Posted: Thursday, August 16th 2012 at 5:45pm
University Ctr in Cumming cuts ribbon
By Jerry Gunn Staff
CUMMING - University of Georgia system officials joined Cumming officials Thursday for the ribbon cutting of the new University Center at Georgia 400 building in Cumming.
Cumming Mayor Ford Gravitt joined a list of university luminaries including Chancellor Hank Huckaby and Regent Philip Wilheit of Gainesville for the ceremony. Students are already attending the brand new $7-million facility, which the Mayor called a ‘great college on a shining hill’ where students can begin their college careers in their hometown.
“They can carry their books and their credits to Georgia Tech or the University of Georgia and transfer it over with no problems,” Gravitt said.
University Executive Director Dr. Sherman Day announced during the ceremony that the Mayor is establishing two $1,000 scholarships at the center for local students, one in honor of his wife who died in 1998, and one in honor of his high school alma mater, Forsyth Central High School.
The University Center extends college education to Cumming from both Gainesville College and North Georgia College. Day said over 500 Gainesville State College and North Georgia College students would be attending the extension facility.
“This is a growing community,” Day added. “They’ve solicited higher education opportunities for a long time and it’s serving a population in the state that has been underserved.”
Gainesville students began attending the University Center Monday and North Georgia students begin class next week.
With Board of Regents approval, Gainesville College and North Georgia will consolidate next January to become the University of North Georgia.
Both Mayor Gravitt and Regent Wilheit emphasized the University Center’s economic importance to Cumming and Forsyth County. Gravitt said the education center means additional jobs as well as education opportunity.
Wilheit said the one thing industries are looking for is an educated work force.
“That’s what this facility is going to lend to this community, not just this community but all of Northeast Georgia,” Wilheit said.
Chancellor Huckaby pointed to the cooperation and commitment shared by local supporters and state legislators that led to the building’s construction. Slated as an 18-month project, it was completed in 11 months, with ground breaking held last November.
“I think the history of this project and the way it came to fruition is a testament to your interest and commitment to higher education for this area,” Huckaby said. "It also serves as a model for other communities where we’re discussing a center.”
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