Dr. Tommy Davis, president of EMCC, is gearing up for another semester, but when classes start on Monday, there will be more students than ever before.
“We've grown from 15th place in enrollment in the state to 6th among the 15 community colleges," says Davis.
For 13 years, Davis has been leading EMCC to become the fastest growing community college in the state. Now the U.S. Department of Education and Community College Week has ranked it nationally.
With nearly 4,000 students and 13.6 percent growth between 2001 and 2002, EMCC was ranked 32nd among the nation's top 50 fastest growing community colleges.
"We've begun an aggressive recruiting campaign. We began telling the positive rather than the negative things. We have our faculty calling prospective students and writing letters to prospective students. And you know success builds success," says Davis.
This one year's record growth has been a long time in the making. In 1990, the state threatened to close EMCC. At that time, it had just over a thousand students. Today that number has almost tripled, a benefit to the school and a benefit to the community.
"The growth, it means they have new programs we can expand and reach out to even more industries," says Mike McGrevey of the Kemper County Economic Development Authority.
By all accounts, industry will have access to top quality employees from EMCC's graduates.
In the past three years, three students from EMCC have been ranked as top academic students in the nation by USA Today, signifying that both quantity and quality are on the rise at EMCC.