MILLEDGEVILLE — Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV officially began work at Georgia Military College Friday as the 21st president in the school’s 134-year history, retiring from the U.S. Army after 37 years of service.
“I’m now part of the team and the transition period is over,” Caldwell said excitingly Friday afternoon. “I’m privileged to have the opportunity to be able to serve with such talented faculty and staff at a school with a true tradition of excellence.”
Caldwell says his first order of business will be to learn all he can about the school’s programs and services, then turn his attention to developing plans and priorities.
“This school is doing exceptionally well as far as [former GMC president] Maj. Gen. Peter Boylan, and the team did to get us through the last 21 years. I plan to continue on the same path that they’ve set because it has in fact enabled this school to grow and provide a good quality education for the men and women who go to school here. They’ve built such a great foundation, and we want to build on that and look for new opportunities for the school,” Caldwell said. “There’s no reason we cannot continue to grow at campuses in each of our locations. We will sustain what we have, look for new opportunities for growth, expand our presence and continue to assess our programs to make sure it’s still what young men and women want.”
Caldwell plans to meet with nearly 30 senior staff members from all GMC campuses across the state to engage in dialogue Monday morning.
“I will meet with vice presidents and key directors, and bring in our directors from around the state online. I will share with them my operating style and how I want to interact together and function as a team,” he said. “I have visited all of the campuses and met with all directors and administrators. Col. Fred Van Horn did a phenomenal job in terms of leading the college and preparing me for this position. I’m as well prepared for the assumption of my duties as ever before.”
A Columbus, Ga. native, Caldwell moved to Milledgeville with wife, Stephanie, and their three children in July. The Caldwells have successfully adjusted to their new hometown and school family.
“Our son Will, a ninth-grader at [GMC], loves the idea of being able to go hunting and fishing. Anna, our seventh-grader here, loves the academics here and small class sizes. She gets why there’s a consistency of uniform and likes that she can display academic excellence on it,” he said of his family. “Hudson is in fifth grade at Creekside Elementary School and he already has a team of about six boys who are determined to all go to GMC next year. Stephanie is an ordained Methodist minister and she’s really enjoying Milledgeville because of the people here.”
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.
Most recently, the highly decorated officer was the commanding general of the U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) and senior U.S. Army commander of Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Prior to his assignment at Fort Sam Houston, Caldwell served for two years as the commander of the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan, and simultaneously as the commander of Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan.
“I’m blessed by God I got selected and now I have the opportunity to serve at Georgia Military College. I recognize I’m here to serve others to ensure that we, collectively as a team, provide the best quality education that can be done so students can say, ‘I’m glad I went to GMC and it really prepared me for the life ahead,’” Caldwell said. “I’m excited to be part of this institution; I love being in the educational field because it’s so important to the future of America.”
Caldwell was selected by GMC’s Board of Trustees in February to succeed former president Maj. Gen. Boylan, who now holds the position of president emeritus.
“Lt. Gen. Caldwell brings a breadth and depth of experience that qualifies him uniquely for this position,” said Randy New, chair of the search committee and chair of the GMC Board of Trustees. “We’re delighted to have him on board and eager to work with him to take GMC into the next chapter of its history.”
A retirement and induction ceremony for Caldwell is slated at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 on Grant Parade. The public is invited.
“I can’t think of anything that’s more satisfying to me than to be part of Georgia Military College. Every morning I wake up and have a passion for what I’m doing everyday because I’m around the enthusiasm of these young men and women at the junior college and prep school,” Caldwell said. “Being in an organization that has a mission to make a difference in the lives of young people is extremely gratifying to me and I look forward to building on GMC’s commitment to character development and ethics.”
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