LAWRENCEVILLE – Gwinnett's 2018 graduation season officially kicked off this week at the Infinite Energy Center and Gwinnett Tech graduates were among the first to turn their tassels and toss their caps. On Monday evening, April 30 there was a joyous celebration as Dr. D. Glen Cannon, President of Gwinnett Technical College, conferred hundreds of degrees, diplomas and certificates to students from all walks of life. With a third consecutive year of record enrollment, this year's graduating class is expected to exceed last year's 2,058 graduates. Nearly 600 students, ranging in age from 15 to 70, chose to walk across the stage to receive their new academic credentials and mark the successful completion of their studies at Gwinnett Tech.
Matt Arthur, Commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia, was the honored keynote speaker at the 2018 commencement ceremony. Arthur inspired and challenged Gwinnett Tech graduates saying, "Continue to set goals for yourself in life. Whether it's financial goals, personal goals, or career goals. You have proven to this faculty, your family, and most importantly, to yourselves, that when you set goals, you can achieve them."
This year's enrollment at Gwinnett Tech was at an all-time high as more and more students are seeking affordable, career-focused education that gives them a great return on investment. Students are drawn to Gwinnett Tech for its hands-on learning environment designed to support industry demands for highly skilled workers.
Kierra Davis chose the Central Sterile Processing technician program after family members underwent several surgeries and wanted to be able to put not only her family members at ease while in the hospital, but others as well. "Earning my certificate has been a long-time coming, I've been a student off and on since 2010 and the faculty and staff at Gwinnett Tech always made me feel welcomed and helped me across the finish line."
Eric Skinner did his research on colleges and specifically chose Gwinnett Tech because of the outstanding reputation of their program. After just two years he graduates with his Radiologic Technology degree in hand and a job at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. Skinner said, "I came to Gwinnett Tech because they had the top program in the state and they lead by example. There is was an abundance of support from my instructors and staff."
Dr. Cannon explains, "It's not as much about the numbers for us as it is about the people. It's about our students and their success. I truly believe no matter what your degree is in one of the best things for you to experience is the walk across the stage and receive your degree. You never know who is sitting in the audience and that you might inspire to take that next step."
Health Information Technologist Brittney Powell graduated with a 4.0 GPA "it feels amazing to graduate tonight, earning a 4.0 while raising my son and working full-time was hard, but the staff and faculty supported me, encouraged me and even checked in on me to ensure I accomplished my goal of graduating."
Zacharey Lambert, Gwinnett Tech's Distinguished Student of the Year earned his Associates Degree in Cybersecurity and will be transferring to Kennesaw State University to continue his studies. Lambert shared, "all my research indicated Gwinnett Tech had the strongest Cybersecurity program, being a returning student to Gwinnett Tech after finishing my military career, I knew Gwinnett Tech would be a great fit for me."
While many students will launch into their careers immediately following graduation, others will continue their education at other colleges and universities thanks to Gwinnett Tech's transfer agreements with other institutions of higher learning across Georgia.
Gwinnett Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate degree. Fifteen programs hold other specific industry accreditations. Thirteen of the College's programs achieved 100% licensing exam pass rates this past academic year and many are ranked in the top ten academic programs in the nation.
Dr. Cannon says, "We are so proud of the tremendous accomplishments of each and every one of our students and we stand behind them as they move forward with their lives and thrive."