Education

GGC Welcomes 8,400 Students as Fall Semester Begins

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Almost five years to the day after opening its doors to 118 students, Georgia Gwinnett College today welcomed more than 8,400 students for the fall 2011 semester. The college once again surpassed its enrollment projection, which had been set at 8,000.# The dramatic increase is about 3,000 students more than last fall”s enrollment of 5,380.

“Every year, we can greet our students with, “welcome to the new GGC,” because our rapid growth transforms the college with each semester,”# said GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman. “Nothing affirms this college more than its enrollment. Our growth is the ultimate indicator that GGC continues to be a sound and strategic investment for Gwinnett, for the university system and for the state of Georgia.”#

This fall”s enrollment includes an explosion of first-time students, numbering more than 3,600.

The college recently hired more than 180 new full-time and part-time faculty members to serve the larger student body. GGC faculty will for the first time, teach more than 100,000 credit hours this semester. The college recently expanded its academic offerings, adding five minors to its 12 degree programs and 40 areas of study.

GGC recently celebrated the completion of a new, $7 million instructional laboratory facility, which opened just in time to serve the expanded student body. The structure provided much-needed space for upper-level laboratory courses that could not have been accommodated in the college”s existing laboratories. In fact, without the new facility, the college would have had to cap enrollment.

“We are at a point where our facilities are a limiting factor on our growth,”# Kaufman said. “To meet the expanding needs of our growing student body, we must continue moving forward with a build-out of our new, revised master facilities plan.”#

GGC”s future growth depends largely on obtaining funding for its much-needed Allied Health and Science Building, which will provide critically needed instructional space.

Many of those future students will pursue degrees in health sciences as well as the STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Gwinnett region”s need for students in STEM disciplines provides graduates with many employment opportunities, contributing to the area”s growing economy. The STEM fields are already among GGC”s most popular academic programs, and many students have aspirations of pursuing medical careers.

“We are grateful to have received funding for this building”s design work,”# Kaufman said. “We hope we will be successful in obtaining construction funding so we can maintain our momentum and be prepared to serve the thousands of students planning to attend GGC.”#

Some of those thousands are now drawn to GGC from farther away. While most of GGC”s students are from the highly populated Gwinnett County, the college is attracting more students from across the state. The college will fill two of its residence halls this year. It awaits final approval for enrolling international students, as well.

The college is already planning its next big transformation. Pending approval by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, GGC will soon break ground on its first intercollegiate athletics facilities. The college is moving forward with plans to field intercollegiate teams in selected sports to begin competition in the fall of 2012.

About Georgia Gwinnett College
Georgia Gwinnett College is a four-year, accredited liberal arts college that provides access to targeted baccalaureate level degrees that meet the economic development needs of the growing and diverse population of Gwinnett County and the northeast Atlanta metropolitan region. GGC opened its doors in August 2006 as the nation”s first four-year public college founded in the 21st century, and the first four-year public college founded in Georgia in more than 100 years. Georgia Gwinnett produces contributing citizens and future leaders for Georgia and the nation. Its graduates are inspired to contribute to their local, state, national and international communities and are prepared to anticipate and respond effectively to an uncertain and changing world. Visit Georgia Gwinnett College”s Web site at www.ggc.edu.