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ATC Holds Spring Commencement

May 1, 2014- Albany, GA- Albany Technical College will hold spring commencement exercises on Friday, May 2, 2014, at 7pm, at the Albany Civic Center. A reception will be held from 5:15pm to 6:45pm in the Meeting Room at the Civic Center prior to the ceremony.

Over 130 are slated to receive associate degrees; over 400 diplomas; and almost 600 technical certificates of credit. In addition, over 130 graduates will receive their General Education Diplomas (GED®). Almost 100 students will be graduating with honors with such recognitions as highest scores on the GED®; Presidential Scholar; Honors with Distinction; National Technical Honor Society; Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL); Student Government Association; Phi Beta Lambda; and Skills USA.

Keynote speaker for the ceremony will be Dr. William J. McKinney, President of Valdosta State University (VSU). A nationally recognized teacher, scholar, and academic leader, Dr. William J. McKinney became Valdosta State University's ninth president on July 1, 2012.

Since joining VSU, President McKinney has established the clear vision that Valdosta State will be the premier university in the United States that educates its students equally well for the world of work and the responsibilities of citizenship. Committed to the belief that America's public universities serve as sources of opportunity, centers for economic development, and agents of transformational change, McKinney's vision for Valdosta State will be accomplished through what he has called "Engaged Innovation" – a means by which the creative power of the university serves both individuals and communities.

Under McKinney's leadership, Valdosta State has opened its I.D.E.A. Center, a faculty-run research and development center dedicated to classroom innovation. In 2014, the university will proudly open its 145,000 square foot Health Sciences and Administration Building, which will serve as south Georgia's premier center for health care and business education and research. Soon after this building's opening, the university will begin construction of a new Center for STEM Education designed to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education throughout our region.

In addition to his leadership on campus, President McKinney serves on the President's Trust of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Workforce and Economic Development Committee of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trustees of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, the Southern Georgia Regional Commission, and the Economic and Workforce Development Committee of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Prior to arriving at VSU, Dr. McKinney served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Professor of Philosophy at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). During his tenure at IPFW, Dr. McKinney led the successful regional reaccreditation by the North Central Association's Higher Learning Commission as well as the process that lead to IPFW's "Engaged University" designation by the Carnegie Foundation. In his four years at IPFW, sponsored research, grants, and contracts increased by 33 percent.
Under his leadership, IPFW also had significant increases in full-time tenure track faculty, and the percentage of female and minority faculty.

In 2010, Dr. McKinney was selected as one of the first 25 chief academic officers to spearhead the "Red Balloon Project." This project, begun by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), seeks nothing less than to fundamentally re-imagine the role, function, and operation of higher education in the wake of post-2008 budgetary challenges. The Red Balloon Project served as McKinney's inspiration for the development and implementation of the "Re-imagining IPFW's Academic Future" initiative, an innovative experiment in shared governance where faculty and academic administrators worked collaboratively on strategic priorities ranging from enrollment management to the use of mobile technology.

A firm believer of the value of a liberal education, Dr. McKinney has been actively involved with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) since 1994. In 2011, he represented the State of Indiana in the AAC&U's Quality Collaboratives Project. This collaborative, funded by the Lumina Foundation, seeks to refocus the national higher education dialogue on matters of quality and student learning outcomes by reemphasizing the centrality of faculty and liberal learning.

McKinney has been active in the work of the Honor Society Phi Kappa Phi, serving on its board of directors from 2010-2012, and in various volunteer roles since 2005. He also has been a member of and held leadership positions in a range of local, state, and national organizations, including Northeast Indiana Public Radio, Northeast Indiana Aging and In-Home Services, and the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce.

McKinney served as the founding Dean of the College of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania from 2001-08, and as the Chairperson of Philosophy and Religion at Southeast Missouri State from 1997-2001. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Science in 1992 and his M.A. in the History and Philosophy of Science in 1989 from Indiana University-Bloomington. He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering and his B.A. in History from Bucknell University in 1986. He has published or presented well over 100 papers, book chapters or reviews in such diverse topics as the philosophical nature of scientific experiments, environmental ethics, liberal education, and civic engagement.

Among the graduates this spring are two exceptional candidates. Bessie Bolden, a candidate to receive her associate's degree in Business Administrative Technology and a native of Eudora, Arkansas, is a retired Marine who achieved the highest enlisted rank (E9). Bolden is also a 2012 graduate from Albany Tech's Business Logistics Management program and returned to ATC to sharpen her skills. In October of 2013, Bolden was hired to work for CGI Federal. She attributes her success to the instructors at Albany Tech.

"I am proud to say I am a 'Titan' and will encourage anyone to continue to push and not to settle, regardless of what challenges may arise," said Bolden.

Nature Malone is a former student of Albany Tech, who previously earned an associate's degree in Business Logistics Management and will be graduating this time with honors with her associate's in Operations Management. A single mom of two children, Malone continues to work part-time as an Administrative Coordinator for the American Red Cross Flint River Chapter and is a Disaster Relief Volunteer.

Malone credits Albany Tech with grooming her to be "work ready" due to the hands-on applications she received in the classroom and labs. She said that ATC built her confidence with the knowledge and skills to enter her new career in Operations Management to be an asset to any company or organization.

"Through internships and co-op opportunities, I have been able to secure jobs with American Red Cross National Testing Laboratory in their blood service department, Midwood Ambulance and Oxygen Service in Brooklyn, New York," said Malone.

Malone said the Operations Management online offerings allowed her the flexibility to maintain her family life, while working on her degree. "Instructors lent a great deal of knowledge, considering they had worked in the industry and were able to provide top-notch instruction on what it takes to be successful in the field," said Malone.

Along with receiving her associate's in Operations Management, Malone has also earned certification in the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt as a Quality Assurance Specialist and Project Management Professional through Albany Tech. Her goal is to eventually complete her Black Belt Six Sigma certification.

"It has been a lot of work, but I have succeeded with the help of my instructors, my supervisor, and the support of my family and friends," said Malone. "I am a proud Titan and will continue to give back to the college as a two-time alumni."

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