OUR VIEW: Stakes high as GGC searches for new leader

Gwinnett's Chamber of Commerce has found its man. Now the county's local college must do the same.

On Thursday, the Chamber announced Georgia Gwinnett College's Daniel J. Kaufman as its new president. Now it's GGC's turn to find a new leader, a replacement for the man who brought the first brand-new public university in Georgia in more than 100 years from concept to reality.

It won't be easy replacing Kaufman, whom University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby lauded for helping "create a new model for higher education in the 21st century." Known for his "infectious enthusiasm," Kaufman's vision and leadership has helped GGC grow from 118 students at its beginning to its current enrollment of more than 9,000. A lot of literal building has occurred during that time as well, with the college gradually turning into an honest-to-goodness campus.

During his seven-year tenure, Kaufman has helped build a solid foundation. But GGC is far from a finished product, and the next president will both benefit from Kaufman's groundbreaking and face very different challenges that come with growth and maturity. This is a pivotal time in the college's young history, and GGC needs a leader that can both embrace the school's (and Kaufman's) legacy while moving it forward.

The announcement of Kaufman's hiring at the Chamber was met with enthusiasm, with Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash calling him "a dynamic leader." Georgia Gwinnett College is looking for those same traits from a person who has large shoes to fill and a very different path to navigate.

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