The University of North Georgia (UNG) is forming community leadership councils that work closely with UNG leaders to focus on a number of initiatives centered around the themes of workforce readiness, access to education, and partnerships and collaborations.
The UNG Oconee Campus Community Leadership Council (UNG OC-CLC) is the first of these councils to be formed. Its goal is to address specific themes that surfaced during the Watkinsville Regional Education and Economic Development (REED) meetings this past summer, among them the creation and strengthening of partnerships, the building of assets and leadership development.
With these aims in mind, Dr. Eric Skipper, interim vice president of university affairs and CEO of the UNG Oconee campus, extended invitations to several prominent members of the Oconee County community to form the UNG OC-CLC.
"The OC-CLC has provided valuable community and business perspective on key aspects of community engagement and campus initiatives," said Skipper. "Attendance has been nearly 100 percent at every meeting."
Topics discussed with the council include the UNG Strategic Plan, the OconeeFest scholarship event, the Academic Master Plan, and external initiatives and partnerships in the community.
In addition to the meetings, the OC-CLC have been avid participants in campus and university events, including holiday concerts, Gainesville Theater Alliance performances, collaborations with the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF), Student Awards Night, Holiday Luncheon, End-of-Semester Spring Picnic, and Nighthawks UNight: Oconee Convocation.
"The OC-CLC will strive to facilitate ease of communication among the students, staff, faculty, and administration, to provide needed services for the community, and to implement cultural, educational, and recreational programming to enhance community life," said Skipper. "We have completed a council on the Cummings Campus and are in the process of forming councils for the other campuses."
UNG serves more than 17,000 students across its five campuses – in Blue Ridge, Cumming, Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee County – and is one of the largest public universities in Georgia. UNG was ranked 16th among public regional universities in the South in U.S. News & World Report's 2016 edition of Best Colleges.
The UNG Oconee Campus Community Leadership Council Members are:
Jason Branch, superintendent, Oconee County Schools
Marci Campbell, councilwoman, City of Watkinsville; Trainer, Carl Vinson Institute
Melvin Davis, chairman, Oconee County Board of Commissioners
Cindy Farley, executive director, Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF)
Amrey Harden, president, Oconee State Bank; Chairman, OCAF Board of Directors
Charles Ivie, mayor, City of Watkinsville
Kay Keller, president, Oconee County Chamber of Commerce
Lorie Petersen, business development manager, BankSouth
Dave Shearon, owner, Ashford Manor Bed & Breakfast
Jeff Faulkner, owner, Zaxby’s
David Walton, owner, Fox’s Pizza
Kelly Watts, human resources, Caterpillar
Chuck Williams, representative, Georgia General Assembly
Joey Wilson, general manager, Ameripride
The UNG Cumming Campus Community Leadership Council Members are:
Pete Amos, chairman – Forsyth County Board of Commissioners
Mike Dudgeon, state representative
Geoff Duncan, state representative
Sherri Gilligan, state representative
Ford Gravitt, mayor – City of Cumming
Lynn Jackson, Northside Hospital-Forsyth
Doug Jenkins, Georgia Power
James McCoy, Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce
Mary Helen McGruder, UNG Foundation
Joey Pirkle, Forsyth County Schools
Brian Pounds, Siemens
Michael Williams, state senator