MGA Names Conference Center After Robert F. Hatcher Sr.

Sheron Smith

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Middle Georgia State University announced at a ceremony on Monday, November 27, that the conference center located on the University’s Macon Campus would be named in honor of longtime MGA supporter Robert F. Hatcher Sr.

Hatcher, formerly chair of the Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia, has long been known in central Georgia for his support of community development, particularly in the area of education. During his tenure with the Board of Regents, he was part of the team responsible for envisioning the consolidation of Macon State College and Middle Georgia College into what is now Middle Georgia State University. He and his family have been frequent contributors to the University, and offered what University president Christopher Blake referred to as a “transformational” gift during the University’s Building a Legacy of Greatness Campaign.

“When Bob Hatcher and his family support you,” said Blake during the ceremony, “they make sure that their support will make a difference.”

Hatcher currently serves on the President’s Advisory Board and is the Chair of the University’s Building a Legacy of Greatness Campaign.

Blake was only one of several members of the community who spoke in honor of Hatcher’s accomplishments and philanthropy. Chris Sheridan, chair of Sheridan Construction, also gave short remarks, as did current dual-enrolled MGA student Michael Koohang, representing the University’s student body. Also featured was Kathryn Dennis, president of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.

“I hope each of you has a Bob Hatcher in your life,” said Dennis.

The short presentation featured a brief overview of the service that Hatcher has provided to Middle Georgia, and highlighted his dedication to the University’s mission of providing accessible and affordable education to the region. A short video produced in 2015, when Hatcher was presented with the MGA Foundation’s “Legacy of Leadership” award, was shown.

The Robert F. Hatcher Sr. Conference Center opened on the Macon Campus in 2009. Since then, it has hosted between 400 and 450 national, regional, and local conferences and conventions each year.
“This conference center,” Blake said, “helps Middle Georgia State inhabit the public square that a university should inhabit.”

Following the presentation, Hatcher took the podium. In his remarks, he thanked his wife and family, the faculty and staff of the University, and his fellow community members for supporting MGA in both its current and past iterations.

“A great University is being built here,” he said, commenting on the importance of the role of affordable higher education in the region. “Teaching and learning are so important,” he said, “and so is community support.” He spoke briefly about his efforts to grow the University within the community, and his work as both a Regent of the University System and as an individual supporter of MGA. He looked back to the initial conversations with his fellow Regents and the chancellor which led to the consolidation of Macon State College and Middle Georgia College.

“I was very careful to say that the new institution must be a university,” he remembered. Working to bring MGA to its current role within the region “has been a huge effort with a very large team,” he said. “I am proud to be a part of the community of support for this institution.”