Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV is in the midst of learning the ins and outs of Georgia Military College before he assumes his responsibilities as the institution’s 21st president. While learning about day-to-day operations and visiting GMC campuses throughout the state under the wing of GMC Interim President Col. Fred Van Horn, Caldwell plans to progress GMC’s rich history, traditions and legacy far beyond the 21st century.
“I had wonderful job offers from other places, but from our family perspective ... we wanted to find a place where we could feel a sense of involvement within the community and make a difference in lives. Milledgeville has really provided that,” Caldwell said. “We’ve never really had a home because I come from a military family, so we’ve never planted our roots anywhere. This is our first opportunity to plant our roots in the ground, and we’re really excited about being able to do that.”
Caldwell will officially assume duties as president in early October after his retirement from the U.S. Army following 37 years of service. He currently serves as the commanding general of the U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
“By the time I come on board officially, it will have been 100 days with the Incoming President’s Orientation Program. One thing I will do is sustain Georgia Military College’s character development; that’s the strength of this whole institution at the prep school and college,” Caldwell said. “I’m getting to know folks and learning what the challenges are from their perspective, so I know how I can best fit in with the team to help move all of us forward. I would hope that after the first year, people see me as a very open and transparent person who wants to be part of a team that wants to succeed and make a difference.”
Also serving as a parent of three children, two of which attend the prep school and one at Creekside Elementary School, Caldwell said he now has the opportunity to be more involved in his children’s lives than ever before.
“I never had the opportunity to be involved as much as I’m going to be involved because of the military. I’ve missed parts of [my children’s] lives and now there’s a chance to be part of their life as a father. I look at Georgia Military College as an incoming president, but also as a prep school parent, so I think that gives me a unique insight,” Caldwell said. “We’re very fortunate that in the prep school it has kept the traditions of what the military is about — service to others and service to the nation. You can go into any classroom in the prep school and students are very courteous and respectful. I think GMC has really struck the balance of history and traditions associated with this institution to provide learning to each boy and girl; that’s pretty exciting to watch and see.”
Caldwell graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1976. He earned master’s degrees from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and from the School for Advanced Military Studies at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Caldwell also attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as a senior service college fellow, and also served as a White House Fellow, one of America’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service.
His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze Star, Humanitarian Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Presidential Service Identification Badge, Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge and Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge.
“I’ve always believed God gives us many gifts and our mission in life is to figure out how to help others using those gifts,” Caldwell said. “I will take my background and experiences to ... meld that in helping this college continue to grow, develop and be a key part of the Georgia education system.”