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South Georgia State College was the recipient of a 2020 Community Partner of the Year award during the Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce’s 94th Annual Event and Awards Program virtually on Thursday evening, February 4, 2021. The event celebrated the community by recognizing deserving individuals and businesses who consistently give of their time and talent, For the Love of Coffee.
SGSC president Dr. Ingrid Thompson-Sellers accepted the award on behalf of the College and expressed her gratitude for being a member and partner of the Douglas-Coffee County Chamber. “We are especially thankful during this challenging year for our partnership,” she says. “The Chamber’s staff and board members continue to serve the community in a way that encourages us to come together, work harder and be better prepared to face the future. At South Georgia State College, we recognize the challenges that could blur our vision and distract us from the core mission of educating students and preparing the next generation. Despite these challenges, we remain steadfast in our commitment to this vision through the resilience and determination of our faculty, staff and community partners.”
The Community Partner of the Year award celebrates the contributions of a community agency or organization who has an on-going commitment and partnership with the business community to address the needs of the Douglas-Coffee County area. South Georgia State College is one of the recipients of this year’s award which includes educational institutions for their unwavering commitment to meet the critical needs of Coffee County. The pandemic’s impact has been extensive and the adjustments made are certainly unprecedented.
Over the past year, SGSC strategically planned and implemented a response to the challenges presented by COVID-19. Each decision was carefully considered with students, faculty and staff in mind to create the safest and most effective learning environment possible while following University System of Georgia guidance, the guidelines of the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the support of community stakeholders. At the onset of the pandemic, classes were transitioned from in-person and hybrid to fully online for the spring and summer semesters. Graduation even looked different as it became a virtual experience so students and their families were able to celebrate this milestone achievement.
SGSC created a #StayHealthySGSC social media campaign and web presence for students, faculty, staff and the community to stay up-to-date with information, reminders and safety protocols. Student activities were moved online for students to continue to be engaged with their campus community.
With a plan in place, SGSC reopened fall semester with in-person instruction, along with hybrid and online options. Athletic events resumed this spring semester and campus activities are once again taking place with safety precautions still in place. SGSC continues to make necessary adjustments to accommodate the entire Hawk family while promoting safety, health and learning.
While the past year certainly has not been business as usual, SGSC has remained focused on its core mission. In keeping with this mindset, SGSC announced the approval from the University System of Georgia Board of Regents to offer a new Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology (BSMET), pending final approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The highly anticipated degree was approved September 15, 2020 at the Board of Regents meeting in Atlanta. The program is scheduled to launch fall 2021. Highlights such as the approval of the BSMET program gives SGSC a renewed resolute in moving forward to meet the needs of our students and the community.
Dr. Thompson-Sellers adds, "It takes a resilient team of hardworking, committed and selfless individuals to accomplish what was done at our educational institutions and in our community this past year. I recognize and thank Chancellor Steve Wrigley of the University System of Georgia who provided steadfast leadership and support to not only South Georgia State College, but every institution in the system during these difficult times. It takes a village to do the work and get the results necessary to move our community forward. I commend our fellow educational institutions in Coffee County and congratulate them as well. With the unwavering support from the Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce and community partners, we are able to not only make it through this time but succeed as well."