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Lanier Tech named states top technical college
Lanier Technical College was named 2014 College of the Year at the State Board of Directors meeting on Thursday. Among those taking part in the presentation were, from left: Doug Carter, state board member; Joe W. Yarbrough, chairman of state board; Ron Jackson, Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner; Ray Perren, president of Lanier Tech; and Dinah C. Wayne, state board member. - photo by For the FCN

OAKWOOD — When it comes to performance, education and development at technical colleges, Lanier Tech is ranked as the best in Georgia.

The college is this year’s recipient of the Perdue Award for the Technical College of the Year from the Technical College System of Georgia.

The system’s state board chooses the winner annually from its 23 technical colleges. The selection is made after a review of more than 20 performance categories, including technical education, adult education, economic development, resource development and administration.

“I think this validates the hard work our faculty and staff do every day to provide the absolute best educational opportunities for our students,” said Ray Perren, president of Lanier Tech. “It’s great to get that validation from a state level.”

The award is designed to recognize the highest performing technical college in the system, according to Perren, who accepted the award at the board’s monthly meeting Monday.

State Board Chairman Joe Yarbrough congratulated Perren and the college for an “excellent record of high educational achievement and strong commitment to student success in the classroom and on the job,” according to a release from the college.

In 2014, Lanier Tech enrolled 5,240 students in credit courses, a 7 percent increase from the year before. The number of full-time students also increased during that period by 8.5 percent.

The college, which serves seven counties in the state, also increased the number of dual-enrolled high school students by 70 percent.

The system’s college of the year award was created four years ago and named in honor of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, who was a strong supporter of the technical colleges.

Perren said this was Lanier Tech’s first year earning the award, but it was not the first time he has received it. Wiregrass Georgia Technical College in Valdosta received the inaugural award in 2010 when Perren was president there.

Previous Perdue Award recipients also include Ogeechee Technical

College in 2011, Atlanta Technical College in 2012 and Savannah Technical College last year.

The other finalists for this year’s award were Albany Technical College, Moultrie Technical College and Savannah Technical College.

Perren said while the recognition is welcome and encouraging, it is primarily a reminder to continue to excel.

“Accolades are nice for sure, but what we really want to do is continue to provide an excellent educational opportunity for our students,” he said. “I believe if we do that, the accolades will take care of themselves.”