Dr. Kirk A. Nooks Formally Invested as the Fourth President of Gordon State College

Friday, April 26, 2019

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In a special ceremony before an overflow crowd of family, friends, students, faculty, staff and community members Dr. Kirk A. Nooks was formally invested as the fourth President of Gordon State College Friday morning.

University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley formally invested Nooks saying that being a President is a team effort and the most important part of that team is family.

Wrigley noted that with this ceremony the President accepted the responsibility for leading an institution.

“It is an awesome responsibility for the leading of a public college today is also a complex responsibility and a shared responsibility, one that benefits the students, the community and the state,” Wrigley said.

“It is a high calling to prepare students for civic responsibility and for the work force,” he added. “In embracing its mission of access and affordability, and through the dedicated teaching of its faculty, Gordon State nurtures the development of this region. As Chancellor, I believe in this institution and its mission. And I appreciate the dedication of those on this campus community who are so deeply committed to the success of these students.”

Wrigley then presented the medallion – engraved with the three Presidents of Gordon State College, their years of service as well as Nooks’ name and the year he was named President, 2018.

An investiture is a formal ceremony of conferring the authority and symbols of high office and is held during the new president’s first year in office. It is an academic ceremony which has symbolized the pursuit of knowledge since the Middle Ages. Today, investitures are opportunities to welcome a new era and celebrate as a community.

Nooks echoed the theme of a new era and community in his Inaugural address.

“The theme for this Inaugural Week has been ‘Remembering the Legacy, Pursuing the Dream: Highlanders Forward,” Nooks said. “Remembering the Legacy requires us to reflect on the journey it took to arrive at this point in time. This point in time is a unique intersection of progress and promise. I have even heard this intersection referred to as a ‘window of opportunity.’ Instead of trying to find the right label, I prefer to ask the question, ‘What are WE going to do with it?’”

Nooks also noted that he and Gordon would continue to move forward.

“Given all the historical milestones, mission changes and name changes, given all of the things that have occurred in my life, data say, I should not be here, and the institution should not be here, but at some point in the journey we both decided to walk by faith and not by sight, we decided to honor the legacy, by not getting caught up by what happened to us, but rather what can happen through us, we decided to focus on what’s next instead of the spilled milk or the water underneath the bridge. We focused on what’s on the horizon and just around the bend, the vision before it becomes a reality; we focused on pursuing the dream.”

In conclusion, Nooks asked Gordon’s 14-county primary service region to reinforce partnerships with the College.

“So this morning Gordon State College is calling on Butts, Clayton, Coweta, Crawford, Fayette, Henry, Lamar, Macon-Bibb, Meriwether, Monroe, Pike, Spalding, Talbot and Upson counties to partner with us for regional progress and performance.”

The program included remarks and greetings from a variety of people representing a time or person in Nooks’ life.

Dr. Laura Lackey spoke on behalf of Mercer University, Nooks’ Alma Mater.

“Dr. Nooks graduated from Mercer’s School of Engineering with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management and from our School of Business with his Masters in Marketing,” Dr. Lackey noted. “This makes Dr. Nooks a double Bear.”

“We are proud of Dr. Nooks and the many accomplishments he has made throughout his career,” she added. “His journey has brought him to Gordon State College, and I believe you have one of the finest Mercer Bears leading your institution. Dr. Nooks, from all of us at Mercer University, congratulations.”

Greetings were also shared by The GSC Alumni Association, the GSC faculty and staff, and the GSC Foundation. State Senator Marty Harbin shared a greeting as did State Representative Robert Dickey, Barnesville Mayor Peter Banks, Dr. David Bridges on behalf of the University System of Georgia, and the GSC Student Government Association. A special greeting was made by Anniston Nooks on behalf of the Nooks family.

Alexus Strickland shared a reflection on the occasion from a student’s perspective.

“Wow, what an amazing speech brought to us by our newly invested president Dr. Kirk A. Nooks. It is with great humility that I stand here and bring reflections on the occasion today. Dr. Nooks, you have shown nothing but love and dedication so far to the entire campus and the surrounding communities. Today we all got a chance to witness what we already know and what we know is that you will continue to push Gordon State College forward and expand us to new heights as we continue to evolve. We all appreciate you for all the work you have done, the work you are doing, and the work you will complete in the future. As we say here at Gordon State College Highlanders Forward!”