Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

April 6, 2013

McKinney installed as VSU’s ninth president

VALDOSTA — Students, faculty, community members, family and friends, gathered in the P.E. Complex on Friday to welcome Valdosta State University’s ninth president, Dr. William J. McKinney.

Even though McKinney has held the title as president for nine months, April 5 marked the day he was given complete control over the university’s academic duties and responsibilities.

McKinney’s inauguration has been celebrated all week with events leading up to the actual investiture. Events included a student art exhibition, theatrical production of Pippin, showcase of innovative performances from faculty and students, as well as a battle of the bands competition.

The community also had the opportunity to participate in “Mixing it up with the President and First Lady”, a fundraiser where participants learned how to blend signature cocktails created by the president for the inauguration; a blood drive sponsored by Southeastern Community Blood Center; and “Zumba with the First Lady,” which will be held today at 9 a.m. on the front lawn of VSU.

The ceremony began with a procession of VSU’s noble scholars, accompanied by a beautiful melody performed by the VSU Wind Ensemble. The platform party was led by Dr. Tracy Woodard-Meyers, President of the VSU Faculty Senate, and as they took their seats, the attention was then focused on Dr. James LaPlant, Dean of the Graduate School.

“Valdosta State University is seeking exceptional global workers,” LaPlant said. “Students are essential to the university. The staff at Valdosta State University does everything they can to make sure students find their fire, their passion.”

LaPlant then turned his attention to President McKinney and focused on the meaning of inauguration. He acknowledged and admired the president’s achievements to date, praised his loyalty and excitement to be a leader and introduced other

influential community figures to speak on McKinney’s behalf.

“I take great pride and welcome you (Bill McKinney and Dacia Charlesworth) to Valdosta State University,” said Sen. Tim Golden, a 1977 VSU graduate.

LaPlant proceeded to introduce another graduate of Valdosta State University, who was honored to be a participant and passionate in speaking about McKinney’s leadership, Valdosta Mayor John Gayle.

“I am very proud to be here and proud to be a graduate of Valdosta State University,” Gayle said. “I am proud to be a graduate of a university with a $400 million impact on the community.”

After his statements on VSU as a whole, Gayle began to speak about his appreciation for President McKinney and First Lady Charlesworth.

“I’ve gotten to know Dr. McKinney and Dacia,” Gayle said. “I am proud to see the energy they both have. Dr. McKinney has mine and the city’s support.”

Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter also spoke at the investiture, expressing his gratitude for what McKinney has accomplished this far.

“Valdosta State University is one of the pillars our community is built upon,” Slaughter said. “Valdosta State University has been blessed with some great presidents. First time I met Dr. McKinney, I thought, he’s excited and going to be fun to work with.”

One of the last speakers to honor McKinney’s leadership was Dr. Karla Hull, Acting Vice President of Academic Affairs.

“I am honored to be representing the division of Academic Affairs at Valdosta State University,” Hull said. “I am so proud to be a part of this faculty and community. This faculty welcomes your leadership.”

After the speeches, a performance was given by the VSU Mass Choir, who sang “Bright Sun Shiny Day” and “One Moment in Time,” which received a standing ovation.

Once the performance was over, LaPlant introduced the keynote speaker of the inauguration, Dr. George L. Mehaffy, the Vice President of Academic Leadership at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Pres. McKinney and Mehaffy have worked together on several higher education issues including economic costs, certainty in the world of higher education and the AASCU’s Red Balloon Project.

Mehaffy closed his speech with a word of appreciation for Pres. McKinney.

“I am honored to be a part of this ceremony and the journey forward,” Mehaffy said.

Henry M. Huckaby, Chancellor, then called upon McKinney to step forward as he handed over the official duties and responsibilities of the university.

“This is a great day of celebration, not only for Dr. McKinney but for the university,” Huckaby said. “He has a unique blend of knowledge and leadership. I have confidence he will lead this institution to even greater success.”

Once the investiture was complete. McKinney approached the podium and delivered his inaugural address.

“To the Valdosta State University Faculty and Staff, you are VSU,” McKinney said. “To Valdosta State University Students, I am always proud of you and amazed by your accomplishments. You are truly the ambassadors of this university.”

Through the duration of his speech, McKinney carried himself with a sense of gratitude. He made it known that without the help of his family, friends, fellow colleagues and students, he would not be the man he is today.

“To my family, your unconditional support, boundless faith, I thank you so much,” McKinney said. “Dacia, Dr. Charlesworth, or Madame First Lady, you are the love of my life and in your eyes anything is possible. Your sacrifice, your endless support, there is not enough I can say. I thank you and I love you.”

As McKinney thanked the most important people in his life, he proceeded to discuss the topic of fortune. The intention of his speech was to inform VSU that it needs to become more of a bold institution and that its fortunes will be good or bad, depending on how they are created.

“The bold Valdosta State University will promote social justice as we fulfill our obligations,” McKinney said. “Let this be the time that we build and maintain an open system. Higher education is not an economic cost but rather an investment. ”

As his address came to a close, McKinney expressed his compassion and appreciation to everyone that attended the ceremony.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Brown Johnson Solis Cardiovascular Surgeons.jpeg Cardiac, Vascular, Thoracic & Endovascular Surgeons Join South Georgia Medical Center

    The three surgeons will operate a full-time medical practice and professional office named the SGMC CardioVascular Institute.  The medical office, which is located in Suite 230 of the Professional Building which is adjacent to SGMC, will be open 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140729-Gas_Leak002.jpg Roadway closed after second gas line break

    For a second day in a row, workers from Valdosta’s Utilities Department struck a natural gas service line causing a leak that shut down a portion of Forrest Street, officials said.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • dump truck arrest photo.jpg Deputies nab stolen dump truck suspects

    The search for suspected dump truck thieves ended Tuesday afternoon with the arrest of two men in the same area officials searched extensively Monday.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bears sighted on Baytree

    A pair of bear sightings along Baytree Road this week could indicate a growing black bear population in Lowndes County.

    July 30, 2014

  • Johnson family files second suit against school

    Two months after filing a civil suit against Lowndes County Schools, Kendrick Johnson’s parents have filed a second suit against the school system which again claims that negligence and bullying led to their son’s death.

    July 30, 2014

  • Teachers Harvest

    With students and teachers returning to the classroom in the coming days, the need for school supplies is at the top of numerous priority lists. For teachers, this often means spending their money to ensure classrooms are fully stocked.

    July 30, 2014

  • Lake Park holds millage rate hearings

    Lake Park City Council held two public hearings Tuesday to discuss raising Lake Park's millage rate from 5.052 to 6.552, an increase of 1.5.

    July 30, 2014

  • 140729_celebritywaiter004.jpg Celebrity waiters raise $14,000 for CAC

    For local leaders, wearing aprons, counting tips and taking drink orders is quite the change from their day jobs. When it's for a good cause though, these “celebrities” didn't mind stepping out of their comfort zones to help.

    July 30, 2014 4 Photos

  • Jim Zachary Mug shot.jpg Zachary named The Valdosta Daily Times’ editor

    Veteran newspaper editor Jim Zachary has assumed the editor’s chair at The Valdosta Daily Times.
    During the past two decades Zachary has been one of the most decorated community newspaper journalists in Georgia and Tennessee.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140728-griner001.jpg Griner takes oath

     Surrounded by family, friends, and fellow commissioners, Clay Griner took the oath of office Monday morning as the Lowndes County Super District 5 commissioner.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results