By Johnny Jackson
Gordon College reached another milestone this fall, with a record enrollment of 5,009 students, according to officials with the state college.
"We are very pleased that more students are selecting Gordon College as the place to begin and, in a growing number of programs, complete their education," said Interim President Shelley Nickel, in a statement about the college's growth. "We have an outstanding faculty and staff dedicated to helping our students succeed."
This fall's increase marks the 10th straight year of growth for Gordon, noted Tamara Boatwright, the college's public information specialist.
Boatwright said in a press release, that the college's student body grew by 464 students this fall, compared to last year's enrollment of 4,545 students. The student body grew by about 10 percent over last year.
Of the students attending Gordon, she said, the largest number -- 1,074 -- comes from Henry County, followed by Spalding County, with 483. Following closely behind, were Lamar County, with 323; Clayton County, 318; Fayette County, 311; Upson County, 309; DeKalb County, 304, and Pike County with 234.
Gordon's current student enrollment is more than nine times its student population in 1972, when the institution became a part of the University System of Georgia. Then, according to Boatwright, it enrolled only 550 students.
Data provided by Gordon officials indicates that many of the college's students are commuters, living in nearby communities, such as Henry and Clayton counties.
"We have 1,034 students who live on campus," said Boatwright.
The college's data reveals that about 71 percent of the students from Clayton County (226 students) commute, while 85 percent of the students from Henry County (917 students) commute to the Barnesville, Ga., campus -- a one-way trip of between 30 and 40 miles.
About 29 percent of the Clayton County residents (92 students), and nearly 15 percent of the Henry County residents (157 students) live on campus.
As the student body continues to grow, educational offerings are also increasing at the state college, which now offers 40 programs of study, including baccalaureate degrees.
Boatwright said the college will complete its new, 59,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Nursing and Allied Health Building in early 2011.