Georgia Gwinnett College: "First in the 21st"

On Friday, August 18 at 10:00 a.m., Governor Sonny Perdue, Georgia Gwinnett College President Dan Kaufman, Board of Regents Chairman Allan Vigil, U.S. Representative John Linder and GGC Foundation Chairman Glenn White will head a group of state-wide and Gwinnett County leaders to officially open Georgia Gwinnett College. When the ceremonial ribbon is cut, hundreds of well wishers in the crowd will welcome students on their first day of class at the nation’s first four-year public college founded in the 21st century, and the first in Georgia in more than a century.

Lawrenceville, GA – On Friday, August 18 at 10:00 a.m., Governor Sonny Perdue, Georgia Gwinnett College President Dan Kaufman, Board of Regents Chairman Allan Vigil, U.S. Representative John Linder and GGC Foundation Chairman Glenn White will head a group of state-wide and Gwinnett County leaders to officially open Georgia Gwinnett College. When the ceremonial ribbon is cut, hundreds of well wishers in the crowd will welcome students on their first day of class at the nation’s first four-year public college founded in the 21st century, and the first in Georgia in more than a century.

Other events are planned throughout the day and during the following week (see Opening Events schedule), all of which are located on GGC’s campus at the intersection of GA Hwy 316 and Collins Hill Rd. in Lawrenceville. Members of the media are invited to attend the Ribbon-Cutting and all celebration events.

“With its emphasis on innovative teaching and interactive learning, Georgia Gwinnett College will be a critical part of Georgia's mission to educate our workforce,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “I am proud to be participating in the opening day festivities.”

GGC was created by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) as “a true 21st century higher education institution.” The college will be a leader in the use of instructional technology and other innovative educational methods, and in the assessment of student learning to enhance education. Designated as an institution with a principal responsibility for developing innovative approaches to higher education, the college will offer bachelor degree programs in a variety of disciplines. In addition, the college will serve as a unit of the USG that is focused by design on highly-efficient approaches to student and administrative services.

Glenn White, chairman of the GGC Foundation, and an early supporter of the formation of the college stated, “We envision GGC to be responsive to the economic development needs of Gwinnett County and the surrounding region, especially in the areas of teacher education, nursing, business and information technology. We are excited about the opening of the college and look forward to its tremendous success during the coming years.”

GGC currently offers junior-level courses this fall, and will provide full degree programs by the 2008-2009 academic year. The programs will initially focus on three areas that are important to meeting the needs of the region and the state including business, biology and psychology. In following years, degrees in information technology, education and nursing will be created as a part of the curriculum.

Significant Firsts
Georgia Gwinnett College is the first public four-year liberal arts college to be founded in the United States in the 21st century according to the American Council on Education. It is also the first four-year college to be founded in Georgia in more than 100 years. It is the product of visionary leadership by the community, Georgia’s Board of Regents and the State Legislature responding to a regional need.

For more than 15 years, community leaders have pressed for a four-year college in Gwinnett. As the county has grown rapidly, it has become evident that the expanding business community needs a source of qualified candidates for its workforce. Local high schools now produce an increasing number of graduates who need more options for higher education. It was clear that the county needed a four-year college of its own, one that embraces new technologies and teaching methods appropriate to the 21st century.

A resolution was passed by the Board of Regents in October 2004, and the college was established by the Georgia General Assembly in March 2005. It will serve as the USG’s model campus for innovative approaches to highly-efficient student, facility and administrative services. “We are confident that students from around the state and educators from across the nation will look to GGC as a model for 21st century higher education,” says Dr. Stanley Preczewski, GGC’s vice president for academic and student affairs.

Engaging the Student
GGC’s degree programs emphasize face-to-face teaching and learning, supported by technology that makes learning enjoyable and transferable between classroom, home and work – wherever a laptop can go.

Technology-based teaching methods engage students more actively in their own learning experience. Teachers can control a variety of tools while lecturing – the Internet, DVD players, overhead digital projectors, for example. A built-in recorder can capture the lecture and save it to a website or email. This gives students more options for acquiring, reviewing and retaining lecture content.

Wireless phones as well as laptops will be key learning tools at GGC. Integrated wireless phone systems should be ready for use in 2007, and although it will be possible for students to listen to entire lectures by cell phone, it is more likely that they will index and view parts of them to retain key ideas or information.

These are just a few examples from many emerging options as education technology continues to transform the classroom, creating rich instructional environments and academic supports that enhance the learning process in ways never before implemented.

Dr. Lonnie Harvel, GGC’s vice president for educational technology and a former researcher at The Georgia Institute of Technology, believes that the evolution of teaching methods is more significant than the use of technology. “We are wrapping technology around an improved understanding of teaching,” he says. “The technology will be used to support innovative instruction, to engage students more productively, and to provide them with more flexible learning opportunities.”

The Campus Today
The Gwinnett campus currently consists of three buildings on 170 wooded acres. These facilities, built within the last four years, were designed and constructed with an infrastructure that supports GGC’s educational technology requirements. Each classroom has the same level of technology available, allowing any class to be taught in any classroom to maximum efficiency.
With no legacy systems present, retrofitting outdated equipment to accommodate new technologies is not an issue. “Without ties to any past practices, GGC is positioned to implement best practices and cutting-edge innovations,” says Preczewski.

Until the fall of 2008, GGC will share the campus with four other partner institutions of higher education. Collectively, there are more than 8,000 students on campus. The partner institutions will be phased out as their students graduate or transfer. GGC expects to enroll a freshman class of 3,000 in fall 2007.

GGC faculty currently consists of 15 members, and the college plans to hire 150 more as enrollment increases. It seeks educators who are familiar and comfortable with technology and who will actively engage students in various learning environments; serve as mentors and advisors; and assist students through programs designed to enhance their academic, social and personal development.

“The opportunity for students here is unlike any other,” says GGC President Dan Kaufman. “Our graduates will become the trendsetters and leaders of the next several generations. Students attending GGC will be making history.”

Building for Tomorrow
GGC’s master plan is being developed by Sasaki Associates Inc., a noted architectural design firm based in Boston. The firm has worked with other schools in the University System of Georgia and takes an environmentally friendly approach to design and construction.

Overlapping the master plan is a five-year plan already set in motion. It includes Phase II construction of an existing classroom building, scheduled for September 2006, followed by a 1,500-space parking deck beginning in December 2006. A $28.3 million library was recently approved by the Board of Regents, and a student housing project is under consideration.

Working in tandem with the college, the Georgia Gwinnett College Foundation has been established to develop private funding for projects such as student centers, bookstores and athletic facilities. The Foundation plans to develop partnerships with area businesses and a collaborative center where companies can share their projected workforce needs and see firsthand the advantages of the college’s commitment to technology.

This approach will help ensure that GGC students graduate with professional skills that match the employment needs of the surrounding area. “The people of Gwinnett have been pushing for this college for the last 15 years.” says Dr. Gordon Harrison, vice president for advancement. “Our greatest challenge is meeting the expectations of the community.”

GGC Opening Events

FRIDAY, AUG. 18, First Day of School (Friday classes), Student Orientation
Breakfast/Check-In
7:30-9:30 a.m.; B Building 1650; All GGC students, faculty and staff

Student Orientation
President Kaufman addresses new students
8:45 a.m.; B Building 1650; All GGC students, faculty and staff

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for the Opening of the College
Governor Sonny Perdue attending
10 a.m. Ceremony in front of B Building; Reception following in B Building Atrium; All GGC students, faculty and staff; GGC Foundation trustees; community leaders and friends

Student Orientation
Rotating Orientation Sessions
Noon-5 p.m.; All GGC students and faculty

MONDAY, AUG. 21, First Day of School (Monday classes)
Breakfast
7:30-9:30 a.m.; B Building Atrium; All GGC students, faculty and staff

Varsity® Hotdog Luncheon
Noon-2 p.m.; Back patio/B Building; All GGC students, faculty and staff; Dr. Kaufman and senior administrative leadership to serve lunch for those in attendance.

Ice Cream Social
5-6 p.m.; B Building Atrium; All GGC students, faculty and staff; Dr. Kaufman and senior administrative leadership to “dip” cones for those in attendance.

TUESDAY, AUG. 22
Breakfast
7:30-9:30 a.m.; B Building Atrium; All GGC students, faculty and staff

WEDNESDAY, AUG 23
Breakfast
7:30-9:30 a.m.; B Building Atrium; All GGC students, faculty and staff

Celebration & Barbecue
5-7 p.m.; B Building Atrium; All GGC students, faculty and staff; GGC Foundation trustees; community leaders and friends.


The media is invited to all Opening the College events. For media passes, for more information, or to arrange interviews or photographs, please contact Jennifer Stephens, Director of Public Affairs at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 678-407-5425.

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