Published December 16, 2010
CLEVELAND — Truett-McConnell College is growing at a record pace. TMC president Emir Caner reported, “The headcount is up 45 percent this year over last year and the FTE (full time equivalency) is up by 38 percent.” The increase in the percentage of enrollment at TMC is virtually unprecedented among private Christian colleges.
The headcount includes the total number of students enrolled in the college regardless of the number of hours they take. The FTE divides the total semester credit hours taken by students by 12, the equivalent hours of a full-time student. Caner reported 580 FTEs and numbered the total headcount at 756.
TMC will add nine new faculty members by the fall of 2011. Seventy-five percent of the college’s faculty have terminal degrees (doctorates) in their respective fields of study, degrees that come from some of the most prestigious universities in the nation including Harvard and William and Mary. Nonetheless, the school is committed to being “Biblically Centered – Distinctively Baptist.”
The college now provides 30 major courses of study, including a bachelor of arts in world missions and 13 minor areas of academic concentration.
The TMC president stated that the college’s operating budget is $1.2 million in the black for the 2010-2011 school year. Considering the fact that in 2009 319 degree-granting institutions failed the United States Department of Education Financial Responsibility Test, Caner expressed gratitude that Truett-McConnell passed muster regarding fiscal accountability and is regarded by the government agency as financially stable.
The growth of the Georgia Baptist college in Cleveland has necessitated the enlarging of campus facilities. On Dec. 3
almost 200 people gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of three new additions: the Miller building addition, a new residence hall and the expansion of the dining hall. The construction of these buildings will add another 60,000 square feet of floor space to the campus facilities.
The Miller Building will house The Creation Research Center and The World Mission Center. In reflecting on these two educational centerpieces of the college, President Caner has identified the expansion with the slogan, “From the Very First Verse to the Very Last Tribe.”
The Miller Building expansion also features a 106-seat classroom, four 50-60-seat classrooms, a physics lab and a chemistry lab. Dr. Brad Reynolds, vice president for Academic Services, avows, “This new building will provide the facilities necessary to offer a B.S. in biology, once accreditation approves it, and will permit us to continue the miraculous growth of our academic curricula.”
Reynolds proclaimed, “Today marks a historic day. It is a day when there is visible evidence of the hand of the Almighty upon Truett-McConnell.
“As in the days of Joshua when the children of Israel would build stone structures to draw attention to a place where the presence and power of God was displayed for the world to see, so today the breaking of ground for these new structures draws attention to a place where the presence and power of God is displayed for all the world to see.”
John Howard, a TMC trustee who owns hardware stores in Hall and Gwinnett counties, explained, “To see what God is doing here is phenomenal. I marvel at the quality of faculty we are attracting to our school and the bright young leaders that are being trained here at Truett-McConnell.
“Dr. Caner is a wonderful theologian and an effective educator, but he is also an able administrator and knows how to manage the business affairs of the school. He is as tight as a tick when it comes to finances.”
Merrill Folsom, a trustee and banker from Villa Rica, stated, “The things I have seen God do here in the last two years have been incredible. Truett-McConnell is becoming a flagship school for the Georgia Baptist Convention. The dynamics of what is happening here with the addition of buildings and the growth of the student population will ultimately help us reach a dying world.”
Trustee John Yarborough, pastor of Mt. Yonah Baptist Church in Cleveland, remarked, “I am a 1969 alumnus of Truett-McConnell. Forty-one years ago I graduated from this college. In the late 80s my daughter came to Truett-McConnell. I brought a house here before I left the North American Mission Board. I love this school.
“When I look at what is happening here, I realize we are seeing things I dreamed about. We can send students here and know their faith will be strengthened, not destroyed. Unsaved students will be won to faith in Christ.
“Except for the Nix Student Center that was constructed in 2001, these buildings will be the first buildings to be built in many years. To see buildings being constructed simultaneously is remarkable, especially in this economy. We are no longer managing decline, but stimulating growth. And it is also remarkable in this day and time for a college to be biblically centered and distinctively Baptist. Interestingly, that focus does not limit our market, but rather defines it. It is being purposeful.
“Dr. Caner’s vision and leadership has set this school on a course not only to be a leader in growth, but he has established a new paradigm of higher Christian education. The Bible is seen as inerrant and true: and every subject, math, biology, history, etc., is taught in light of biblical truth.”
Mike Dorough, chairman of the Trustees and student pastor at Second Baptist Church in Warner Robins, added, “I stand amazed at what God has done here. Several years ago Jerry Pounds, former TMC president, and Dewitt Cox came to Warner Robins to see Pastor Rastus Salter. After Dr. Pounds explained his vision for the school, I got emotional. After they left Pastor Salter said, “I have prayed for that kind of school for over 50 years.”
Dorough concluded, “Since that visit Second Baptist has sent over 20 students to Truett-McConnell. Dr. Caner has expanded on Dr. Pound’s vision and begun to implement it. He is amazing – a man of great foresight and integrity. God uses people and God is certainly using him.”
At the groundbreaking ceremony Allen Hill, representing the Georgia Baptist Convention, declared, “The important thing is not the buildings, but the students. A passage of Scripture that has been a major influence on my life is Romans 12: 1-2. That passage calls for a transformation of characters by urging a transformation of minds. That is what is happening here. Truett-McConnell is transforming the minds of those who will lead us into the next century.”
Adam Harwood, representing the TMC faculty, spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony and commented, “This is a historic day for Truett-McConnell that people will be talking about for generations to come.”
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