The new president of Middle Georgia State College has arrived and is in the midst of his first full week on the job.
Christopher Blake is the first permanent head of the newly consolidated institution that combines the former Middle George College with Macon State College.
The next step for the institution of more than 8,000 undergraduates is to add graduate programs and become a university, he said. The Georgia Board of Regents approved MGSC's path toward university status in 2012.
"There was once a time in America where a high school diploma was sufficient for a career," Blake said.
"We’re living in a century now where even the baccalaureate degree is only going to be a gateway to yet further education at the advanced level, and that’s the place that universities can step into."
Blake declined to say in which disciplines he might add graduate programs, apart from business. He plans to engage a college-wide discussion on the topic, he said.
The British-born administrator was formerly president of Mount Mercy University in Iowa, which he also transitioned from college status.
Blake's experience in private education will help at Middle Georgia State, he said, which has struggled with dwindling state support.
"We always will rely on having a vision from the state, having a sense of what it means to be a state institution," he said. "But at the same time every institution has to stand on its own feet and be self-sufficient and sustainable to some extent."
Adding graduate programs could help attract research grants to the institution, Blake said.