new president

Michelle Johnston is the sixth president of the College of Coastal Georgia.

College of Coastal Georgia will host an inauguration ceremony Friday for its sixth president, Michelle Johnston.

And throughout this week, events will be held in concert with the celebration, including a Reaching for the Stars silent auction and scholarship gala at 6 p.m. Thursday on the rooftop terrace of the campus center. Tickets cost $125, and all money raised will go toward student scholarships at the college. The event is open to the community.

“I consider our Scholarship Gala as one of the most important and exciting parts of the inauguration week,” Johnston said. “We talk constantly on campus about student success and our deep commitment to excellence and high quality programs. Scholarship support for our students is critical for ensuring access and offering affordability.”

Inauguration ceremonies have deep roots in the traditions of academia, said Christy Lynn Wilson, director of marketing and public relations for the college.

“It symbolizes the embrace of a new president and a new era of her leadership for the institution,” Wilson said. “While she has been president since July 23, 2018, the investiture is a time where the University System of Georgia and the Board of Regents are officially here and investing in her leadership of this college. This is a big deal for the system as a whole.”

Johnston chose to include the scholarship gala in the week of events, Wilson said, in hopes of using this as an opportunity to keep the focus on the college’s mission to serve students.

“That’s her passion,” Wilson said. “Anyone who speaks with her for a few minutes will realize that’s what she’s about.”

The gala event will include music, food and beverages.

Every dollar spent on tickets, auction items and donations will go directly to student scholarships, Johnston said.

“I’ve had so many people in the community ask how they can help the college,” she said. “Hands down, supporting scholarships is one of the very best ways to shape and change students’ lives. I am so grateful for the generous souls who have seen the need, heard our call and given so selflessly to make a College of Coastal Georgia education possible. That family of supporters is growing, and our students are the deserving beneficiaries.”

The silent auction is live now, and Wilson said participation is open to all, even those who do not attend the gala.

Other inauguration activities this week will include a documentary presentation at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Stembler Theater, to show a film that highlights the history of the college. The film and exhibit will be open all day, until 10:30 p.m.

The Camden Center will host an inauguration reception for students, faculty, staff and the community at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The investiture ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Southeast Georgia Conference Center. A reception will follow the ceremony, which will be attended by university and college presidents or other representatives from throughout the University System of Georgia.

“This is a historic moment in the history of the institution,” Wilson said. “She is the sixth president in 58 years.”

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