CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews) -- Georgia Governor Nathan Deal sent a contingent of three liaisons -- Lindsay Perdue, Edens Davis and Josh Turner -- who met with Truett-McConnell President Emir Caner and several local government officials on TMC's campus, Nov. 16.
After welcoming the group, President Caner thanked Governor Deal for his "forward thinking on education," saying many students are enabled to matriculate who may not otherwise have the opportunity. "It has been a tremendous blessing to Truett-McConnell, to White County, and it enables us to thrust forward." He also thanked the Cleveland community for its support.
Caner fielded questions from the panel of about a dozen regarding Truett-McConnell's status and progress by noting TMC's enrollment growth, financial health, facility improvements and the remarkable growth of the college's online degree program -- all as blessings from God.
The president said TMC has "excelled most greatly" in its current faculty, saying their "Christian worldview" and "academic pedigrees are second to none."
"The students are our heartbeat," Caner said, noting their significance. "Our students go to seven or eight different countries every year on mission trips, and this year they'll go to places like Thailand."
"My hat's off to you because there are some of us on this table that remember what [TMC] was and where it's come from," said White County Commissioner Craig Bryant.
In addition to hearing from Caner, the panel of local officials related to Governor Deal's contingent their efforts on a county-by-county basis, and noted how the governor's office could help.
County Commission Chairman Travis Turner, a TMC alumnus, said the proposed Cleveland bypass is a key to quality growth in the county and called on the governor's liaisons to relate the need of state assistance to start construction.
After the meeting, the panel toured Truett-McConnell's campus and saw recently completed construction projects.
"Oh wow, it's great," said White County Manager Carol Jackson, a TMC alumnae. She later said, "I love this school."
In a follow-up email, Jackson thanked TMC for its "great and genuine hospitality. All of our group had such a good time."
Other government officials visiting the campus included Rep. Doug Collins; Mayor Helen Wilkins, City of Helen; Vice Mayor Judy Holloway, City of Helen; City Clerk Connie Tracus for City of Cleveland; White County Clerk Shanda Smallwood; and White County Commissioners Terry Goodger and Edwin Nix.
Senior Staff Writer Vicky Kaniaru contributed to this report, as did Dean Dyer of WRWH Radio.