Albany State president Art Dunning and Darton State interim president Richard Carvajal held a town hall at Westover High School in Albany, GA to update the community on the consolidation’s progress, including the merger of the two institutions’ athletic departments and filling the vacant athletic director position.
Dunning stressed that the chance to create a new Albany State might be a one-time opportunity to create a stronger institution that will benefit the entire region.
“We are a community, and we are in this together,” Dunning said. “This is an ‘us’ conversation we all must have about what we can do to make our community attractive enough that people, once they get their education, want to stay here. Most people don’t realize it, but we are an industry.”
The ASU president then pointed to a study released earlier month by the University of Georgia which said Albany State and Darton had an economic impact greater than $285 million on Albany and Southwest Georgia in 2015.
“We bring a lot of economic impact to Southwest Georgia,” Dunning said. “There are a lot of moving parts in this consolidation, from operational to strategic decisions, which we must make. We are now looking at what we can do for the citizens of Southwest Georgia like we’ve never done before, collaborating in ways we’ve never done before. This provides us an easier pathway that I think will serve the people of this state and the people of this region well.
The merger is set to culminate in the 2017-2018 school year.