If you ask Dr. Jann Joseph about her recent investiture as Georgia Gwinnett College’s third-ever president in the institution’s history, she’ll tell you it’s not about her.
It’s a celebration for friends and family. It’s a thank you to the people who had a part in getting her where she is. And, most of all, it’s a celebration of GGC.
“I have a great appreciation for the people that got me here, including the people who started GGC,” Joseph said. “We’re recognizing the contributions of those who made GGC a reality.”
Joseph was joined in the formal welcome ceremony Friday by GGC staff, administrators and others with the University System of Georgia including newly named Chancellor Dr. Sonny Perdue at the GGC campus.
While the investiture ceremony is for new presidents, Joseph is anything but new to the Lawrenceville higher ed institution. She became president at GGC back in July 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed her investiture – a ceremony typically held at the conclusion of the president’s first year in office.
And what exactly is an investiture?
One of the oldest traditions in academia, an investiture is a formal ceremony that confers authority and symbols of high office.
During the ceremony, Dr. Joseph spoke about the accomplishments of her past two and a half years at the institution, as well as the accomplishments of those at the helm before her and “how (GGC) has become a keystone of the Gwinnett community.”
Dr. Joseph was named third president of the institution in July 2019, taking the helm of a post previously held by Dr. Stanley C. “Stas” Preczewski and inaugural President Dr. Daniel J. Kaufman.
Another higher education leader, Richard Tucker, served on the Board of Regents, chairing the hiring committee that interviewed Joseph to become GGC president. He said Dr. Joseph has been a great choice from the start.
“She’s been a really great college president, has done well in pursuing the kinds of things she’s supposed to relative to educating the kids in her charge,” Tucker said. “She’s done a good job, she’s a good communicator and the community seems to have really embraced her.”
Joseph said she’s grateful for her time thus far at the college and is looking forward to the future of GGC.
“I get up every morning and I’m grateful – for the people, the mission of the campus, the students we serve, the community we are part of, and I remain just as excited about it – even more so – than when I first interviewed for the position.”
Joseph has spent her career working to increase educational opportunities for students.
Joseph was born in Trinidad, West Indies, as the youngest of five siblings. Although neither parent completed elementary school, they valued the power of education to transform lives for generations. Her parents’ encouragement and sacrifices inspired Joseph to serve in higher education.
Joseph graduated from the University of the West Indies – St. Augustine with a bachelor’s of science in agriculture in 1984 and a master’s of philosophy in plant science in 1989. Her education career started in 1990 as a teacher of agricultural science in Trinidad and Tobago.
In 1998, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a doctorate in curriculum and instruction in science education. Her teaching, research and administrative experience included positions at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti and Indiana University – South Bend, where she served as Executive Vice Chancellor and Interim Chancellor.
In spring 2019, Joseph was named president of Georgia Gwinnett College.
Joseph’s professional affiliations include a variety of state and regional education-focused organizations, several of which she served in leadership capacities. Her record of community service is similarly hallmarked by leadership and volunteerism.
She currently serves as chair of the University System of Georgia Council on General Education. Joseph also serves on the boards of: Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education, Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Hispanic Chamber, Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, Rainbow Village, Rowen Foundation and The Water Tower at Gwinnett.