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                                                      102 students graduated from Truett-McConnell College in the schools largest graduating class to-date, May 24. 

 Graduating to the Next Level

by TM Staff

CLEVELAND, Ga., (TMNews) – On July 23, 1946, the Georgia Baptist Convention founded a small junior college in the North Georgia mountains named Truett-McConnell. Initially accredited in 1966 to confer two-year degrees, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools approved the college to offer four-year degrees in 2004.

While Truett-McConnell has endured periods of decline, in recent years the college has experienced unprecedented growth in overall graduation rate and enrollment.

According to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System’s (IPEDS) 2011 graduation rate component data summary, which represents the school’s 2002-2005 academic records instead of the 2011-2012 records, the overall graduation rate was 28 percent.

Since 2010, Truett-McConnell’s graduation rate for bachelor’s degrees has jumped by a dramatic 123 percent according to a report listed in the Fact Book of the Georgia Independent College Association (GICA).

“The story of Truett-McConnell College is an extraordinary tale of educational rags to riches,” said the school’s president, Dr. Emir Caner. “In a recent Time Magazine article, a writer, using secondary sources and outdated numbers, referenced a 14 percent overall graduation rate for baccalaureate degrees. These statistics fail to recognize that the College was primarily a two-year institution during this time. In the past six years, TMC has begun more than 30 baccalaureate programs and entered a four-year athletic conference (NAIA).”

“Most recent numbers, as seen by IPEDS, demonstrate the graduation rate for first-time, full-time students at 46 percent (4 year) and 68 percent (6 year),” Caner added.

Dr. Brad Reynolds, Truett-McConnell’s vice president for Academic Services said, “Our internal data of classes that entered under Dr. Caner has shown consistent and steady increases in graduation rates; moreover, we have no indicators that would cause us to believe these tendencies will cease."

While misinformation in the mainstream media abounds, there is no doubting that Truett-McConnell is on solid academic footing.

Since its transition from a two-year institution to a four-year school in 2004, Truett-McConnell has increased its academic offerings exponentially, now offering more than 40 bachelor’s degrees, including a nursing program which debuted in the fall of 2013. In the fall of 2014, Truett-McConnell will launch its first master’s degree program.

Enrollment is also at an all-time high. Since Dr. Caner’s arrival on campus in 2008, the enrollment of 450 has skyrocketed into double-digit percentage growth. In the spring of 2014, enrollment exceeded 1,600, representing a near quadrupling of the student body within six years.

“What is most significant about our commendable graduates is that they are entering the marketplace with the training to make them successful in their careers and the ability and compassion to share the saving message of Jesus Christ in the marketplace,” Caner said. “We would love to invite Time, and any others who wish to come, to visit the beautiful campus of Truett-McConnell and see how God has smiled on our endeavors.”

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