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ASU's Freeman urges Rotarians to support 'our college town'

Everette Freeman is president of Albany State University.

Everette Freeman is president of Albany State University.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany State University President Everette Freeman talked about the importance of ASU, Darton State College and Albany Technical College to a gathering of the Dougherty County Rotary Club on Tuesday, stressing how deeply the institutions are ingrained in the community.

"Albany is a college town. Ask yourselves this, what if we didn't have 1,819 employees, 585 of whom work on campus? That means that almost 1,300 work off-campus," Freeman said. "What if we didn't have an annual economic impact of $156 million in the community?

"What would happen to Carter's Grille and the United Way if there were no ASU? Could they survive? Probably. But could they thrive? Probably not."

Freeman then thanked the Rotarians, and the community, for their support of all three schools.

"Your continued support of ASU, Darton and Albany Tech have helped all of our institutions thrive," Freeman said.

Freeman took a moment to point out the university's successes in the past year such as a new Fire Science Technology partnership with ATC; a new degree in logistics, a dual-enrollment agreement with Deerfield-Windsor School, and, most recently, a plan to create a pathway for military medics to become physician assistants.

"This is a logical next step in our efforts to be helpful in rural Southwest Georgia in meeting the health needs of the population," Freeman said, referring to the Medic to PA program. "The idea is to create more mid-level health care professionals.

"We also plan on expanding the logistics program in the very near future.

Freeman added the university is also looking at beginning a pharmacy school and will revisit the program 'when the stars start aligning."

Freeman then asked the gathering for help specifically for Albany State.

"We need help from you in getting $28 million in from the General Assembly to fund for a new fine arts center," Freeman said. "Contact your state legislators and let's see if we can move this forward. A new center is sorely needed.

"We also need your help financially to provide scholarships because you never know who will be the next big thing in our community."