AJC On Campus: Ga. House says no to budget cuts; Morehouse’s polo team

Members of the Morehouse College polo team pose for a picture. It's believed to be the first polo team at a historically black college or university.

Georgia’s budget approval process is typically a speedy affair, but not this year. Lawmakers have spent the last few weeks holding hearings to find potential budget savings, including ways to avert potential cuts to some college programs. Here’s more about the status of those discussions and other news on the higher education front in the latest edition of AJC On Campus.

Budget battles

Georgia House lawmakers on Tuesday approved a mid-year budget that pushes back against proposed cuts by Gov. Brian Kemp for Morehouse and Mercer medical schools for preparing doctors, and to his proposed reduction to the Rural Health Systems Innovation Center at Mercer, a project rural lawmakers started a few years ago to help improve health care in rural Georgia. Here's more about the House plan. Meanwhile, Georgia Military College is asking lawmakers for help to get about $254,000 its leaders say is needed to fund Kemp's proposal to give all state workers making less than $40,000 a year a $1,000 raise.

Morehouse College made news last week with the announcement of the nation’s first historically black college to have its own polo team. The team grew from an effort that started in 2018 by a group called Ride to the Olympics.

Morehouse alumni honors classmate with big gift

Speaking of Morehouse, the Atlanta college held its annual fundraising gala Saturday, which included a moving moment from Verdun S. Perry, a 1994 graduate honored for his work in the business world. He’s the senior managing director and global head of strategic partners for Blackstone, an international investment firm. Perry carried a Brooklyn Dodgers baseball cap that was worn by a classmate, Amani P. LeMone, who died after their freshman year at the college. Perry, who called LeMone a brother, donated $500,000 to the college in LeMone’s memory. He donated an additional $500,000 in honor of his brother Shawney Perry. The college said it raised about $3.8 million Saturday.

Regents recap

The state's Board of Regents met last week and approved plans that will bring millions of dollars to Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State for upcoming campus projects. The board agreed to a naming rights agreement by Georgia Tech for Phase III of its Tech Square project after Bill George, who graduated from Georgia Tech in 1964 and held executive positions at Honeywell, Litton Industries and Medtronic. George and his wife, Penny, agreed to donate $18.75 million to Georgia Tech as part of the naming rights agreement. The board also approved Kennesaw State's $37 million plan for a new 514-bed residence hall that would open by the fall 2022 semester.

KSU gets $8.7 million to expand nursing program

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (center in the front row) is joined by Kennesaw State University students and other officials after an announcement by Wellstar Health System that it is donating $8.7 million to the university's nursing program. 

Wellstar Health System on Friday announced it is giving Kennesaw State $8.7 million that will be used to double the size of its nursing program over the next five years. Here's more about it.

Remembering Betty Siegel

Kennesaw State University President Betty Siegel is shown in a Thursday, Jan. 19, 2006 portrait taken at the "KSU Remembrance Rock," a 30-ton chunk of granite Siegel had placed here in Fall 2005. At the last commencement exercises Siegel made sure each KSU graduate could get a wrapped miniature version of this rock that also had 5 questions Siegel felt every graduate should be asking themselves. The five questions are 1)Who am I?, 2)Where do I come from?, 3) Where am I going?, 4) What is the meaning?, and 5) How do I matter?. Siegel's signature follows the five questions she feels are important. 

Credit: Andy Sharp

Credit: Andy Sharp

Tributes continue to pour in for Siegel, the second president of Kennesaw State and the first woman in that job, who died last week at the age of 89. Gov. Brian Kemp remembered her at the Wellstar announcement. "I know she had a remarkable impact on this campus as well as our state ... Her love of Kennesaw State University were evident in her tireless work not only here but also on the behalf of the community."

Emory researchers in running for major grant

A team of Emory University researchers is in the running to receive a $100 million - that’s not a misprint - grant from the MacArthur Foundation for their work to end death and disability from diabetes and hypertension for millions of people in India. The foundation announced Wednesday it had narrowed the number of candidates for the grant from 750 to 100 and the Emory team is among the 100.

With one in 5 people affected by diabetes and hypertension in India, Emory’s team says the country is a critical battleground to reverse the global rise and devastation from these two chronic conditions. The project, Destination Zero, hopes to reach more than 100 million Indians across through prevention and treatment tools that were developed over a decade of field testing in India.

The final decision will be announced this fall, an Emory spokeswoman said.

Hank Aaron gives $1.25 million to Atlanta Technical College

Hank Aaron connects on career home run No. 715 to break Babe Ruth's record. 

Atlanta Braves baseball legend Hank Aaron recently gave $1.25 million to Atlanta Technical College, which will be used to create a fund in his name that will cover tuition, books, supplies, childcare, or public transportation. In turn, the college announced it has named its athletic complex building after Aaron.

Georgia Gwinnett College-Gwinnett Tech partnership

Georgia Gwinnett College President Jann Joseph (seated, left) and Gwinnett Tech President D. Glen Cannon (seated, right) pose after signing an articulation agreement for students seeking to transfer credits from the technical school to GGC. 

Credit: GGC PR OFFICE ROD REILLY

Credit: GGC PR OFFICE ROD REILLY

The two colleges announced an agreement Monday that allows Gwinnett Tech students who have met the requirements for an associate’s degree to transfer those credits to GGC without losing credits. The goal of the agreement is to help students seeking a four-year degree in business from GGC to do so without taking classes they’ve already completed at Gwinnett Tech.

Clayton State University-Southern Crescent Tech partnership

Clayton State University and Southern Crescent Technical College officials sign an agreement they hope will make it easier for Southern Crescent graduates to seek degrees from Clayton State. 

These two schools agreed this month on a plan that allows Southern Crescent graduates with an associate degree in allied health programs to transfer core credits to Clayton State University’s College of Health Bachelor of Science degree programs. It also allows students who complete the Associate of Science in Nursing degree and obtain licensure as a Registered Nurse to gain admittance to a nursing completion track at Clayton State if they meet admissions criteria.

Atlanta Public Schools college match tool

Atlanta’s school system announced it’s created an online tool to help students identify their best college options and what schools they should apply to. It’s called the Match & Fit List Builder. The computer program uses student academic data and the student’s interests and creates a list of colleges and universities that might be a good fit. Students can fine tune the list.

University System honors top students

University System of Georgia administrators honored a student from each of its 26 schools for their achievements during last week’s Regents meeting. The honorees included a mother of four, an international chess master, a student doing leukemia research and a student who has done two military deployments. Here’s the list:

  • Abby A. Unger - Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
  • Scott Dawson, Jr. - Albany State University
  • Rhonda Echols - Atlanta Metropolitan State College
  • Jordan Alexander Hendricks - Augusta University
  • Tiffany Jones Barker - Clayton State University
  • Raymond Tyler Parks - College of Coastal Georgia
  • Samantha Thompson - Columbus State University
  • Nancy Avila De Welles - Dalton State College
  • Susanna Hall - East Georgia State College
  • Erica L. Holland - Fort Valley State University
  • Cameron James Watts - Georgia College & State University
  • Elizabeth A. Roth - Georgia Gwinnett College
  • Haydn McCary Turner - Georgia Highlands College
  • Daniel Gurevich - Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Zakiya Daniel - Georgia Southern University
  • Taylor Weeks - Georgia Southwestern State University
  • Thach Jenny Hong Pham - Georgia State University
  • Hannah Rutledge - Gordon State College
  • Ruth Bearden - Kennesaw State University
  • Logan M. Gibbs - Middle Georgia State University
  • J'Zaria Simpson - Savannah State University
  • Alana Grace Atkinson - South Georgia State College
  • Chip Chambers - University of Georgia
  • John Blessing - University of North Georgia
  • Sarah Lynn Gross - University of West Georgia
  • Danielle E. Spivey - Valdosta State University

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