GCSC Celebrates Five Years of Meeting Goals

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PANAMA CITY - Gulf Coast State College administrators say they're thrilled with some of the goals they've accomplished over the past five years during what was a tough economic climate.

They outlined those accomplishments Wednesday at a review of the five year strategic plan.

The atmosphere at Gulf Coast State College these days is a lot different from five years ago. College President, Dr. Jim Kerley, and others put together a five year strategic plan during a down economy, knowing a lot of it would not survive state budget cuts.

"We really went through some bad times, but yet we created some fabulous ideas and we had some pretty big goals and we've accomplished a lot of those. It's amazing how we've done that through this whole ordeal," said Dr. Jim Kerley, President of Gulf Coast State College.

Standing in front of his colleagues Wednesday, Dr. Kerley recounted several goals that became reality like 48 new options for associate and bachelor degrees and certificate programs.

The school became a state college and secured more than $20 million dollars in grants.

The Advanced Technology Center at Gulf Coast State College is one of their landmark accomplishments and officials say it's part of the future of the college.

"People are doing shopping online. People are doing more social networking online and so there's a lot of job opportunities in technology," said Elizabeth Ciccarelli, a student at Gulf Coast State College.

Dr. Kerley is also a strong supporter of funding for a new science, technology, engineering, and mathematics building.

"We're going to go with the legislature coming up to get that new facility, that new stem building and I think it's critical. We have a 55 year old building that's outdated, unsafe. It's not the right building for us," said Dr. Kerley.

Kerley will retire this spring at the end of the semester. The incoming president will create the new five year strategic plan in May.