LTC James Corbin and his wife Chassie Wade.

LTC James Corbin, an alumnus of UNG’s PSIA Department, will begin his new role as Director of Development for the Corps of Cadets, starting September 1, 2020. Corbin graduated from UNG with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Leadership. After he graduated, he immediately went into active duty, where he was deployed three times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a platoon leader, S4, and Company Commander.

In 2013, Corbin transitioned into the National Guard, where he currently serves in the G3. The G3 focuses on how you train, mobilize, equip and provide forces for all of the various operations needed all over the state and all over the world. He was recently called upon in support of the state’s COVID response and once again to protect the protestors and property of civilians during this uncertain time. Corbin notes that National Guard Soldiers have dual status that allows them to called up for domestic response but also overseas in a federal role to places like Afghanistan, Iraq, all over the world. Corbin has also been sent to The Kingdom of Jordan and the Republic of Georgia during his time in the National Guard.

Before transitioning to his role at UNG, James worked at Riverside Military Academy, an independent 7-12 all boys boarding school in Gainesville. At Riverside, he was the Vice President for Enrollment Management, where he oversaw all aspects of the admissions funnel – from marketing, to admissions, financial aid, student affairs and institutional research. He helped the Academy to set modern enrollment records and notes that, “at some point, they had well over 550 students from 30 countries and 30 states at the school. The goal was to get students enrolled and re-enrolled.”

How His Experiences at UNG Shaped His World View

Corbin says, “I was always interested in the ideas of power, influence and choice and how we make decisions. I think that the professors there at the time forced you to think a little deeper than how you were raised and to consider the driving factors behind why people do what they do. And to understand that our communities and our nation and our world are pretty complex and there are no simple solutions. Policy making is a competition over value and resources. Somebody always wins and somebody always loses when resources are allocated, and all that helped shaped my world view.”

About seven months after he graduated, he was deployed into Iraq during a Shiite uprising in a very sensitive city and he had to interact with the population there constantly. He notes that “UNG helped me to deal with people and challenges and to be able to think through the essence of what people need: safety, security, protection, schools, access to food and clean water – essentials of life and survival. You have to take care of that stuff before you can get into the more nuanced governance issues of a country.” At UNG, he began to understand “the basics of trying to provide for a society and that most people want the same things when it’s all said and done. My experience at North Georgia definitely helped frame that world view.”

At UNG, he enjoyed studying about the European Union and international relations. He thoroughly liked his classes with Dr. Armstrong Williams. He also took a summer class about law and society, where the professor used old 1950s films to explain equity and justice.

He recalls that his professors took care of him and helped him to stay on track to commissioning. They were always there for him and he has stayed in touch with Dr. Armstrong Williams for years. He said that her mentorship was invaluable. He came to UNG when he was older, 23, on an ROTC scholarship and she helped to make sure he had a good plan of study. He had to graduate on time because the Army was not going to wait.

His New Role

The Director of Development is the chief fundraising person for the Corps of Cadets. His job will be to look for people who will participate “to contribute time, treasure, testimony and talent. The Corps is a special part of what makes North Georgia unique; it creates military leaders, government leaders and business leaders every day.”

He will engage alumni, friends and others so they stay involved and are connected to support the needs of the Corps. Like many programs, the needs of the Corps are not fully supported by the state or federal dollars, so there needs to be philanthropic efforts. Corbin notes that in order to “take a program to the next level, there will certainly be gaps between what is needed and what is available, and my job will be to help try to fill those gaps through philanthropy, volunteering and other means of participation.”

Corbin says, “I’m really excited. It’s been 20 years since I stepped foot on Dahlonega’s campus for the first time as a FROG and it’s crazy to think that now I’m coming back to support the Corps in another way. It’s a really important role and I’m excited about it.”

Of his new role, someone encouraged him to apply for the position. He was happy at Riverside but says that “professionally, it’s good to stretch yourself and to be challenged and to not say no immediately to opportunities. The culture felt right, everything felt right about it.” He got to meet other key leaders and Development Officers during the interview process, including Jeff Tarnowski, Vice President for University Advancement, and he says, “I really just felt like I fit.”

“It’s a good time for me to make a transition from what I’m doing. I look forward to getting some new experiences and skills and do something that still matters. I can sleep well at night knowing I’m playing a part in contributing to something that I think is important.”

UNG has served an important role to LTC Corbin and his family. His wife, Chassie Wade, is a class of 2003 alumna and his father graduated class of 1970, where he met his wife, Frances Braham Corbin.  LTC Corbin holds an M.S. in Global and International Education from Drexel University, a B.A. in Political Science from UNG, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.