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Rob Watts
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Last week, Rob Watts, interim president of Georgia Perimeter College, stopped by our office to introduce himself and discuss the past, present and future of the two-year college. (For a full report on that conversation and a look at how the college is trying to get back on track, visit

Watts was appointed by University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby to clean up the financial mess left by ousted president Anthony Tricoli, who grew the college, but at the price of a $16 million past deficit that was scheduled to grow another $9 million if Watts hadn't stepped in.

We're glad Watts was there to right the ship and put the college back on the path to prosperity.

As we have stated many times in this space, the existence of Georgia Perimeter College here in Newton County is a boon, and, more than any other campus, the local location is primed to growth as only half of its 100-acre property is currently being used. If the college regains its footing, we can expect to see more investment and more educated adults coming to Newton County.

In righting the ship, Watts has made major cuts, but tried his best not to hinder the college's main mission of educating its students. We, at The News, appreciated his candor and in answering our questions and discussing the path forward, and after our conversation, we feel confident that Georgia Perimeter will thrive in Newton County in the long term.

Tricoli had grand plans for Newton County, plans he shared with the community just months before his questionable spending decisions came to light. Watts is an interim president, and he's sure to point that out. However, even he, in the midst of these tough times, sees the potential we have here locally. We want to thank Watts for his quick and decisive action and his continued leadership through a dark period in the college's history.