ALBANY, GA – Albany Technical College will hold Spring 2017 Commencement Exercises on Thursday, April 27, 2017, at 7 p.m. at the Albany Civic Center. A reception will be held prior to the ceremony in the Meeting Room of the Civic Center.
Nearly 110 students are set to receive associate degrees, almost 300 diplomas, and almost 800 technical certificates of credit. Over 35 students are slated to receive their General Education Development (GED). In addition, nearly 60 students will be walking with various honors, including American Criminal Justice Association Club, Ambassadors, Engineering Club (E-Club), Honors with Distinction, National Technical Honors Society (NTHS), Phi Beta Lambda (PBL), Presidential Scholar, SkillsUSA, Student Fellowship for Christians (SFC), Student Government Association (SGA), and General Education Development (GED). These students were honored at the college’s Honor’s Day program held earlier this week.
Keynote speaker for the ceremony will be Lt. General William B. Caldwell, IV, who is currently serving as the 21st President of Georgia Military College. Commissioned as an Infantry Officer from the United States Military Academy at West Point in June 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Caldwell continued on to earn his master’s degree from the United States Naval Postgraduate School and from the School for Advanced Military Studies at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Later, he attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as a Senior Service College Fellow. He was also selected to serve as a White House Fellow – one of the most prestigious fellowships in our nation.
In his almost 13 years as a General Officer, Caldwell served at the highest levels of the U.S. Army. Most notably as Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division, Commanding General of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, and Commander of United States Army North (Fifth Army). He also served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Effects, and as spokesperson for the Multi-National Force – Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom. His combat deployments include Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Just Cause (Panama) and Operation Uphold Democracy (Haiti), Iraq and Afghanistan.
Caldwell also served as Executive Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Senior Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Deputy Director for Operations for the United States Pacific Command, and Assistant Division Commander, 25th Infantry Division. He has also received numerous awards and recognitions, both domestic and foreign, during his 37 years of distinguished service in the U.S. Army and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Among the graduates for Thursday’s commencement are six Move On When Ready (MOWR) high school students graduating with associate’s degrees who will continue their education at four-year universities in pursuit of bachelor’s degrees. Nilkumar “Nil” Patel, will be earning his associate’s degree in Electronics and Computer Engineering. He is valedictorian of his class at Terrell County High School and is also the 2017 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) winner for Albany Technical College. He is set to continue on to the University of Georgia this fall.
Other finalists in the GOAL program for Albany Tech this year who are also graduating include Jamekia Collins, Law Enforcement Technology graduate, who will be attending Georgia Southern University in the fall, and Tonyari Scott, Electronics and Engineering Technology graduate, who will be attending Georgia Institute of Technology this fall. King La’Keit Randall, a Culinary Arts graduate from Westover High, will continue his education at the Culinary Institute of Atlanta in the fall. Brittany Hamilton and Tylexus Robinson, both students from Monroe High School and graduates in Albany Tech’s Law Enforcement Technology program, will both continue their education in the fall at Fort Valley State University.
Another notable graduate for this spring’s ceremony is Elouise Williams, Albany Technical College’s Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education (EAGLE) Adult Education student for 2017. Williams is a 50-year-old non-traditional student who came back to school after being out for 32 years. She dropped out of school in the eighth grade when she became pregnant and after her children were grown, wanted to pursue her dream of being a teacher. Not only did she enroll in the Adult Education program to obtain her GED, but through the Ability to Benefit (AtB) grant, she was able to dual enroll in the Early Childhood Care and Education diploma program. She will graduate with her diploma Thursday evening. She plans to enroll in Albany Tech’s Hotel/Restaurant/Tourism Management degree program this fall.
Albany native, Khalif Collier, was homeschooled for 15 years before deciding to pursue his GED. He enrolled in Albany Tech’s Adult Education program and received his GED in just three months. After being enrolled in the Masonry program for a few semesters, the 17-year-old decided to compete in SkillsUSA. Albany Tech’s Masonry instructor, Clifford Singleton, prepared him for the competition right up until the Atlanta finals. Collier successfully completed the competition earning the silver medal, which was second place. Collier plans to work with his father, who is a contractor, after graduation.
Also among the graduates for Thursday, are nearly 20 students graduates in Albany Tech’s brand new Industrial Operations Technician certificate program. The new program was started last fall in partnership with the Albany- Dougherty Economic Development Commission’s Industry Roundtable, including industries such as P&G, MillerCoors, Pfizer, Marine Depot Maintenance Command, SASCO Chemical, Tara Foods, and others. These first graduates will now be eligible to compete for careers with these area industries.