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Lanier Tech commencement
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Lanier Technical College President Ray Perren takes a photo of graduating students Friday night at Free Chapel in Gainesville. - photo by NAT GURLEY

Lanier Technical College on Friday held its 48th commencement ceremonies at Free Chapel in Gainesville with 1,111 students receiving diplomas.

Students received both college degrees and technical certificates of credit in Applied Science, Practical Nursing, Early Childhood Care and Education, Medical Assisting, Welding and Joining and Cosmetology, among other programs.

In all, 26 percent of Lanier Tech graduates were from Hall County, and 70 percent overall were women.

The keynote speaker was Dr. David Byers, the Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year for the Technical College System of Georgia and program director of Lanier Tech’s Dental Hygiene Program. He was the first-ever Rick Perkins recipient from Lanier Tech.

In his commencement address, Lanier Tech President Dr. Ray Perren pointed out that the graduates' collective grade-point average was 3.497.

"That’s fantastic, but the best statistic of all is that almost 100 percent of you are already employed or are planning to continue your education,” Perren said. "“This class of 2014 represents the new reality of American education and business. ... America business and industry are going to count on people just like you in order to move our economy forward.

“I charge you to go forth and use the knowledge and skills that you learned at Lanier Tech to make our world and our community a better place.”