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Teeming with educational opportunities

Last week's announcement that Georgia Gwinnett College earned its official accreditation is testament to how far the education opportunities have come in this county.

Only a few short years ago, a student was forced to look beyond Gwinnett's borders to pursue a four-year degree.

Today, a student can earn credentials ranging from chef to physician, all within Gwinnett's borders.

The K-12 Gwinnett County Public Schools system has always served as a magnet for families moving to metro Atlanta. Parents want their kids in good schools, and GCPS has them. But once out of high school, options for those pursuing post-secondary education had been somewhat limited. The result of this student emigration was a brain drain out of Gwinnett.

But that was then; this is now. With ever-growing educational opportunities, more students are continuing education right here in Gwinnett.

Consider:

· This year, the Georgia Campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine awarded its first doctor of osteopathic medicine degrees to 78 students. Twelve students received master's of biomedical sciences degrees. The campus opened in 2005 in Suwanee.

· The medical school also announced this year that it will add a school of pharmacy to its offerings. Mark Okamoto was recently named dean.

· Gwinnett Technical College has been advancing Gwinnett educations for 25 years with an ever-increasing enrollment. This year's class was so large - 1,245 graduates - that commencement ceremonies were moved to the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

· At the University of Georgia's Gwinnett campus, students can earn up to 15 degrees, including an MBA - earned part-time in the evenings - and a master's of Internet technology.

· Saint Leo University in Duluth offers associate, undergraduate and graduate degrees.

· Brenau University offers evening and weekend classes in Norcross.

· DeVry University and the University of Phoenix operate in Duluth.

This week's GGC accreditation announcement is one of many significant developments for the college and its campus:

· This spring, the college graduated 38 students at a commencement ceremony where Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. Central Command, served as speaker.

· English, history and mathematics will soon be added as degree offerings at GGC.

· Construction of a new library, student center and student housing is under way.

When it comes to education, Gwinnett and its cross-county Ga. Highway 316 now offer much more than just a way to get to the University of Georgia in Athens. In fact, a student could go from first grade to physician without crossing the county line.

All this bodes well for the Gwinnett community. The opportunities for education will give our best, brightest, most ingenious, creative and innovative young people the option of learning without leaving. We retain a caliber of population that otherwise would have wandered away.

These people are thinkers and doers, and the community benefits from their presence. A stronger, more educated workforce emerges and attracts more businesses and the resulting high-wage jobs.

The more education we offer, the smarter we become.

The unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the Gwinnett Daily Post. Columns, letters to the editor and cartoons reflect the opinions of the individuals who penned them. It is the policy of the Gwinnett Daily Post to correct all errors of fact. Corrections usually run on Page 4A.