Decision to Leave Georgia Gwinnett was Not an Easy One Says Kaufman
"Opportunities have come along that wouldn’t have come along," GGC President Dr. Daniel Kaufman told Lawrenceville Patch as he reflects on his tenure at the college and his decision to take the position of President and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber.
The news is still new to Georgia Gwinnett College and the Lawrenceville community.
GGC’s charter president, Dr. Daniel Kaufman, announced late Thursday afternoon he is stepping down. His last day will be June 30th. On July 1st, Kaufman begins his new role as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.
Lawrenceville Patch spoke with Kaufman via phone Friday morning about his decision to leave GGC before he left on a pre-planned trip. Kaufman said it was by no means an easy decision to make.
“Opportunities have come along that wouldn’t have come along. As the opportunity at the Chamber became known to me, I thought ‘well, would I be interested?’ and I said ‘no,’” said Kaufman thinking about the educational opportunities for the young people in and around Gwinnett and all he has done so far with the Lawrenceville college.
“Then I thought about it, it occurs to me that the Chamber really is a unique platform in the Gwinnett community where you can bring all the different parts of that community together,” continued Kaufman citing the opportunities for government, healthcare, business, arts and educational outlets to all work as one. “It occurs to me that that’s an opportunity that I probably couldn’t pass up.”
“It really is the unique place that the Chamber occupies in our community that was the attraction and frankly is what led me to decide to apply for the job.”
While excited about his new role at the Chamber, Kaufman says he will miss the people at the college the most.
“The students understand the opportunity they’ve been given to really change their life and their family’s life. They work hard to make the most of the opportunity,” said Kaufman. “The faculty and staff are dedicated to helping them succeed. And so everyone’s pulling in the same direction. People have a common sense of vision of what we want to do. It really is transformational for those people’s lives.”
The current college President has a lot of great memories about GGC, but one especially brings a particular smile to his voice. “Back when we first started, of course we were selling a product that didn’t exist,” said Kaufman, chuckling and thinking back to 2005. “I remember sitting out at the Mall of Georgia. We set up a booth next to the food court down on the first floor of the Mall of Georgia. I was talking to people about this college they’d never heard of. We spent most of our time directing people to the ladies room. But we were all there. We took our time in the booth. It was one of those experiences that helps build a team.”
“As you look at the beautiful campus we’re privileged to have now and think about it was just trees when we started. Trees and kudzu,” Kaufman remarked. “So the opportunity to build something that you’re proud of and people and the community is proud of, that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Kaufman’s time at the college was a learning experience for him as well. “It reinforced in my mind the importance of having a strong vision of what you want to do,” he said. “As Lewis Carrol said in Alice in Wonderland, ‘If you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there.’