Every once in a while, we should make it a point to stop and think about all the good things that surround us here in Emanuel County. If we sat down together and tried to list them all, we would end up with a document as thick as an old Sears and Roebuck catalog. It would be a bulky directory packed with the stories of the best hopes and dreams and ideas and plans that came along to shape the history and the progress of this place. The list would give us a pretty accurate picture of the soul and character of our area and how folks worked to make it better. In short, this list of the “good things” would show what this county is all about. The people, programs, and organizations that stood up and sacrificed in order for “good things” to flourish would certainly be on that long list. What wouldn’t be on that list unfortunately, would be all the many good ideas that never got a chance or that withered away and died from lack of support or indifference or just from being taken for granted.
Last Thursday evening, my wife and I sat in the auditorium at East Georgia State College with several hundred other folks and listened to the new Chancellor of the University System of Georgia, Sonny Perdue, speak about his work with the Board of Regents and their plans for the University System of Georgia. The former Governor of Georgia and former Secretary of Agriculture was the first guest speaker in this year’s Vision Series. Chancellor Perdue was obviously pleased to be in Emanuel County again, but what pleased him even more was to see the return of the Vision Series to the campus of East Georgia following a two-year suspension due to the pandemic. Most of all, the Chancellor was eager to conduct a direct dialogue with the students in the audience about their own vision for the future and the role of education and specifically East Georgia State College in turning their vision into reality. Listening to Chancellor Perdue, reminded everyone in the room of the potential that has been realized and is still yet to come from the partnership of Emanuel County and East Georgia State College. While the economic impact of 69.3 million dollars to the local economy is extraordinary, it’s only one aspect of the many benefits flowing from the college to the community. East Georgia continues to be the most affordable school of any in the University system in the state, and the additional grants and other scholarship programs available such as the Correll Scholars program combine to make East Georgia a unique institution in providing unparalleled opportunity toward the achievement of an Associate degree. Simply put, East Georgia State College offers the opportunity to earn a college degree to deserving students who may not otherwise ever have that chance.
The new Chancellor was a good voice to hear as the first installment in the revived “Vision Series”. He left us with the message that challenges may lie ahead as this country continues to move forward in the “post pandemic era”, but time waits for no one, and the time for moving ahead is now. Locally, our part in this plan is to remember and support that list of “good things” in Emanuel County. East Georgia State College is definitely high on that list, and today, our support is called for again; just like back in 1971, when people here made the decision to approve a bond issue to underwrite the cost of establishing a college. “Good things” when properly cared for can become great things. It just takes a little vision.
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