Local News

January 30, 2014

Werner Braun:A college’s gift to the community

I’m a lucky man.

When I think back on the cities I’ve either lived in or visited that I have enjoyed the most, I’m struck by the fact that there’s one common denominator: in all cases, there exists a great university.

And I’m proud to say that in the dozen-plus years I’ve lived in Dalton, I’ve seen Dalton State College develop into an institution that, while not yet a full-fledged university, is an important change agent in northwest Georgia.

The impact of having an institution of higher learning nearby seems to be the case both in small towns and large cities alike. In Austin, Texas, where I lived for a number of years, the University of Texas provided so much for the community besides what it was doing on the academic front.

The university provided a seed for the development of a fine arts culture in Austin, with world-renowned paintings on view, dance company performances to attend and a second-to-none music scene. To say nothing of its competitive athletics program. All of these cultural/community activities had their roots in the university.

My experience in Midland, Mich., near Ann Arbor, is a bit different as Midland didn’t have a major university per se, but its proximity to the University of Michigan, and the relatively short time it took to drive there, provided us with a plethora of cultural opportunities from which to partake.

And while Midland may have lacked the abundant resources available to those living near a sprawling campus like UT or UM , the good folks at Dow Industries (my former employer) worked hard to bring in many different venues and cultural opportunities to make their town a desirable place to live. They made sure that cultural activities were prominent in Midland, with a first-class performing arts center, a fabulous parks and recreation department, even a top-notch hockey rink.

The whole point is that a city is ultimately impacted by having a great university as part of the fabric of that community.

And I can see where that’s really beginning to take shape at Dalton State.

Since the time I moved here back in the dawn of the new millennium, I have watched as Dalton State has added 17 four-year bachelor’s degree programs, ranging from business programs (where the transition from “college” to “state college” actually began), to social work and criminal justice programs, and now to degrees in the liberal arts: English, history and psychology.

Now, in addition to its highly-regarded registered nursing program, Dalton State is offering a bachelor of science in nursing degree, giving past and future graduates a heads-up on the competition. And its School of Business has earned the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation, putting it into an elite category of business programs from around the country.

But so much more has evolved in addition to the impressive academic gains. The establishment of dorms on campus, aided by the generosity of the Dalton State College Foundation, has resulted in more of a “collegiate” atmosphere on campus and around town.

The introduction of athletic programs and all that that entails — including a stellar first season for the Roadrunners basketball team — has brought a level of excitement to town that is palpable, especially when you’re cheering the Roadrunners on at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center.

The college brings in wonderful fine arts events in the form of fascinating speakers, quality musical performances, student-led plays, etc., to campus, and the desire to provide more and more of these activities continues to grow.

People frequently ask me what I plan to do when I retire, just a few scant months from now. And I always respond, “I know that I’ll continue to be a lifelong learner. And while I’m going about that, I plan to be taking some classes at Dalton State.”

I love learning, about history, about the wonders of the universe and much, much more. As a retiree, I’ll be able to take classes when it fits my schedule, and I’ll be able to delve more deeply into long-neglected interests. I look forward to that.

I also look forward to watching as Dalton State goes forward, seeing the institution have an impact on people who’ll want to move here (not just married folk) because of the vibrant “college town” feel that abounds. There’s no doubt in my mind that as Dalton State moves toward university status, it will continue to change the culture of this community in a mighty big way.  

Werner Braun is president of the Dalton-based Carpet and Rug Institute.

Text Only
Local News
  • Dalton State turtle 4.jpg In the mood for love: Encouraging breeding, saving species

    For one Dalton State College couple, a cool misty shower is more effective than Barry White and candles at turning thoughts to love. And keeping this couple feeling amorous could mean survival of the species.

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Beaulieu expects 2,000 employees to be affected by week-long shutdown

    About 2,000 employees of Beaulieu of America in Georgia and Alabama will be affected by the company’s plans to conduct an inventory of its buildings and facilities next week.

    August 1, 2014

  • Moral monday 3 mlh.jpg Four ‘jailed for justice’ tell their stories

    Arturo Martinez was just 8 when his family came to the United States from Mexico, and though he is one of more than 500,000 young undocumented immigrants granted deferred removal by President Barack Obama, Martinez said his dream of pursuing higher education is out of reach because of Georgia policies.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tanner Blackton: Diners, servers must show understanding

    Try to imagine this: You’ve been on your feet for hours, hoisting heavy plates, buzzing from table to table, taking orders, running food, refilling drinks. All the while, you have a smile plastered on your face and a go-to attitude, even when people blame you for things that are out of your control, berate you for accidentally mixing up an order, or loudly complain about being seated underneath an air conditioning vent.

    August 1, 2014

  • Bugs and Kisses 1 mlh.jpg Local stores expect tax holiday to create lots of sales

    Local retailers say Georgia’s sales tax holiday weekends mean big business for them, and they are gearing up to capitalize on this year’s tax-free shopping on Friday and Saturday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Esme file mw 2.jpg Still fighting

    Ten-year-old Esme Miller was celebrated earlier this year for the way she’s handled a bout with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Historical photos of Murray County needed

    Maybe you have a photograph of a well-known preacher from the 1940s. Or maybe you have a photograph taken of a church choir from the 1920s.

    July 30, 2014

  • State DOT wants your input on transportation needs

    As state and national leaders consider alternatives for funding future transportation needs, the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know what Georgians would like in their 21st century transportation system and how they recommend paying for it.

    July 30, 2014

  • Jail for Justice Tour event here tonight

    The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, the NAACP-led multi-racial, multi-issue advocacy group, will host an event in partnership with the Georgia Dreamers Alliance, Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), Whitfield NAACP and the Whitfield County Democratic Party at Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center tonight from 5 to 9.

    July 30, 2014

  • Two charged with tampering with evidence in drug investigation

    Two people have been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the synthetic marijuana bust in February involving a Dalton business owner.

    July 30, 2014