ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany State University President Art Dunning said enrollment was his biggest concern in his state of the university address Monday afternoon.
This address marked the first ever speech under the newly consolidated university.
"Albany State University entered a new era on December 9th," said President Dunning.
A change that was ushered in by the unanimous vote by the Board of Regents approving the consolidation of ASU and Darton State College.
"Both are committed to providing academic excellence and vitality in southwest Georgia," remarked Dunning.
He said progress was on track to make the two schools one.
"How many more things we will be able to do because we are now together and those things that we can add that are presently not here," said Dunning.
Darton's associate degree program would now be available to students.
"The economic impact of the work that we do here at the university for the community," said ASU's Interim Dean Thomas Thompson
The combined number comes out to a whopping $285 million.
Thompson said economic development is stimulated by its global reach.
"Growing their global awareness and that has specifically impacted students in the College of Education," said Thompson.
And although these accomplishments bode well for the university, "we have to grow our enrollment, there's a deep sense of urgency about that," explained Dunning.
800 strategic decisions later, President Dunning was still faced with how to increase enrollment.
"Showing student the return on investment if they choose to join us," said Dunning.
And to do so, Dr. Dunning plans to give a broader range of offerings and build stronger connections with businesses.
For the next six months, ASU will be working on logistics of both campuses, and several other areas.