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Georgia College History

Georgia College Events

Aerial View of Terrell Hall

Throughout our history Georgia College & State University has gone through many changes. In our earliest days, we slowly built upon the what was once Penitentiary Square.The university has added residence halls, classroom buildings, and public spaces for the students and faculty. This is just a small list of some of the major events to occur on campus.

Georgia College Timeline

The History of Georgia College & State University

  • 8 November 1889 - Georgia Legislative Act 590 establishes the Georgia Normal and Industrial College (GN&IC). Its early mission is to educate women in Georgia so that they may earn their own living.
  • 1890 - All of Georgia celebrates the groundbreaking of the Main Building on the Georgia Normal & Industrial College campus
  • 1891 - The first president of the college, Dr. J. Harris Chappell, takes office. He serves as college president until 1905.
  • 1891 - (September 30th) The first classes begin. There are 88 students epresenting 52 Georgia counties.
  • 1891 - Peabody Model School opens as a training school for student teachers.
  • 19 June 1892 - The first commencement is held.
  • 1894 - A dormitory annex is added to the Governor's Mansion
  • 1896 -  Atkinson Hall is built
  • 1905 - Dr. Marvin McTyeire Parks becomes president and serves as president of the college until 1926.
  • 1907 - Chappell Hall is dedicated.
  • 1908 - Terrell Hall Dormitory (formerly Lamar Hall) is constructed.
  • 1911 - Parks Hall is completed.
  • 1921 - The first Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees are conferred.
  • 1922 - The college is renamed Georgia State College for Women (GSCW).
  • December 1924 -  Main Building burns. All of the official records housed in the Main Building are destroyed in the fire.
  • 1926 - Lanier Hall is completed.
  • December 1926 - College President Marvin Parks is struck by a car while walking downtown in Tampa, Florida. He later died on January 2, 1927.
  • 1927 - Dr. J. Luther Beeson becomes president and serves until 1934.
  • 1932 - Georgia State College for Women becomes part of the University System of Georgia as did the other 26 state-supported colleges and universities.
  • 1932 - Russell Library is built.
  • 1934 - Mr. Guy Herbert Wells begins his tenure as college president. He is president until 1953.
  • 1934 - Wearing uniforms becomes optional.
  • 1935 - The first Golden Slipper pageant is held to help freshmen who are homesick
  • 1938 - Beeson Hall is dedicated to former president Dr. Beeson
  • 1938 - Sanford Hall is built and dedicated in December
  • 1939 - Efforts begin towards writing an Honor Code and electing an Honor Council
  • 1942 - Mary Flannery O'Connor is a student at Georgia State College for Women
  • 1943 - WAVES training facility is located on campus in support of the war effort
  • 1943 - May 15. Bob Hope entertains Navy personnel in Russell Auditorium. Students invited to attend
  • 1944 - Miller Hall is constructed to house the college laundry and recreational center.   
  • 1953 - Dr. Henry King Stanford is named president and is at the college until 1956
  • 1954 - Herty Hall is built
  • 1956 - Dr. Robert E. ("Buzz") Lee is named the college president. He remains at the college until 1967
  • Summer 1958 - The Master of Education degree program becomes the first graduate degree program offered at GSCW
  • 1959 - The GSCW Foundation, Inc. was chartered on 28 July 1959. Its "fundamental purposes are to continue those activities that will promote the best interest of the college and to facilitate the contribution of funds and property to a tax-exempt educational corporation." (Columns 1959)
  • 1961 - The college receives a new name: The Woman's College of Georgia (WCG)
  • 1963 - New Chappell Hall is opened
  • 1964 - The first African-American student, Cellestine Hill, enters WCG
  • 1965 - Wells Hall is built
  • 1966 - Adams Hall is completed
  • Spring 1967 - The college becomes co-educational
  • 1967 - The college is renamed: Georgia College at Milledgeville (GCM)
  • 1968 - Dr. J. Whitney Bunting becomes president of the college and serves in the office until 1981
  • 1970 - The Honors Program is established
  • 1971 - The college is named Georgia College (GC)
  • 1972 - Napier Hall is built
  • November 1972 - Last performance of Golden Slipper
  • 1972 - Maxwell Student Union is dedicated
  • 1981 - Dr. Edwin G. Speir, Jr. becomes president and serves for fifteen years, 1981-1996
  • 1985 - 17 September 1985. Faculty Senate is formed. Dr. Jerry Fly is elected Chair.
  • 1989 - Centennial Center is opened
  • 1990 - The Southern Railway System gifts the Old Southern Railway freight depot to Georgia College
  • 1996 - The university is renamed Georgia College & State University (GCSU) and receives a mission change to become Georgia's public liberal arts university
  • 1996 - The new Arts & Sciences Building is dedicated
  • January 1997 - the Arts & Sciences fountain is installed
  • January-July 1997 - Dr. Ralph W. Hemphill serves as acting president
  • August 1997 - Dr. Rosemary DePaolo becomes the first woman president of the university
  • Fall 1997 - The Bobcat becomes the official mascot of GCSU
  • October 1999 - Hall House is purchased by the University.  The offices of Public Safety currently occupies the building
  • June 2001 - Georgia College & State University becomes 18th member of Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC)
  • 2001 - Georgia College is one of the founding members of the Georgia WebMBA program
  • 2001 - The Science Education Center is established
  • 14 February 2003 - The newly built Foundational Hall and newly rebuilt Parkhust Hall open to residents. 550 students are moved from temporary housing and existing buildings into the new facilities
  • August 2003 - Three buildings of the apartment complex at West Campus open. Originally dubbed Bobcat Village, this six building complex is now known as the Village 
  • January 2004 Dr. Dorothy Leland becomes President of the university
  • August 2004 - A renovated Sanford Hall opens as the first Honors Residential Community. Also a rebuilt Napier, Wells, and Adams hall open.
  • 2004 - With help from the Georgia General Assembly and the Woodruff Foundation, a painstaking restoration of the Old Governor's Mansion is completed as a historic house museum, interpreted in the years 1851-1853.
  • 2004 - West Campus becomes an apartment complex to serve upperclassmen
  • October 2005 The newly expanded and renovated Library & Instructional Technology Building is dedicated.
  • 2005 - Renovation of the former First Methodist Church as the new Student Activities Center is completed. The Magnolia Ballroom centerpiece provides an elegant space for events and gatherings
  • Fall 2006- During renovations, Bell Hall is named future home to the Honors Resident Learning Community. Bell Hall is reopened at the end of September 2006. 
  • 2006- The USG Board of Regents approves the Macon Center for Graduate and Professional Learning for operation in downtown Macon by Georgia College
  • May 2009 - The University Foundation purchases the Newell-Watts House and Carl Vinson House. The Newell-Watts House is now home to University Communications and the Vinson House is home to the Office of Leadership Programs.
  • July 2009 - Dr. Sandra Jordan becomes the first Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Georgia College. (2009-2012)
  • November 2009 - The renovated Health Sciences Building and Parks Memorial Hall reopen
  • 2010 - The Campus Theatre reopens after extensive restoration and renovation to become the home for the Georgia College Department of Theatre Arts and a "black box theatre" as well as the University Bookstore
  • July 2011 - Dr. Stas Preczewski becomes the Interim President for Georgia College 
  • November 2011 - The Wellness and Recreation Center opens at West Campus
  • May 2012 - The Doctorate of Nurse Practitioner program begins on campus. (accredited 2013). First doctorate program at Georgia College.
  • September 2012 - Dr. Steve Dorman becomes the 11th President of the university
  • 15 October 2012 - Herty Hall addition formally opened. The addition includes a roof level green house, an observatory, and expanded space for offices/classrooms
  • August 2013 - Dr. Kelli Brown becomes the second Provost (2013-2019)
  • August 2014 - GCSU celebrates its 125th anniversary aka quasquicentennial
  • June 2017 - The Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Childhood Literacy opens
  • 9 August 2017 - Andalusia is gifted to the GCSU Foundation
  • October 2017 - The HUB opens in Blackbridge Hall
  • October 2017 - Mayfair Hall reopens as the home to GC Admissions
  • October 2017 - McIntosh House reopens as the home of several academic offices
  • November 2017 - Beeson Hall reopens as the home for instructional labs and faculty offices
  • 2 November 2018 - Heritage Hall opens in the Russell Library building
  • 2 November 2018 - The Special Collections Galleries in Heritage Hall opens
  • 2019 -  The GCSU College of Education establishes an Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction
  • February 2019 - The NHPC Historic Preservation Plaza opens.
  • 3 April 2019 -  The newly renovated Peabody Auditorium is opened
  • October 2019 - Dr. Costas Spirou is named Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He is the third Provost.
  • January 2020 - Dr. Irene Burgess is named inaugural Executive Director of the Andalusia Institute
  • 1 January 2020 - The Rural Studies Institute is established. Dr. Veronica Womack is named its first Executive Director
  • February 2020 -The grand re-opening of Terrell Hall is held
  • March 2020 - All classes move online for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • July 2020 - Dr. Brian Newsome is named the first Dean of the new John E. Sallstrom Honors College 
  • August 2021 - Classes resume face to face instruction
  • 29 September 2021 - Ribbon cutting for the new Integrated Science Complex
  • September 2021 - Dr. Steve Dorman steps away as President of Georgia College
  • 1 October 2021 - Cathy Cox becomes the 12th President of Georgia College & State University
  • May 2022  - The J. Whitney Bunting College of Business is renamed The J. Whitney Bunting College of Business and Technology
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