A few thoughts on Armstrong’s evolution

I taught part-time at Armstrong Atlantic State University for five years beginning in 2000, and then I slipped into a fulltime temporary instructor slot beginning in 2006. A few days ago, I was offered and accepted that same position without the word “temporary.” So it looks like I’m going to be teaching English there for the foreseeable future, as well as become more involved with the English Communications program.

I can’t even begin to say how radically different Armstrong is than in 2000. While there was certainly campus life of note a decade ago, the almost complete lack of residential students severely limited the activity and the energy of the campus.

Now there are 1,500 students living on campus and a gorgeous new Student Union, which was probably the most important public building completed in Chatham County in 2010. That’s the Student Union pictured on the cover of the most recent Armstrong magazine. Despite the dramatic changes on campus, I routinely talk to locals who seem shocked when I tell them about the dormitories and about the diversity of the student body. After a planning meeting for the magazine last fall, I was asked to write a freelance piece chronicling some of these dramatic changes. You can read that piece and see the entire Spring 2011 Armstrong magazine here.

Since the magazine came out, Armstrong has received an $870,000 grant from the Goizueta Foundation “to support a comprehensive Latino outreach, recruitment, progression and graduation initiative on campus.” And Connect Savannah’s Best Of 2011 readers’ poll chose Armstrong tennis as Best Local College Sports Team. The issue includes a great write-up by Jim Morekis, which begins:

One of Savannah’s best-kept secrets is the fact that Armstrong Atlantic State University has a couple of awesome tennis teams.

And by “awesome” we mean AWESOME.

AASU women have won the Division II national tennis championship four times – including an amazing three-peat from 2008-2010. That’s Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers territory, folks.

Men’s tennis is right behind them, with two national championships under their belts.

In 2008, the men’s and women’s team both won national championships in the same year.

Savannahians rightly talk a lot about the growth of SCAD and the college’s impact on the city in recent decades. But Armstrong has changed and grown dramatically in that same time period too; it would be nice if more people realized it.