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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Ferrum College's president is a visionary leader

Friday, June 22, 2012

It is no coincidence that Dr. Jennifer Braaten is in her 10th year as Ferrum College's president and those 10 years have been nothing short of incredible for the college. Through her leadership and vision, enrollment has jumped from 950 to more than 1,500, four new residence halls have been built, and the new Hank Norton Athletic Center was recently completed.

Those are major positive changes, but there have been many others, including 17 new and renovated classrooms, seven new or renovated laboratories, 28 new or renovated faculty offices and the addition of two restaurants -- Papa John's and Starbucks. Of course, in order to handle the growth, the college has seen a 30 percent increase in faculty and staff.

And the college is becoming more and more well known for the quality of its academic programs.

Considering these changes, it should be no surprise that a recent study found that Ferrum College's economic impact in Franklin County and region has topped $93 million a year. That is huge, and it will most likely keep increasing as the college continues its growth.

Bigger is not always better, but in Ferrum College's case, it is indeed better. One of the main reasons is that Dr. Braaten's vision for the college is clear and precise, taking one logical step after another. If something is needed, it is done right. Improvements at the college reflect the needs of students and their families, and Dr. Braaten is quick to add that the community and county are always part of the equation.

That equation has meant the improvements at the college have been done by local contractors as much as possible. In fact, the residence halls were constructed by Mod-U-Kraf and are now being used as models on other campuses.

Ferrum College is entering its 100th year in 2013, and Dr. Braaten is leading the college into this milestone with a decade of tremendous growth that, either directly or indirectly, has had and will continue to have a positive impact on most Franklin County residents.

We are very fortunate to have such a dynamic and visionary leader at the helm of Ferrum College, and the college enters its centennial year on the crest of a wave of growth and excitement.

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