On Sept. 2, 2010, Georgia State University changed forever.
A blue-and-white-clad crowd -- at more than 30,000 strong -- poured into the Georgia Dome to watch the GSU Panthers take on the Shorter Hawks in our first football game in our 97-year-history. To put that number in perspective, the schools in the Colonial Athletic Association, our conference, averaged 8,523 last year, and the national average was 8,654. What an amazing start!
I extend my sincere gratitude to the 30,237 people who attended, and to the many GSU faculty, staff, students and alumni who worked for months and years to make it possible. I was particularly pleased to see and greet many of the 11,000 students who showed up to cheer on their fellow Panthers.
But the first game was about much more than just football. We welcomed back to GSU thousands of alumni, some who hadn't connected with the university in decades. We received positive coverage on local as well as national news, and on every platform ranging from TV, print, and radio to the Internet. A local TV report noted that GSU football - coupled with other initiatives such as steadily increasing on-campus housing - is helping to transform GSU while breathing new life into the downtown Atlanta economy. It is clear, GSU's vitality is being recognized far and wide.
With the addition of football, there's no doubt the pace at GSU is picking up. Not just on the field, but in all aspects of the university, as we continue to recruit and retain outstanding scholars, researchers, students, staff, supporters and others.
The excitement associated with football has created a buzz in our community, and among our supporters. Now, it is up to all of us to harness that enthusiasm for GSU to take the university to the next level in everything that we do. We remain focused on raising the academic profile of Georgia State to that of a premier research university in the heart of a major city. The launch of GSU football has created a new sense of excitement, but there are many, many pieces to the puzzle. Success in one area will inevitably benefit the entire university.
Perhaps Maria Valdez, the GSU junior vocal performance major who was the first person to sing the national anthem before a Georgia State football game, said it best when interviewed about what it meant to her to have a part in the launch of football at GSU.
"It's really cool to have a part in history - to play a part in the new face of our school," she said. "Our school is completely changing and we're going big places. It's nice to see that."
Thank you to Maria for making September 2, 2010 a special day for our university, and thank you to each and every member of the GSU community for all that you are doing to help take this great institution into the future.
Mark P. Becker
Dahlberg Hall dedication set for Friday
Georgia State University will dedicate and rename Alumni Hall, located at the corner of Gilmer and Courtland streets, for one of the university's most successful and enthusiastic alumni, A.W. "Bill" Dahlberg. The dedication ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Friday in the courtyard behind Alumni Hall, adjacent to the M Deck parking garage. A reception will follow.
CENCIA schedule announced
The Center for Collaborative and International Arts (CENCIA) at Georgia State University is sponsoring nine events during the 2010-11 year that will bring together artists with scholars of various academic disciplines. The first fall event will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Sep. 17 at the Rialto Center for the Arts. Bent Frequency, an Atlanta-based chamber ensemble, will perform the works of contemporary German composers, such as Vivienne Olive and Dieter Buwen, in a concert titled "Atlanta-Nuremberg: Sister Cities in Concert."
Mukesh Dhamala, assistant professor of physics, recently won a National Science Foundation CAREER grant to study how the brain works in helping to make perceptual decisions. His research is aimed at helping better understand how different parts of the brain communicate to help integrate information, an understanding that may lead to better treatments for neurological diseases.
The College of Education's Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic is celebrating its 35th anniversary next week.
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