OUR VIEW: Momentum building at LaGrange College

Published 11:30 am Saturday, September 10, 2022

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On today’s front page, we wrote a story detailing the information discussed in LaGrange College President Susanna Baxter’s State of the College address.

Baxter, speaking to a room of LaGrange College leaders and supporters, talked about how the college has welcomed in a large freshman class, and what that means for the future of the institution.

Like every other entity — education-focused or not — LaGrange College had some tough times right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. After bringing in 178 and 132 freshmen the last two years, LaGrange College welcomed in a new class of 226 students this fall. That’s not quite back to the 250-270 range, where the college was most years before the pandemic, but it’s still significant progress toward the enrollment we’d all like to see on the hill. It’s worthy of a celebration.

It’s impressive that Baxter didn’t just talk about the new freshman class in generalities. She spoke specifically about several students, detailing their journey to LaGrange College and what they hope to accomplish professionally. It’s clear she makes an effort to get out of her office and hear from students directly about how their day is going, what an internship was like and suggestions on new campus organizations. 

She spoke about students asking for LaGrange to develop into more of a college town — not Athens (a pipe dream) — but something more like Carrolton. She spoke with confidence that the city and college could partner together to make that happen, and then she showed pictures from a recent downtown scavenger hunt involving the freshmen class.

Baxter was dealt a tough hand. She came in right in the middle of this terrible pandemic, when there was a lot more unknown than known. 

There were questions about what would happen next. How would the college recover? It appears LaGrange College is well past the “recovery” stage now. Now, it’s on to the future, and leaning into this momentum to make it a very bright one. 

A lot of that credit should go to Baxter, whose leadership has helped LaGrange College overcome this huge pandemic hurdle in her first few years and again be in a position to be an attractive option to local and out-of-state students. 

With COVID somewhat in the background, and life relatively back to normal, there’s plenty to look forward to on the Hill.