Steve McKibbon: Developing Education

Brenau Trustee Steve McKibbonAs a second-generation Brenau trustee, born and raised in Gainesville, Ga., Steve P. McKibbon says he always knew about the college in his community. His first vivid memory of the educational possibilities available, however, dates to his 14th year when his father, Jack, was still on the board: Steve took scuba diving lessons in the Brenau pool.

As McKibbon takes his place as a board member this year, Brenau is about to make something of a leap of faith into the deep end as it initiates a multi-generation lease for the city-owned convention and entertainment venue. The university plans to convert the facility into a home for vastly expanding graduate health care programs. That is just fine with McKibbon.

“The Georgia Mountains Center was a huge drain of taxpayer funds, so the repurposing will be a win-win for everyone – the city, the university and the downtown area,” McKibbon says. “Health science is an area of our economy that will continue to grow. As a trustee, I want to see an expansion of all our health sciences programs to accommodate that.”

“Steve is an exceptionally astute business person, and he brings a plethora of skills to the board,” says Trustees Chairman Pete Miller. “He’ll help the university continue on its course of sound financial management and good decision-making.”

McKibbon, who currently is a real estate developer, graduated from Florida State University, but married a Brenau woman, his high school sweetheart Gale Cramer McKibbon, WC ’81. He began his career in the family hotel development and management business, where in part he focused on updating phone systems. That led to his establishment of a successful telecommunications venture, which he sold in 1999. With two sons, Price and Ross, the McKibbons relocated with Gale’s sister’s family to Costa Rica – to expose the boys to life outside the United States. The education continued when the family relocated to Malta in 2003 to experience the 7,000-year-old melting pot culture of that Mediterranean Island crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

The boys were able to make an easy transition from there to higher education in Britain. McKibbon’s “only regret” is that, while Price has come back home to Murrayville, Ga., Ross remains abroad.

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