On Thursday Sept. 18, The Townsend Center for the Performing Arts opened its doors and welcomed students and staff alike to an inaugural event exploring the University’s values through the lens of community and corporate leaders. The event was the kick-off of a series of events meant to celebrate the inauguration of the 7th President of the University, Dr. Kyle Marrero.

The 2-hour event began at 7 p.m. and welcomed 8 different speakers, including Stu Thorn, President and CEO of Southwire, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Health, Daniel Jackson, President and CEO of Carroll Tomorrow and member of the Carroll Chamber of Commerce, Bentina Terry, Vice President of Gulf Power, Tommy Green, Founder of Greenway Medical Technologies and Co-Founder of GreenCourt Legal Technologies, Randy Nix, State Representative of the Georgia General Assembly District Court 69, Laura Richards, Founder of the Friends of Carrolton Greenbelt, and Hank Huckaby, Chancellor of the University System of Georgia.

The lights dimmed and guests settled into their seats in anticipation of the first speaker. Each of the speakers, invited by Dr. Marrero, were assigned 1 of 8 values to discuss. The 8 values included: achievement, caring, collaboration, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity, sustainability, and wisdom. Dr. Marrero took the stage beginning with a brief introduction and moved forward to introduce the first speaker, Stu Thorn.

“Nothing is preventing you from reinventing you,” said Thorn as he began the event with his thoughts on achievement. He progressed through his presentation relating his own personal experiences of achievement to the successes UWG has already seen in the commitment to the successes of students, staff and faculty alike.

As each speaker rose to the podium, they followed the lead of Thorn by providing examples as well as personal experiences to relate each of the 8 values to the University and its growing role in the community.

Laura Richards, speaking about sustainability, introduced one way that the campus is integrating itself into the community, The Greenbelt. This 16 mile, planned recreational trail will eventually connect the University to various areas of Carrollton, including parks, neighborhoods and shopping destinations. Richards drew inspiration for this trail from time spent as a cycling guide in Europe where she noticed that these types of recreational trails ran parallel to the roads. This is a very different idea from bike lanes integrated into city roads. Over 4 miles of the trail have already been added to the University’s growing campus.

Hank Huckaby concluded the event with his insight on wisdom. “Integrative thinking calls for us to be renaissance people,” said Huckaby. He also quoted Socrates, who said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” His focus was to remind guests that egocentrism will never allow for growth and that emphasis on critical thinking will inspire wisdom in one’s self as well as others. Each of the values are ideas that he, as well as the Dr. Marrero, hopes to continue to integrate into the body of education that the University offers.

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