Soon the Ferrum College Football Report will begin covering it's fifth season of Ferrum football. Over this short period of time, the football program has experienced two significant changes.
1. The retirement of Ferrun's fifth head coach Dave Davis, followed by the hiring of the sixth head coach David Harper.
2. The construction of and grand opening of the Hank Norton Center.
While the center is not just designed to serve football, this writer expects that the facility, will in most peoples minds, be considered a football first facility. I doubt that this is a particularly rash assumption, based on who it is named in honor of.
These developments are just two of many amazing stories that have recently come from the 700 acre campus in western Franklin County. I know that I cannot detail every one of them, but I will try to highlight just a few:
Development of Men's Lacrosse program
Development of Women's Swimming program
Construction of four new dormitories
Introduction of Papa John's Pizza on campus....(if you don't think it's a big deal, you should have been there between 1978 and 1982. It was a huge deal when a Pizza Hut opened in Rocky Mount.)
Starbucks on Campus
Subway Restaurant on Campus
Renovations to many of the academic and administrative buildings
Renovations and expansion of the Blue Ridge Farm Museum
Tri Area Health Center
Partnership with the YMCA to expand the college fitness center and in the process make it a YMCA that the public can use.
Renovations and upgrades to Swartz Gymnasium
Reintroduction of Wrestling as the 17th intercollegiate sport
To put it simply, these are amazing times for Ferrum College. The developments listed above are just some of the important changes that have taken place at Ferrum. The college is thriving, and the phenomenal progressive ride is being steered by Dr. Jennifer Braaten. Described as a visionary in a recent article in the Franklin News Post, Dr. Braaten took the reigns in 2002, and over the last 10 years has shown steadfast commitment toward making Ferrum a top notch 21st century college.
It is truly astonishing to see the changes that have taken place on the campus, and while I am sure that Dr. Braaten would do all she could to give credit to Alumni, Friends of the College, the Board of Trustees, and the colleges devoted faculty and staff, and while all of these have been huge contributors to the excellent work that has been done, make no mistake that, in my opinion, the credit goes to Dr Braaten.
As Ferrum's 100th anniversiary approaches, I anticipate the renaissance that Ferrum has seen on campus to continue, and I look for Dr. Braaten to stay the course and come up with more major initiatives before riding off into the sunset.