OUR VIEW: GGC making local impact

Students begin moving back into the dorms at Georgia Gwinnett College this week in anticipation of the start of classes on Aug. 19. Like the construction they’ll drive past on Highway 316, the college is changing, evolving into something similar but different than it was previously.

One change is that, for the first time in the school’s history, Dan Kaufman is no longer president, having moved on to lead the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. In his place is Interim President Stas Preczewski, who will oversee an institution that is no longer flegdling.

Our little college may not be quite all grown up yet, but it’s getting close. Seven years in, GGC is starting to feel its way. From the building of the Allied Health and Science Building to the implementation of sports teams and their respective athletic complexes, the college is growing, flexing its young muscles in the process.

Nowhere is that more evident than a recent report saying that GGC was worth nearly $300 million to the local economy during the previous year. That number, and what it represents, shows that GGC is not only growing into itself, but into the community as well.

“All colleges act as economic engines,” Preczewski said. “This impact can be seen the most at the local level, but because of the way dollars are spent and respent, that impact is multiplied and spread throughout our Gwinnett region. This is one of the many ways in which GGC has become woven into the fabric of our community ­— not to mention the future value provided by our 1,200 newly minted, talented and productive graduates.”

As the number of graduates continues to grow, so will the impact of GGC. But with that growth comes more issues and scrutiny, making the college’s maturation like that of any youngster. But also like any youngster, there is tons of potential.

So as they prepare for another semester, we welcome back the students of GGC. And leave them with one last roadway analogy: Like the construction work on 316, your career at GGC will go through some stops and starts; but once completed it will get you where you want to go.