GGC president talks college growth

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Georgia Gwinnett College's leader told faculty, staff and students Thursday that if they think the growth realized in the past several years is impressive, hold on tight.

President Daniel Kaufman spoke to a crowd of more than 150 at the institution during the biannual state of the college address. Among the topics: a continued look at the vision and mission, a glimpse at the Fiscal Year 2013 budget and projected enrollment over the next several years.

Kaufman said the enrollment projections were worth noting. With a headcount of 8,055 students as of Feb. 13, the college has forecasted between 13,000 and 16,000 students by Fall 2015--roughly double the current number.

The ability to realize those numbers, Kaufman said, depends on "whether we get the facilities we need and the resources we need."

Added Kaufman: "Those of you who think we're going to slow down, wrong answer. You ain't seen nothing yet."

In the nearer future, the college is set to reach 9,500 students in attendance by 2013, the maximum capacity for the college with current facilities and resources.

In addition, the college will hire 45 new faculty members next year. Last year the college hired 109.

Kaufman also discussed budget numbers. The Fiscal Year 2013 budget is tentatively projected at $68 million, about a $5.5 million increase from the FY 2012 budget.

He talked briefly about construction projects, some of which fell under the FY 13 numbers.

Construction on the Allied Health and Science Building is tentatively scheduled for 2013.

Projects in 2012 include the construction of athletics fields as well as plans for road extensions and overpasses near campus.

Kaufman ended his speech by congratulating faculty and staff on a job well done in 2011.

"What you continue to do everyday is amazing," Kaufman said. "To continue to create and grow this institution is nothing short of extraordinary."

Jim Fatzinger, associate vice president of student affairs, has been at Georgia Gwinnett College almost as long as the institution has been open. Fatzinger attended Thursday's state of the college address.

He said the "dramatic changes in the college and campus over the years is incredible."

Fatzinger has been employed there since 2007.

Georgia Gwinnett College opened its doors in 2006 with 118 students. It has since experienced what Fatzinger called "awe-inspiring growth."