Thursday evening, August 31, 2017, my wife and I walked into the newly renovated Georgia State Stadium for our Panthers’ football home opener. Because of my role as chair of the Alumni Association, I’ve been privy to many of the meetings behind the scenes over the last couple of years that led our great university to this point of fulfilling a strategic vision, some would call a dream, of turning what was once the home of the Olympics in 1996 into the Panthers’ new athletic facility. Our Panther fans came in droves, and the tailgate outside the stadium had a buzz like I’ve never seen before. Inside, the Panther blue illuminated the stadium, the field, and the fans. The enthusiasm of the students and alumni was impossible to miss. There is so much excitement around this new chapter at GSU and all the opportunities it presents for Georgia State.
In addition to expanding GSU downtown footprint through the acquisition of Turner Field and the 66 acres surrounding it, GSU has been receiving national and international attention on its student success stories. What if I told you our university set out to change the entire approach to help undergraduate students with a goal to show the world that students of all ethnic and financial backgrounds can graduate at that same level of success? What if our university made a campus wide commitment to its students to eliminate the achievement gaps between students with financial means and those students without it? By daily tracking of students, using predictive analytics, and implementing dozens of high impact strategies to keep students on track, Georgia State has set a national example for all national public universities. Over the past three years, African-American, Hispanic, first generation and Pell-eligible students have, on average, all graduated from Georgia State at or above the rates of the student body overall—making Georgia State the only national public university to achieve this goal. Not only are other universities noticing, in July 2017, Bill Gates spent a half a day on campus to learn more about how Georgia State is using its data and technology to improve student success.
If you are like me, any organization you associate with, you want it to be a positive reflection on you. Fellow alumni, your Georgia State University has not only been getting nationally noticed, but the accolades from around the country are pouring in. You have a lot to be proud of as an alumnus of Georgia State. Please reach out to us at the Alumni Association, and let us know how we can help you get involved. How can we make your experience as an alumnus as impactful as your experience as a student? Personally, Georgia State has given me so much in return for the short time I spent on campus. I am confident Georgia State can do the same for you.