News Release

For media information, contact:
Zaundra Brown
Director of Public Relations and Information
404.297.9522, ext. 1757


Georgia Piedmont Tech marks 50th anniversary during inaugural convocation

Clarkston, GA - November 19, 2011

Approximately 350 Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) alumni, administrators, friends, students and staff and community leaders gathered on October 24 to formally kick off the College’s yearlong golden-anniversary celebration during its ‘50th Anniversary Convocation’ event held at its Conference Center.

The morning inaugural convocation program highlighted a half-century of stellar performance and student achievement and featured the participation of members of the multicampus community and metro-Atlanta community leaders.

Following an invocation by the Reverend William D. Watley, senior pastor of Saint Philip AME Church of Decatur, Ga., were official greetings brought by GPTC Acting President Larry Teems; Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Ron Jackson; DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis Jr.–who also presented the College with a proclamation, declaring the day ‘Georgia Piedmont Technical College Day’ in DeKalb County; and GPTC 2010 GOAL Winner Shirley Santiague.

During his keynote address, Rockdale County Commissioner Oz Nesbitt spoke of the importance of honoring the past, specifically the heritage of GPTC.

“We pay tribute and salute the pioneers of our past who paved the way for our future of this institution that has been a legacy of learning and continuing education for 50 years,” said Nesbitt. “Many communities in Georgia–Rockdale, DeKalb, Morgan, Newton and others–have all been made better places through their rich heritage and the traditions to foster and cultivate a community to educate its citizenry–an excellent tradition in lifelong learning.”

Nesbitt also imparted strong words of wisdom, aimed at students in the audience, on the importance of having present in their lives what he calls “the three A’s” that lead to personal success: Attitude (“It’s everything!”), Approach (“It’s how we present ourselves to other people.”); and Appearance (“People judge us first by what they see, and if you look good, you feel good!”) “You have to have [them] in your life,’ exclaimed the exuberant county commissioner. “If you present those three A’s you will have the desired outcome you are looking for.”

A highlight of the celebration was the Milestone Moments segment, led by GPTC alum Gina Smith (’09), which recounted the story of the evolution of GPTC across a five-decade timeline. In the hushed darkened ballroom, the activity featured the lighting of a unity candle, during which five candle-bearing GPTC alums represented the decade in which they graduated, respectively–from the 1960s through the 2000s.

Musical entertainment included spirited performances by the neighboring Clarkston High School Band and local recording artist Aletha Helm, who led the audience in song with a rendition of the College’s first alma mater composition, making its debut during the event. Also featured was the Champion School Color Guard of Stone Mountain, which opened the program with a presentation of colors.

The College opened as DeKalb Area Vocational Technical School on November 20, 1961, at a temporary location–the old Scottdale Elementary School in Scottdale, Ga.–with a class of 18 Electronics Technology Program students. Over the years, the name and operational control of the College has changed (most recently in October, from DeKalb Technical College to Georgia Piedmont Technical College), but the mission to educate the community has been constant.

Through September 2012, Georgia Piedmont Tech will celebrate 50 years of milestones, remarkable achievements and innovative firsts with a variety of events, to be announced soon.

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About Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Established in 1961, Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) is one of the top technical colleges in Georgia. As a student-centered institution, GPTC prepares individuals with the skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing, global economy. In August 2016, Georgia Piedmont was ranked among the top ten technical colleges in terms of enrollment by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. GPTC’s graduation rate is more than 74.3 percent, and its graduates secure employment at a level resulting in a 98.7 percent placement rate. With nearly 4,000 students, Georgia Piedmont’s adult education program is among the largest in the state. The college has 12 learning centers in DeKalb, Newton, Rockdale and Morgan counties. As set forth in its student catalog, Georgia Piedmont Technical College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, sex, religion, disability, age, political affiliation or belief, genetic information, veteran status, or citizenship status (except in those special circumstances permitted or mandated by law). Contact Lisa Peters, the ADA Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1154, or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-170; or Dr. Debra Gordon, the Title IX Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1176, or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-103 for assistance. For more information about our graduation rates and other important program information, please visit our website at

A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.