New president introduced to 69-year-old Georgia Southern traditi - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

New president introduced to 69-year-old Georgia Southern tradition

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) -

Georgia Southern University's new president got introduced to a summertime tradition on campus.

Dr. Jaimie Hebert helped slice up watermelon for crowds of faculty, staff and students. The July tradition started 69 years ago when only a hundred or so students took summer classes and the school grew the food for the cafeteria.

Dr. Hebert officially started last Friday. He says the more he sees and learns about Southern, he likes it even more.

“A tradition like this - you see the excitement around here. It helps morale. It brings to life everything this wonderful university is,” said Dr. Hebert.

Friday marks the first public event for the new president. He says this university has seen more triumphs and trials than any of those folks back then could have ever imagined.

"This place is just amazing. The heritage of this institution is just phenomenal,” said Dr. Hebert.

He says he hopes to help broad the experiences of students, through research in the classroom, life on campus and more and likes what he sees so far.

"That I've made one of the best decisions of my life coming here,” said Hebert.

He accepts the bitter with the sweet. The NCAA announced probation and punishments Thursday for the university based on academic infractions involving football players. He says the blow didn't catch him or anyone by surprise.

"The university was upfront with me about everything going on with the institution. We were prepared for what came down yesterday,” Dr. Hebert said.

He says the university - from this watermelon tradition to the NCAA issues - will keep moving forward.

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