn’t recognize his mentor, former leader, and dear friend, President Emeritus Sparky Reeves and his wife Allene.
“Sparky, there will always be a special place for you and Allene here and I could never express how much I appreciate you and what you mean to me. Thank you so much,” said  Watford.
After those brief introductions, Watford talked about his vision for the future.
“People are important. People are everything. That is why we are here. The mission of South Georgia Technical College is centered on workforce education.
“If you view South Georgia Tech as a business, our customer is not the student as one might think. Our customer is the employer of our graduate. The trained graduate is the product we produce. That ‘product’ however, is a human being. A person with a family, emotions, challenges from every end of the spectrum. South Georgia Tech is so special because of the people that train and nurture that student into the skilled employee who will become an integral and invaluable part of the business or industry where they go to work.
“South Georgia Technical College has the most beautiful campuses of any technical college in the south. We have wonderful facilities and state of the art equipment for training. The management of these resources is a very serious responsibility that I don’t take lightly. But all of the material and bricks and mortar are just a means to an end.  South Georgia Tech is about people.
“It’s about the people in this room: The employees, the board of directors, the foundation, members of the community that support the school, but most importantly it’s about the students,” said Watford. “South Georgia Tech is a very special place and it is special because of you.  Thank you so much for coming out and for your support!”
Acting President Janice Davis served as the moderator for the presidential reception for Watford and she introduced SGTC Board Chairman Willie Patrick and SGTC Foundation incoming Chairman Ben Dupree as well as shared comments from former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, and TCSG Commissioner Gretchen Corbin.
The Carters sent congratulations to Watford on his appointment as president of South Georgia Technical College.
“You have done an excellent job in your other roles at the college and we are excited that you will have the opportunity to positively impact the education of thousands of students in your new position. We join your family, friends, and colleagues in celebrating this important milestone for your and our community. With warm best wishes for your success in the years ahead” – Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.”
TCSG Commissioner Gretchen Corbin also congratulated Watford.
“Dr. John Watford’s long record of leadership at South Georgia Technical College has helped the college achieve the high level of recognition and engagement it now enjoys throughout the region and I know he will guide the college to even greater achievements. I know Dr. Watford will continue to maintain the college’s upward trajectory in exceeding the needs of both students and industry in its communities.”
SGTC Board Chairman Willie Patrick said he was humbled that Commissioner Corbin reached out to him and asked his input about this important decision of who would be the next leader of South Georgia Tech.
“I told her what I am telling you now. Dr. Watford knows South Georgia Technical College and the communities we serve. And we know and trust him and that is very important,” he said.
SGTC Foundation vice chairman Ben Dupree thanked everyone in the room for their support of the foundation and the college.
“We are one of the best technical colleges in the state and in the nation. We can say that because of you and your support of this college and the foundation. Our state technical college leaders recognized how valuable this college is to our community and they selected one of their own to lead us into the future. I am honored to be able to join you in congratulating Dr. John Watford on becoming the newest President of South Georgia Technical College,” said Dupree.
After Acting President Davis turned over the reins of the college to new President Watford, he took a few minutes to thank her for her service.
“I would like to thank Janice Davis for all that she has done, not just for me, but for South Georgia Tech. Janice and I taught across the hall from one another upstairs in the Odom Center many years ago. Since that time, Janice has very successfully managed the finances of this college. She has also served as interim president twice, and of course, most recently, after President Reeves’ retirement. Please join me in thanking her for her selfless service.”
Watford concluded the night with the statement that “people are important at South Georgia Technical College” and thanked everyone for their show of support to the college and to him and his family.

John Watford and his wife Barbara are shown with his mother, Dorris Watford, second from right, and his sister Lettie Watford, Ph.D.

John Watford and his wife Barbara are shown with his mother, Dorris Watford, second from right, and his sister Lettie Watford, Ph.D.

Shown are President Emeritus Sparky and Allene Reeves, at left,  with new President John and Barbara Watford.

Shown are President Emeritus Sparky and Allene Reeves, at left, with new President John and Barbara Watford.