Reception for new president of Georgia Southwestern

Published 8:57 pm Wednesday, July 10, 2024

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The reception for the new president of Georgia Southwestern, Dr. Michelle Johnston, was held in the Wheatley Administration building on GSW’s campus. Johnston served as the president for the College of Coastal Georgia. Tall, arched windows in the brick wall let in ample natural light, illuminating the wood flooring. A thin central table held a spray of flowers and fingers foods for guests, and several tall circular tables across the floor accommodated conversations among the growing crowd.

Dr. Jill Drake, provost and vice president of academic affairs, introduced the president, stating that her achievement as the new president was a celebration of what women could accomplish. Afterward, Johnston gave a brief address, thanking faculty and staff for attending. “Gene and I are incredibly grateful for the time we’ve had here already, for being brought into this community the way we have and arms wrapped around us, and we have been incredibly supported and we appreciate that.”

She praised the faculty and staff; “I’ve learned quickly that there are amazing, talented, and really, really good people here, and I mean here on this campus, among our faculty, our staff, our students, I have met some incredible students, but in our community, and among our alums, those who have worked here, and are now retired, and still come back and love this institution, and care for it in many ways. I’ve also learned that excellence is clearly important here.”

She talked about her focus; “throughout my career, the commitment to people, relationships, deep care, and a people first and a mission always commitment has been something that I just hold dear and I’ve found here in this community already in the first month, that there are so many like-minded people with that spirit of a people first mission always mindset.”

Johnston held up a diploma cover, saying; “I’ve shared this with them and their families every time and I want to share it with you today, because this is what we all know as the diploma cover. The diploma, the degree from Georgia Southwestern State University goes in this folder and it is incredibly special and it is incredibly powerful, and so it is this that all of us in this room, and everyone on this campus and indeed everyone who loves GSW, is helping to work for this, every single day, this is what we are working for. And so I thank you for your commitment to that, your support of this administration, the leadership on this campus, which is impressive.”

She asked for continued support; “and I would ask you to keep helping me learn. Because we have a very important charge, all of us together. And that is to take care of this institution with the many, many years of serving students, making a difference, making an impact, and we have a huge responsibility to make sure that we continue that and not just continue it like we have. We’ve done a really good job. You’ve done a really good job.”