A Brief History
Ogeechee Technical College's Impact
Ogeechee Technical College has had a remarkable impact upon its community even in the brief time that it has existed. In thirty- six years, it has placed thousands of graduates into productive and satisfying employment; it has helped hundreds of citizens improve their literacy or earn a GED; it has assisted dozens of businesses and industries in retraining their workers.
The Georgia General Assembly established Ogeechee Technical Institute as a public, two-year technical school in 1986. Soon afterward, Ogeechee Tech began offering Practical Nursing courses to 25 students who met for classes at the local hospital. Faculty, staff, and students moved into the original 75,000 square foot, $6 million facility in the fall of 1990. By this point, the school was also offering instruction in Adult Literacy and the General Equivalency Diploma (GED) exam preparation. Programs in business, industry, and other health programs were soon added. The school was accredited by the Council on Occupational Education.
Ogeechee Technical Institute’s growth during the mid-1990s coincided with the expansive growth of Georgia Southern University and the Statesboro area. Local support and the establishment of the Georgia State Lottery funded HOPE grant (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) in 1993 were contributing factors in the rapid growth of Ogeechee Tech. The school continued to add programs to better serve the employment needs of its three-county service area: Bulloch, Evans, and Screven.
Throughout the years, the excellence of Ogeechee Tech’s instruction has been recognized. In 1999, John Groover, an English instructor, was named the statewide winner of the Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction. In 2021, Casey Corbett, a Fish & Wildlife Management Instructor, was named the State Rick Perkins Award winner. Three Ogeechee Tech students have been named as the top student in the state by winning the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) award:
- Molly Bickerton in 2008
- Alvie Coes III in 2011
- Lucas Teague in 2014
An ever-present resolve to provide innovative programs of study keeps Ogeechee Tech at the forefront of meeting the educational demands of citizens in this region of Georgia. With over 3,000 students attending credit classes in academic year 2022, and many others attending adult education, and continuing education classes, the demand for Ogeechee Tech’s services is constant.
Whether credit programs, continuing education, GED and literacy instruction, or various other services, the College’s commitment to meet the needs of the region remains strong. The rich heritage of Ogeechee Technical College serves as a solid foundation and inspiration for seeking greater success in the future.
OTC Through the Decades
- Dr. Robert C. Ernst served as President from 1988 to 1994.
- Dr. Stephen A. Deraney served as President from 1994 to 2003.
- In 1999, OTC experienced a $5.5 million expansion by adding a Health Science Building, a childcare facility, and a Horticulture Building. The College also expanded its services to Sylvania by opening the Screven County Learning Center.
- In 1999, John Groover, an English instructor, was named the statewide winner of the Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction.
- The first Associate of Applied Technology (AAT) degree program, Industrial Manufacturing, began during Winter Quarter 2000. Seven additional AAT programs were offered soon after: Accounting, Computer Information Systems, Early Childhood Care and Education, Funeral Service Education, Health Information Technology, Marketing, and Opticianry.
- On July 6, 2000, Ogeechee Technical Institute officially had its name changed by the state legislature to Ogeechee Technical College.
- During the summer of 2002, the Evans County Learning Center was opened.
- The Occupational Studies Building opened in Fall 2003, offering a variety of programs, such as Agribusiness, Wildlife and Plantation Management, Veterinary Technology, and Culinary Arts.
- In 2004, OTC paid tribute to the late Senator Joseph E. Kennedy for his role in the establishment of Ogeechee Technical Institute by dedicating the main building on campus as the Joseph E. Kennedy Building.
- Dr. J. Eugene Waters served as President from 2004 to 2006.
- Dr. Dawn H. Cartee served as President from 2007 to 2016.
- In 2008, construction started on the Evans Technical Education Complex which included the Logistics and Public Safety Building and a driving track for the Commercial Truck Driving program.
- Molly Bickerton was named the top student in the state by winning the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership award in 2008.
- At the beginning of 2009, an Emergency Mass Notification System for faculty, staff, and students was implemented, providing a way to send emergency warnings via cell phone and email messages. That same year, the Adult Education program was moved to a new location adjacent to the main campus.
- In 2011, OTC transitioned from a quarter to a semester course schedule and moved to a tobacco-free campus.
- Ogeechee Technical College was named the 2011 Technical College of the Year for the State of Georgia. Determined by meeting benchmarks in a variety of critical areas, Ogeechee Tech earned the top spot in the state system.
- Alvie Coes III was named the top student in the state by winning the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership award in 2011.
- In January 2013, classes began in the new Health Science Building-North which housed the Echocardiography, Opticianry, Radiologic Technology, and Sonography programs and included a modern biology lab and a tiered lecture/demonstration hall.
- Ogeechee Technical College was named a finalist for the 2013 Technical College of the Year award for the State of Georgia.
- In June 2014, Ogeechee Tech was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
- Lucas Teague was named the top student in the state by winning the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership award in 2014.
- In 2015, the College was once again named the Technical College of the Year.
- In 2016, Lori S. Durden became the 5th President of Ogeechee Technical College.
- Early in 2016 classes began in the new 60,000 square foot Natural Resources Building which housed programs such as Agribusiness, Fish and Wildlife Management, and the College’s Adult Education program. The building included various conference facilities. The Oak Room, a beautifully appointed ballroom, fast became the premier location in the area to hold events.
- In early 2017, the College’s Foundation announced receiving its largest ever financial gift, when the Strickland Foundation of Evans County donated $500,000 for use in improving the lives of Evans County residents through education.
- 2018 saw the completion of the new Industrial Technology Building on the main campus in Statesboro and classes began in January of 2019. The building housed Logistics, Electrical, and Industrial programs, and also the College’s Shipping & Receiving Services, Plant Operations, and Fleet Operations.
- A Commercial Truck Driving facility and range in Screven County was completed in Spring 2019, providing a boost to the College’s capability to meet the demands of the trucking industry related to the expansion of the Port of Savannah.
- In 2020, a new state-of-the-art Practical Nursing studio was completed, as well as renovated space for the Early Childhood Care & Education program and the library in the north wing of the Joseph E. Kennedy building. That same year, the College entered the final stage of becoming a FANUC FAST robotics training site, the only FANUC training site in the state of Georgia.
- In 2021, Ogeechee Technical College began providing students access to more online courses through a statewide platform called eCampus.
- In 2021, Casey Corbett, a Fish & Wildlife Management Instructor, was named the State Rick Perkins Award winner.