“If we do it right, everybody wins” – Middle Georgia State University hosts community leaders at THRIVE Summit

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2019 4:00 PM
Category: Pressroom

Macon, GA

Presidents from area colleges and universities participate in a panel discussion

More than 70 leaders from Middle Georgia communities gathered at the Hatcher Conference Center at Middle Georgia State University’s (MGA) Macon Campus for the THRIVE Summit on Wednesday, May 15.  The day-long event, hosted by MGA, the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, and the United Way of Central Georgia, was an effort to facilitate growth in the region by promoting collaboration among community stakeholders.

“This is a continuation of a conversation several years in the making,” said Dr. David Biek, dean of the School of Education and Behavioral Sciences at MGA in welcoming remarks to the attendees.  “To borrow a phrase from the business world, this collaboration will help us ‘Get Better, Faster.’” 

Billed as an opportunity to share information about community assets, highlight innovative approaches for community-building, and to build and develop relationships within the region, the summit featured discussions centered on areas of concern to the community. 

Kathryn Dennis of the Community Foundation delivered updates from the On the Table project, which took place throughout the central Georgia region in October 2018.  “Overall, there is optimism in the community on the direction we’re going,” she said.  “Personal action is going to make the difference.”

In her keynote address, Judge Verda Colvin called upon attendees to be bold in formulating strategies for addressing issues identified in the One Macon! strategic plan.  Progress, she said, has been significant and calls attention to areas in which additional work needs to be done, notably in addressing poverty and crime in the region.

Education was another area of focus for the event.  During the Presidents’ Panel, the presidents of Middle Georgia State University, Fort Valley State University, Wesleyan College, and Central Georgia Technical College discussed with attendees ways in which educational institutions can partner with community organizations to help students make their way into higher education past high school.  “We are losing too many kids who are not taking advantage of these opportunities,” said CGTC president Ivan Allen.  “We’ve got to connect these young people who are in the pipeline to our workforce.”

Following the scheduled program, attendees broke into small groups for work sessions dedicated to looking at ways to address issues including poverty, transportation, education, and community services.

“It’s great that conversations started by One Macon! and On the Table are continuing throughout the year with our university partners,” said attendee Chris Floore, with Macon-Bibb County Public Affairs. “Middle Georgia State University is one of the cornerstones of our region, and to have them at the table, along with our other institutions of higher education, bodes well for our students’ ability to be a part of our community.”

MGA President Dr. Christopher Blake, during the afternoon Presidents’ Panel, reinforced the University’s commitment to remaining as a cornerstone of that collaborative effort.  “If we have strong trust between our institutions, we can have better collaboration…. lines in a play only work as part of a dialogue,” he said.  “If we do it right, everybody wins.”