University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby said he was impressed with Northeast Georgia's colleges after spending time Friday in the area.
He began his morning at North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, followed by a visit to Gainesville State College in Oakwood, where he also participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the college's Academic IV Building.
Huckaby said visiting campuses has been the best part of his job thus far. He was appointed chancellor in May.
"This will be my 27th visit ... I carry back from every visit the great enthusiasm, the great work, the astounding students and faculty we have in our system and it gives us great encouragement about what we're trying to do at the system level," he said. "It's exciting to be here. I'm impressed both with Gainesville State College and North Georgia College in my visits today."
North Georgia President Bonita Jacobs said she wanted to show Huckaby how proud the administration and faculty are of their students.
"We wanted him to have a chance to visit with our faculty, staff and students," Jacobs said. "We had an opportunity to showcase some of our student activities and in particular our physical therapy program. We had a relatively short period of time but we were able to show him our beautiful new dining facility and to talk about the impact that's having on student success."
Patricia Donat, vice president for academic affairs at North Georgia, said the visit was a chance for Huckaby to see students engaged on campus, whether it was in the Corps of Cadets, the critical language program or undergraduate research.
"Certainly for us it's an opportunity to showcase the quality of students here," she said. "He really experienced that first-hand."
Gainesville State President Martha Nesbitt said Huckaby met with students, faculty and herself following the school's ceremony.
"What I want to impress up on him more than anything is we are about students here and we are about providing the best quality education at a very affordable price," Nesbitt said. "He's already indicated to me that he's very supportive of the college and its mission."
Huckaby said though each college in Georgia has a different role and mission, there are great things going on at each.
"I think what he wants, and what we would want for him, is to learn as much as possible about our campus in a short period of time and the people on our campus and our unique contributions to the system," Jacobs said. "I think that we were probably able to accomplish that."