America’s academic institutions have to pay attention to the economy. The national and local economies, after all, determine the size of the institution’s endowment, how much students can spend to attend school, the job prospects of graduates, and, in the case of public institutions, the amount the college can expect form the state.
But is there such thing as too much attention to economics? One Georgia college is apparently moving across the state due to the location of an automobile factory. According to an article in the Newnan Times-Herald:
The college announced in a press release that it is relocating its traditional campus from East Point to West Point, Ga., to expand its capacity and athletic offerings. It will relocate its traditional campus in fall 2012…. The college also announced that it will expand its athletic programs to include club football, softball and cross country in 2011 and hopes to compete in the NAIA in football in 2012.
In addition to its relocation to West Point, Atlanta Christian College announced to students that it is changing its name to Point University as of July 1. Point University’s first semester of classes in West Point, the city at the Georgia-Alabama state line that is now home to the new Kia Manufacturing, will be in fall 2012.
That’s 75 miles away. The school has also, somewhat inexplicably, changed its mascot from the Charger to the Skyhawk. According to a recent piece by Paul Fain in Inside Higher Ed:
[Atlanta Christian College officials say] the massive Kia plant, which opened last year and will soon employ 3,000 workers, helped nudge West Point to the top of a list of 12 cities vying for the campus.
“We looked at a lot of small towns that look like college towns without a college,” says Dean Collins, Point’s president since 2006. A Georgia Institute of Technology study found that the Kia plant would be a major economic boon for West Point, and Collins liked the idea of moving “our little college into this community, while prices are still low.”
Atlanta Christian College was founded in 1937 by Judge Thomas Olin Hathcock. The college was originally located on his farm and existed primarily to devoted train ministers and missionaries.
The opinion of executives at Kia, a South Korean company that manufactures down-market vehicles, about this change was not recorded.