Community Bids Bon Voyage to Retiring CTC President

May 17, 2013:  The lawn at the Wright Health Sciences Center at Columbus Technical College was packed with well-wishers on Friday, May 17 for a grand send-off event for retiring college President Bob Jones. Community leaders, elected officials, friends, family, co-workers, and even members of the State system office came to President Jones’ stomping ground to shake his hand and say good luck. The casual retirement party incorporated a nautical theme; Bob Jones is a big boats-man who looks forward to navigating plenty of friendly seas when his retirement is official on July 1, 2013. After dining on a barbecue lunch with all the fixin’s, including several desserts, a brief program was held featuring representatives from the Columbus Technical College Foundation, College Vice-Presidents, the College’s Local Board, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, and the Local Delegation.

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Guests to Bob Jones’ retirement party wait in line to sign a guest book.

 

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The party had a fun nautical theme.

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President Jones being interviewed by the local media (right cameraman) and Brandon Thornton with the college’s Community & College Relations Dept.

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There was a steady line of party-goers from the 11:00AM start time.

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(left to right) Dr. Robert L. Wright, Jr., President Bob Jones, and community leader Charles Clark.

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“Ms. Pat” Jones (President Jones’ better half) was full of hugs, smiles, and appreciation for the guests!

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Several Columbus Tech staffers brought their little ones to the family-friendly event. Pictured are James Hogan/Database Administrator, John Lipham/Major Appliance Technology Program Director, and Mark Komendantov/Application Development Specialist. Lipham’s granddaughter, Skylar, and Hogan’s son, James IV, enjoy having someone their age to play with.

State Senator Ed Harbison recalled working in the trenches with President Jones and called him a man you can trust and one who “doesn’t give up very easily!” The Senator was referring to the repeated efforts by Jones to secure State funding for Columbus Technical College.

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Georgia Senator Ed Harbison talked about President Jones’ gentle leadership mixed with tenacity.

 

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John Pritchett with the college’s Local Board of Directors took a few minutes to honor Mr. Jones with an Irish blessing.

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Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, Mike Gaymon, remarked on how Columbus Tech has become an invaluable asset in economic development and career training in our region.

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Deputy Commissioner for the Technical College System of Georgia, Dr. Josephine Reed-Taylor, started her comments with an inside joke between her and Mr. Jones.

Vice-Chair of Columbus Technical College Foundation, Inc., Jean Hartin, and Columbus Tech Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Linn Storey, surprised Mr. Jones with a Student Support grant named in his honor. The grant provides seed money in the amount of $25,000 from existing reserve funds. Disbursements may begin in Fall semester of 2013.

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Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Linn Storey, hugs Mr. Jones after co-presenting a support grant in his honor.

The most emotional part of the program came when 88-year-old lead custodian for Columbus Technical College, Charles “Mr. Mac” McCaulley, approached the stage and presented President Jones with a heartfelt hug and a fishing pole so he could “drown some worms in his spare time.”

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Lead custodian Charles “Mr. Mac” McCaulley presented Mr. Jones with a new fishing pole for his soon-to-be many boat and fishing trips.

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(left to right) Columbus Tech retiree Christine Dawson, Exec. Asst. to Mr. Jones Barbara Burnett, VP of Student Affairs Tara Askew, Dean of General Studies and Business, Abby Carter, Computer Support Specialist Program Dir. Melody Johnson, and Exec. VP Betty Jackson.

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Close to 200 people enjoyed the “Bon Voyage” retirement party for President Bob Jones.

Bob Jones has been president of Columbus Tech for 15 years and was instrumental in seeing the physical growth of the college’s campus as well as increasing student enrollment from less than 2,000 per year to more than 6,000. A successor for President Jones is scheduled to be announced at the next State Board meeting of the Technical College System of Georgia.