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College president: GGC is 'great success story'

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Georgia Gwinnett College President Daniel Kaufman, right, and Student Government Association President Seijin Tranberg read the 'Four Core Values' of GGC during the convocation ceremony Thursday afternoon. Looking on is Interim Executive Vice Chancellor & Chief Academic Officer, David Morgan, far left.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Georgia Gwinnett College President Daniel Kaufman, right, and Student Government Association President Seijin Tranberg read the 'Four Core Values' of GGC during the convocation ceremony Thursday afternoon. Looking on is Interim Executive Vice Chancellor & Chief Academic Officer, David Morgan, far left.

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Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Lois Richardson, acting vice president for academic student affairs at Georgia Gwinnett College presents Tyler Henry an award for outstanding student service. Several awards were handed out at Thursday's convocation.

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Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Students, faculty and guests fill the room for Thursday's convocation at Georgia Gwinnett College.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Georgia Gwinnett College President Daniel J. Kaufman said the institution has started the new school year with "extraordinary success."

Kaufman thanked his staff during the biannual state of the college address Thursday morning and then honored both students and staff at an afternoon convocation ceremony.

In the morning address, he told the group that more than half of the five year-old college's current student population is made up by more than 4,000 freshmen.

Kaufman attributed the fast growth to the group of teachers before him.

"It is a great success story, and it's thanks to you," he told the gathering of hundreds.

With more than 8,000 students currently enrolled and a projected increase of 3,000 more students in 2012, the college has seen much growth in its brief history.

Georgia Gwinnett College is growing so fast, in fact, it could soon reach its current capacity size.

To meet future needs, Kaufman said the college is tentatively looking at an expansion that would allow 15,000 to 20,000 students to attend the learning institution.

As it currently stands, the capacity is about 9,000 students until new facilities are added. Plans for a $30 million allied health and science building are in the works for Fiscal Year 2012/13.

The FY 2012 budget for the college is currently projected at $62.5 million, with $33.5 million coming from the state, $23.5 million from tuition and $5.5 million in other fees.

Kaufman said the college is currently directing about $4.2 million of its own money toward student success courses. Retention rates for students who continue there or at a University System college, he said, have shown the money is well spent.

He fielded questions from instructors at the event, including a question about the makeup of the student's 8,000-plus population.

Kaufman said the college is made up of about 75 to 80 percent of students who come from Gwinnett County.

At the convocation, Kaufman went over the four core values of the school. He also presented staff awards to Slavica Ahmetspahic and Jessica Thompson and faculty awards to Steven Platek (scholarship and creativity), C. Douglas Johnson (service) and Jessica Damian (teaching). Damian gave the keynote address.

Student awards were given to Arnoldo Gonzales (outstanding freshman), Michael Jamison (outstanding student, school of business), Erica Wagoner (school of education), J. Ryan Porter (liberal arts), Chia-Tse Lee (science and technology), Homa Ayati (student success), Katelynn Bell (student employee), Heather Interholzinger (student creativity), Jonelle Faal (student leadership) and Tyler Henry (student service)