April 24, 2009

Valdosta State Welcomes State Legislators

VALDOSTA --On April 16-17, Valdosta State University and Valdosta Technical College welcomed members of the Joint State House Senate Higher Education Committee and Higher Education Sub-Committee to campus. Organized by State Representative Amy Carter (D-Valdosta), the tours and presentations provided lawmakers with an overview of challenges and opportunities facing post secondary institutions.

“Playing host to lawmakers who are focused on improving our education systems in Georgia was a great honor,” Carter said. “Valdosta is blessed with some of the best schools for higher education in the state. It was my privilege and a truly proud moment to show off our diverse community and beautiful campuses to these influential lawmakers who have a direct impact on guidelines and funding of our higher education system in Georgia.”

The two-day visit began at Valdosta Technical College, where legislators toured the new 94,000 square-foot academic facility, which houses administration offices, classrooms, computer labs, and an expanded library. Legislators were then given a demonstration of the air traffic control tower simulator, part of the college’s newest programs, followed by an overview of a waterborne paint system used in the auto collision repair program--one of the most environmentally friendly and highest quality options in today’s market.

Dr. F.D. Toth, interim president of Valdosta Technical College, expressed his appreciation to the legislators for taking time to visit the Valdosta area.

“There are no substitutes for personal visits by legislators on the Higher Education Committee. For some of these members it was even their first visit to Valdosta,” Toth said. “We can send them information and even talk to them personally when we are in Atlanta but a price cannot be placed on seeing all the good things happening on our campuses and hearing from the community leaders on what these institutions mean to Valdosta.”

On day two, legislators were greeted by Dr. Patrick Schloss, president of Valdosta State University, who took a moment to share the university’s mission during the opening breakfast session.

“Valdosta State is a community of scholars and a culture of excellence destined to become a premier residential experience, not just within Georgia but on the national stage,” Schloss said. “We are developing academic programs, internships and opportunities to prepare future leaders for this community.”

Valdosta State’s tour began with Hopper Hall, a suite-style residence hall that opened fall 2008, and then legislators viewed the construction site for the $32.2 million Student Union, scheduled to open January 2009. Additional stops included, the Student Recreation Center, Athletic Field House and Student Health Center, and concluded at the future home of the $47 million Health Sciences and Business Administration building, which is currently on the University System of Georgia’s capital project list.

The visit to Valdosta concluded with a presentation from Valdosta State’s 2009 Student in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team and a panel discussion focusing on the benefit of educational partnerships. Moderated by Rep. Amy Carter, panel members included: Heather Bonner (Lowndes County Schools), William Cason (Valdosta City Schools), Brian Gerber (Valdosta Early College Academy), Brad Lofton (Valdosta-Lowndes Industrial Authority), James McGahee (South Georgia Medical Center), Tom Newbern (SIFE Board Member), David Palmer (Waycross College), Patrick Schloss (VSU), and F.D. Toth (Valdosta Technical College).

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