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Gordon College shows double-digit enrollment gains

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Gordon College is announcing a record fall enrollment, which includes a hefty load of Henry County residents. The school experienced an increase of nearly 18 percent in this fall's enrollment, compared to last year's.

The college is among 10 institutions throughout the state with double-digit growth from fall 2008 to fall 2009, according to a report produced Wednesday by the State Board of Regents.

The Board of Regents' Fall 2009 Semester Enrollment Report also revealed that a record 301,892 students enrolled this fall in the University System of Georgia's 35 public colleges and universities, expanding the state's student body by 18,914 students over fall 2008. Thirty-four of the 35 institutions posted record-high enrollments this fall, the report said.

"The trend lines historically are up. We have grown just above 16 percent since fall 2006," said Board of Regents Chancellor Erroll B. Davis, Jr., in a written statement. "We have exploding demand for public higher education, as individuals prepare themselves for careers requiring a college education in a changing and uncertain economy."

Gordon's fall enrollment of 4,545 students is the largest in the school's 157-year history, according to Gordon Spokeswoman Tamara Boatwright.

Boatwright said, of the college's total student enrollment, 944 students (20 percent) are from Henry County -- the largest number of students from a single county at Gordon.

"There are several factors that contributed to our record growth," said Ben Ferguson, Gordon's director of admissions. "The economy certainly played a role, but we like to think that our beautiful campus, excellent academic offerings and vibrant college experience are also major attractions."

Gordon graduated its first class of early childhood education majors last May, and plans to award its first baccalaureate degrees in nursing in 2011. The college also announced that it will soon begin offering biology as its third baccalaureate degree program.

To learn more about Gordon College, visit the institution's web site.

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