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Georgia College graduates four generations

A family heritage spanning four generations has Georgia College to thank. From business to education to management information systems to nursing, the Strickland’s have experienced Georgia College successes first, second, third and fourth hand.

It all began with Cat, Garner and Jon Strickland’s great grandmother Catherine Cline Garner, '34, and grandmother Martha G. Kingery, '89. Through the years, both women expressed their satisfaction to the family about the university. It was those stories that solidified each of the Strickland family member’s choice to attend Georgia College.

For over 70 years, one thing that remained at Georgia College was the small class sizes and personable instruction.

“I liked the community of the professors in the business school,” said Bill Strickland, ’89, who is vice president of Finance for UPS Asian Pacific and has been with the company for 28 years. “The class sizes were small, and everyone was very accessible. It was a comfortable environment.”

As a business major, he especially liked the liberal arts experience he gained from attending Georgia College.

Left to right: Jon, Bill, Cat, Garner and Kathy Strickland

“I learned how to write,” said Bill. “Although it’s not a hard business skill, it’s essential in the workplace.”

Bill’s wife Cathy Parker Strickland, ’89, has been working as a registered nurse for 26 years. As a member of the Georgia College Nursing Honor Society, she credits her successful career, especially in the beginning, to the university.

“Transitioning from a full-time college student to having to support yourself can be intimidating,” Catherine said. “When I graduated from Georgia College, I felt completely prepared to go out and start a nursing career. I just stepped right into it.”

One of the strong highlights of the Georgia College nursing program is to work abroad and in the local community.

“The nursing program here was just phenomenal,” she said. “The experiences they offered us were incredible.”

For one year, Cathy and her sisters attended Georgia College at the same time their mother Martha did. Since then, she and Bill’s children have attended, are attending and will be attending Georgia College.

Garner Strickland, ’15, the eldest son, remembers staying with his grandmother during the summers while he attended Georgia College.  

“I have a lot of family members who live around here, and that’s significant to me,” he said. “The size of the school was also important. I got accepted to the University of Georgia originally, but went here instead because of the large size of UGA. My classes at Georgia College were within a block of each other.”

The Georgia College tradition was important to Garner.

“I wanted to carry on the tradition that’s bigger than me, Jon and Cat,” said Garner. “Attending Georgia College is a multigenerational privilege.”

He looks back at his operations management class, which was one of the hardest classes he took and describes it as a “stepping stone” toward his education and professional career.

“Georgia College has fully prepared me for the career I’m in,” he said. “It made me the person I am today.”

Prior to becoming a logistics manager for Central Garden & Pet in Madison, Georgia, Garner was an intern for four months while he was a student.  

“The Georgia College Career Center played a pivotal role as the bridge that brought this company and myself together,” Garner said. “I’m still involved with Georgia College by doing career fairs and speaking to classes. It’s been a great experience.”

Jon Strickland is a senior at Georgia College majoring in management information systems. He also works as a student technology assistant at the Ina Dillard Russell Library.

“I enjoy working with technology like the 3-D printers,” he said. “It’s fun seeing my friends and helping them with computers. I feel really involved in helping the student body in the library.”

After graduation, Jon’s goal is to land a job in database administration or IT consulting.

“I grew up hearing the stories about Georgia College from my brothers,” said Cat Strickland, who plans to begin majoring in early childhood education and join a sorority in the fall. “So, going here is a no brainer.”

Bill and Cathy are supportive of their children’s educational choice.

“I’m very proud that our three children chose to come here on their own,” said Bill. “We never strongly encouraged them to attend Georgia College. It’s just a gravitational pull that made them come here.”

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