Rotary meeting held at Armstrong's Liberty Campus between GS, ASU presidents

Rotary meeting held at Armstrong's Liberty campus between GS, ASU presidents.
Updated: Feb. 7, 2017 at 5:24 PM EST
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Thousands of students, employees and alumni of Georgia Southern University and Armstrong State University are watching and waiting to see how the state will consolidate the two.

It affects more than just campuses in Statesboro and Savannah. A meeting was held today at Armstrong’s Liberty Campus in Hinesville where several people in the community got the chance to talk to the two presidents about the future.

Presidents Dr. Jaimie Hebert and Dr. Linda Bliecken came to speak with Hinesville Rotarians about the consolidation orders they've been given by the University System of Georgia.
The Liberty Campus might be small by university standards, but hundreds of students call it home. Community leaders like Tim Byler had questions about where it fits in the consolidation.

"I'm an advocate of the Liberty Center, said Byler. I want it to thrive and be at its best."

Armstrong president Dr. Linda Bleicken recalled how the community pitched in to finally get the satellite campus in 2015. She says its success can't be discounted.
"This is one of the fastest growing parts of our university now so this is a huge asset," said Dr. Bleicken.
Leaders of both schools got a tour of the campus and the community it serves to show how vital it can be, especially to a population of soldiers looking to earn degrees to help them after the Army. Georgia Southern President Dr. Jaimie Hebert called the Hinesville campus an asset. He promised the audience today that people from here will have a seat at the table to plan the dozens of aspects to consolidation.
"And we're going to have in the range of 5-600 people working on these various tasks," said Dr. Hebert.
They fielded questions about how this will impact courses, degree programs, tuition and more.
Both presidents said many things remain in the air as teams from both of the school’s study how they can combine and help their students and become as efficient as possible.
Byler, himself an Armstrong parent, wishes the schools and the state already had a plan before they move.

"As a parent, to hear them say they don't know yet how they're going to do it unsettles me as much as it settles me," said Byler.
The two presidents explained groups from each university will be on the dozens of teams charged with various aspects of the transition.

"I think there's a lot to be gained by the merger, said Byler. When you combine, you can gain programs. I think that's going to have a direct impact."

The consolidation plan must go first in front of SACS, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, then to the Board of Regents for approval.
They anticipate it going into place Fall 2018.

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