Investiture is counted among the oldest traditions in academia.
College of Coastal Georgia took part in this long-valued ceremony Friday, bringing together representatives from across the University System of Georgia, along with local community supporters, to formally invest in its sixth president, Michelle Johnston.
Longtime supporter of the college and former USG board of regents member Jim Bishop called the event a “legacy moment in the history of the College of Coastal Georgia.”
“Dr. Johnston, for over a year now you have embraced our community,” he said. “Now we formally embrace you. We welcome you as our fully invested president of the College of Coastal Georgia.”
The ceremony featured numerous speakers, including local and state government representatives, USG leaders and Johnston’s own friends and family.
Johnston’s lifelong friend Karen Field Cole shared stories about Johnston’s childhood and early drive and leadership talents.
“She graduated with the highest honors at every academic level, and watching, it all seemed effortless,” Cole said. “But she earned and worked hard for every award and accolade and distinction she received … I know she will encourage and support and represent and lead you to the best of her ability. And more importantly, you’re going to have a good time doing it .”
Johnston’s daughter Rae shared an emotional tribute to her mother as well.
“My mom taught my sister and myself to be leaders and to value our education, and there’s no better position for her than the one she has now,” she said. “Not only did she push us to be leaders, but she valued being a selfless leader. You would be hard pressed to find a more selfless person than my mom.”
Regent Don Waters said Johnston is taking the helm at a pivotal moment in the college’s history.
“This is an especially exciting time for the institution and the community, as it continues to grow in number and in partnership with the surrounding region,” Waters said. “That’s very important.”
The board of regents established the college in 1961, and CCGA has since undergone significant transformations from a two-year to a four-year college.
“The College of Coastal Georgia is a powerful example of how strong relationships with those in the community and beyond lead to success for everyone,” Waters said.
Johnston thanked those in attendance for coming together to celebrate the life of the college.
“My greatest hope as we planned this week of investiture activities and events was that the college would receive all the glory, that the college would receive unprecedented exposure and that the college would be advanced,” Johnston said. “So, mission accomplished.”