Staff Photos: Erin Evans
The new sign for Georgia Piedmont Technical College was unveiled during a special ceremony on Monday afternoon.
CONYERS -- One of the region's most recognized technical colleges made history this week.
DeKalb Technical College unveiled its new logo and a new name -- Georgia Piedmont Technical College -- on Monday during a bus tour that took school officials from the Clarkston Campus to Conyers, Covington and Madison.
"My how we have grown and changed," said acting President Larry Teems.
He said the college was started in 1961 with 18 students in a computer class. Since then, the college has evolved and changed over time with the type of classes it offers and the number of students it serves, now more than 10,000 students.
"The time is right for a name change -- a name that better reflects the communities we serve," Teems said.
The college serves an area that is 70 miles wide, encompasses 10 percent of the population in Georgia and is one of the most diverse areas in the nation, Teems said.
"This is the next chapter," he said.
Now in its 50th year of existence, the college is in the midst of its rebranding effort that began a couple of years ago under the direction of then-President Robin Hoffman. Along the way, school officials have brought in focus groups, held peer meetings, conducted research both internally and surveyed the public; it also partnered with marketing company Tillman-Allen-Greer for the rebranding effort.
"The timing is right," said Hoffman in a video. "We're celebrating 50 years of a strong legacy."
Earlier this year, the college announced the new name for the institution, after being approved by the State Board of Directors of the Technical College System of Georgia. On Monday, that change became official, along with the new logo and colors -- a circle of maroon, yellow and blue.
The college currently has more than 4,000 students enrolled in diploma or degree programs and more than 9,000 in adult education classes. Academic and technical programs at DeKalb Tech cover more than 100 different occupations.
The institution has eight centers of learning in DeKalb, Morgan, Newton and Rockdale counties.
"We are very appreciative to have such a strong partnership with them," said Dr. Miki Edwards, chief executive officer of the Rockdale Career Academy, which the college uses for classes. "It means so much for our students and community to have such a partnership close by."
The college already has been through several different names -- it was first established in 1961 as DeKalb Area Vocational School, and then it was DeKalb Community College from 1972 to 1986, the DeKalb Technical Institute from 1986 to 2000 and, for the past 11 years, DeKalb Technical College.
Also this year, the college is converting from a quarter academic calendar to a semester system.