By Walter L. Johnson II
As 2010 comes to a close, Albany Technical College is turning 50 years old in 2011.
The celebration officially got underway earlier this month, with a press conference on Dec. 7.
Emmett Griswold, who serves as Albany Tech’s Dean of Academic Affairs for the Carlton Construction Academy, as well as the chairman for the 50th Anniversary Committee, says it was desire to give back to the ATC community that compelled him to serve as a chairperson.
“I’m leading a group of faculty and staff members here, a committee we have set aside to for these anniversary events,” Griswold said. “I’m just helping to lead it, and coming up with ideas, and developing budgets, and finding locations to have events.”
Griswold added, “I chose to get involved because I’m a dedicated employee of Albany Tech, and I believe in the mission and the goals that we’ve set her. I think it’s the right thing to do to recognize the accomplishments that we’ve made, and where we’re going into the future.
ATC public relations director Wendy Howell, who has been at the institution since 2007, said it was the excitement of telling stories of the students that drew her to her current position.
“I have been amazed since I’ve been at Albany Tech, I’ve been here four years now,” Howell said. “We have some incredible students with amazing stories, and it’s just so exciting for me, as the P.R. director to share those stories with the public, and continue to help Albany Tech grow in the community, and grow the image, and create a more positive image for the college in this community.”
A year-long celebration
The institution that’s now Albany Technical College first opened its doors in 1961. However, according to Howell, the specific day during that year when the then-Albany Area Vocational Technical School had its first classes is unknown.
“We chose to do a year-long celebration, due to the fact that we don’t have the exact date,” Howell explained. “We know that it was 1961, but we don’t have the exact date. So, we’re actually going to celebrate during the entire year, 2011.
Griswold also stressed the importance of moving forward, while also looking back at what Albany Tech has accomplished over the last 50 years.
“We want to cherish the things that we’ve done in the past, and we want embrace the challenges that we have in the future,” Griswold said. “We want to recognize the accomplishments that we’ve made over the 50 years, and also look ahead to the new challenges that we’re facing for the college.”
Howell added: “There’s just so much going on right now at Albany Tech, that to celebrate the 50th (anniversary) is going to enhance that even more.”
Multiple activities commemorating Albany Tech’s 50th anniversary will be held all year long, which Howell said ranges from activities such as a dedication of a 1947 fire truck” in January, to an anniversary gala in September. They’ll end with graduation ceremonies to be held at the Albany Civic Center next December.
Building for 2011 and beyond
At least one new building will be added to the ATC campus early in 2011, as the new Logistics Education Center will open sometime this spring. Originally scheduled for its grand opening in March, the opening of the new facility will likely be delayed until April or later, said Howell.
“We’ve had some construction issues, so it’s looking more like it’ll be April,” she explained. “But we’ve been planning, and hope to have the building ready to go. We’re really looking forward to it.”
Howell added: “There’s going to be a state-of-the-art student center, (a) media center, culinary arts is also going to have a new facility in the building, our e-learning is going to be in there with a mini-auditorium, a brand new boardroom for our board (of directors). It’s just going to be a beautiful building.”
As for the future of the Carlton Construction Academy, Griswold said the continued growth of student enrollment at ATC is driving the need for that facility.
“We continue to see an increasing enrollment of students,” he explained. “So, therefore, we’re looking forward to educating them, and putting them to work as soon as possible.”
Griswold added: “Industry is in the need of a skilled workforce, and we’re here to prepare our students for that, and have them ready to go, and have them ready to go to work as soon as possible.”
A milestone for Albany Tech
With its 50th anniversary celebration just around the corner, Howell says she would like to see the community get involved in the festivities over the next 12 months.
“We want to get the community in helping us celebrate our 50th anniversary,” Griswold said. “This is a milestone, not only for us, but for southwest Georgia. So, we want the community to be celebrating with us, and come out, and help us celebrate the success, and look back at the some of the things that we’ve done, and help us with the challenges that we’re facing ahead.”
“We really would to get the community, the southwest Georgia community involved in our 50th (anniversary),” Howell said. “This is such a milestone for the college, and we hope that the public will come out, and support the events.”
On The Web: www.albanytech.edu.