State of the University 2024: MGA President Asserts Institution Is Stronger Than Ever

Author: Sheron Smith
Posted: Monday, January 29, 2024 12:00 AM
Categories: School of Aviation | School of Arts and Letters | Faculty/Staff | Students | School of Computing | School of Education and Behavioral Sciences | Pressroom | School of Business | School of Health and Natural Sciences

Macon, GA

Image by Tyler White.

With enrollment still going up, public and private resources increasing, and key initiatives coming to fruition, Middle Georgia State University (MGA) stands ready for expansion, as highlighted by President Christopher Blake in his 2024 State of the University speech. 

Addressing a live and virtual audience from the new Center for Middle Georgia Studies in the Macon Campus library, Blake talked about these key areas: MGA’s vital signs and statistics; the University’s “four buckets” filled with initiatives outlined in a vital strategic plan; effective engagement and collaboration; and a new mission statement, which reads, 

Middle Georgia State University educates and graduates inspired, lifelong learners whose scholarship and careers enhance the region and the state. 

“I don’t believe we’ve ever been as strong as we are today,” said Blake, who gave his annual address on Thursday, Jan. 25.  

In his “Where We Stand” section of the State of the University, Blake noted: 

  • MGA’s enrollment continues to climb. While numbers for this spring semester are not final, undergraduate enrollment is on track to see a 3 percent increase. In Fall 2023, MGA saw a 4.6 percent increase in student enrollment, which was higher than the state university sector average and above the University System of Georgia (USG) as a whole. Enrollment in graduate programs increased nearly 28 percent.  
  • The second of three annual steps in an undergraduate tuition adjustment for MGA took place this fiscal year, giving the University additional resources to enhance services and increase the number and quality of on-campus activities for students. “Students have appreciated that we’ve been able to (use the additional resources) to add 19 new positions around student success and support,” said Blake. The Board of Regents of the USG approved the adjustment plan two years ago to align MGA’s tuition rate with other Georgia public institutions that are classified as state universities. The third, and final, adjustment is planned for next year, but MGA will still retain the lowest tuition cost for the sector. 
  • Support from the Georgia governor and state legislature has led to funding allowing MGA to expand the School of Aviation, based on the Eastman Campus, and healthcare degree programs on the Dublin Campus. MGA is requesting additional funding this legislative session to expand the number of students in aircraft maintenance programs and enhance dispatch and other facilities for flight students on the Eastman Campus. 
  • Other investments have allowed MGA to transform the Cochran Campus tennis courts into pickleball courts used by students and the community and renovate the tennis courts on the Macon Campus, where the Knights intercollegiate tennis teams compete.  

In discussing MGA’s strategic plan, titled “Middle Georgia’s Path To Excellence,” Blake noted: 

  • The “four buckets” of the strategic plan are to champion student success; lead innovation and economic opportunity; build campus culture and identity; and sustain fiscal resilience and brand value. (See 
  • An example of championing student success is an expansion of residential programming. The USG chancellor, Sonny Perdue, has shown support for MGA to renovate most residential units at University Pointe on the Macon Campus. Another example is growing student engagement at all levels. Data from this past fall shows that MGA offered more activities and more students participated. 
  • An example of building campus culture and identity is the enhancement of Knights athletics, which has been invited to join the Peach Belt Conference pending admission into NCAA Division II. These steps will transform the athletics program in major ways. 

In his section addressing engagement, connectivity, and collaborating, Blake noted: 

  • The chancellor has challenged him and MGA to enhance engagement for undergraduates, boost residential student communities, and increase enrollment and opportunities at the Warner Robins Campus. 
  • The University will find ways for MGA deans and faculty to spend more time on other campuses besides the one where they are primarily based, thus improving communication and cohesiveness across the five campuses. 

Other items of note Blake mentioned: 

  •  Since the end of MGA’s last record-breaking private fundraising campaign of $11.6 million, the University’s next campaign has raised $9.3 million before its official launch, demonstrating increasing willingness for benefactors to invest in MGA. 
  • The foundation for MGA’s ongoing success has been building in the last decade as the University as conferred 13,000 degrees and certificates; increased the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded annually by 60 percent; launched graduate education (which has shown tremendous growth); enhanced dashboard and data gathering; and approved a new mission statement.  

“Our path to excellence continues,” Blake said. “It is not a path without challenges, but I am confident that we are ready for the challenges ahead.” 

Watch Blake’s entire 2024 State of the University address at