Imagine showing up on your first day of work at a new job and being greeted by a welcome party of 250 people.

That’s what happened to Georgia Gwinnett College’s new president, Jann Joseph.

Joseph recently served as interim chancellor at Indiana University South Bend. Joseph is Georgia Gwinnett College’s third president since the school was founded in 2005. She takes over for the previous president Stanley C. “Stas” Preczewski, who retired in January.

Since Preczewski’s retirement, Mary Beth Walker — associate provost for strategic initiatives and Innovation at Georgia State University — served as the school’s interim president.

“What an exciting way to kick off my first day at GGC,” Joseph said in a press release. “It is invigorating to meet so many people who share my enthusiasm for the next phase of GGC’s growth and development. I look forward to getting to know everyone better, and working together to continue the college’s impressive momentum.”

Joseph was born in Trinidad, West Indies, and is the youngest of five siblings. Her parents never completed elementary school and Joseph said she was inspired by their sacrifices to serve in higher education.

On Monday, she arrived at the administrative building to the reception of students, faculty and alumni. A statement from the college said there will be another opportunity for people to introduce themselves to Joseph at an ice cream social.

Staff members have worked together with Joseph to form a schedule to introduce herself to the college and community, and she’s already started to acquaint herself with the college’s staff.

“Dr. Joseph has certainly hit the ground running, which fits right in with GGC’s culture,” said Judy Awong-Taylor, professor of biology and chair of the college’s presidential search committee. “I think she will align very well with our mission and vision, and our commitment to student success.”

Joseph graduated from the University of West Indies at St. Augustine with a Bachelor of Science in agriculture in 1984 and a Master of Philosophy in plant science in 1989. She has 30 years of experience in higher education. She previously taught with the Ministry of Education for the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, where she also served as Agricultural Science department chair for two years. Joseph earned her doctorate degree in science education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She’s held teaching, research and administrative positions at Grand Valley State University, the College of Education at Eastern Michigan University and Indiana University.

Joseph has three children and four grandchildren and now lives in Lawrenceville.

Taylor Denman is a reporter born and raised in Gwinnett County. He came back home to seize the rare opportunity of telling stories about the county in which he grew up.