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Our Thoughts: Welcome, GSU
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Newton County has long been home to colleges such as Oxford College of Emory University and Georgia Piedmont Technical College, but now it can boast an asset we feel is as valuable as some of the big industries that often makes the front page of this publication — Georgia State University.

Wednesday marked the official unveiling of Georgia State University’s Perimeter College – Newton Campus, bringing many of the benefits of one of Georgia’s top universities to our home town.

Students enrolling at what used to be Georgia Perimeter College will now have a direct path to Georgia State’s main campus in Atlanta and all the degrees available there. Previously, a student graduating from Georgia Perimeter College with an Associate’s degree would have to have their transcripts transferred to a four-year university and wait to see if all their credits would arrive with them. Now, students going from any of Georgia State’s Perimeter College campuses to its Atlanta campus will just have to wait for the ride into Atlanta and not fear their transcripts will get stuck in traffic.

That alone is a big benefit. But students will also have access to Georgia State’s research opportunities and areas of study.

We feel those opportunities could lead more students back home to Newton County.

The ever-growing commercial, industrial, and manufacturing landscape of Newton County requires more trained workers in more fields than we’ve ever seen. A top university providing the proper education to fill those jobs can serve as a major benefit for those students who love their home town and its opportunities.

It was a momentous occasion across the Atlanta metropolitan area and in Newton County. Georgia State’s own president, Mark Becker, and many other dignitaries from the university were on hand for a ceremony to celebrate the school’s new sign at each of the perimeter campuses, including our own, located at 239 Cedar Lane off Hwy. 11. A few key community leaders were also there.

We were there at the original dedication of the campus in 2007. Local officials from the Newton County Board of Commissioners and Board of Education and a multitude of local dignitaries were in attendance. We don’t know why but the crowd of local officials was significantly smaller at this event. The absence of such a delegation at this dedication was a little disheartening.

Leadership means that you go the extra mile to show support lest we appear to take for granted a community partner such as Georgia State University.

We want our community to be one that promotes and embraces all educational opportunities. Very few communities can boast a technical college, a private university, and a public university in their backyard. The benefits Georgia State can bring Newton County in the future are great.

We also want our community to be one that promotes the wins, expansions, and successes of all our partners; because we have them, sometimes in spite of ourselves.

We look forward to seeing our local representatives at our next big ribbon cutting or groundbreaking to mark the arrival of new quality jobs to Newton County. We are thrilled that Georgia State is in Newton County to help fill those jobs with qualified and local employees. We celebrate a big win this week.