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Founded in 1889 as a public college for women; Today a model liberal arts university


Due to the lobbying efforts of Julia Flisch, a journalist in Augusta, support builds to establish a publicly funded college for women that would prepare them for the demands of the new industrial age. In 1889, the Georgia Normal & Industrial College is chartered as a two-year college emphasizing teacher training and business skills. 

Classes begin in the newly constructed Main building (lost to fire in 1924), with students housed in the Old Governor's Mansion. The main campus is primarily located on "Penitentiary Square," the site of the former Georgia State Penitentiary (1818-1879). In all, the campus totals 22 acres. 

J. Harris Chappell, the first president, steps down due to illness, and Marvin M. Parks assumes the leadership.

Due to President Parks' persistent advocacy, the college receives authority to grant four-year degrees and establishes its clear independence from the University of Georgia.

Georgia Normal & Industrial College changes to Georgia State College for 
Women. As a teacher's college, courses include psychology, home economics, English, math, art, science, recreation and music.

The first student government association forms. Compulsory uniforms are soon abolished.

In order to boost student morale, Dean of Women Ethel Adams initiates a spirited theatrical competition between freshmen and sophomores that becomes known as "Golden Slipper." This competition endures as one of the College's most popular traditions until the 1970s.


The number of enrolled students, known as Jessies from the sound of GCSW, peaks at 1,500.

Mary Flannery O'Connor enters as a freshman. Active in student publications, she graduates three years later and becomes one of the South’s most noted writers.

GSCW is selected as one of four colleges for training U.S. Navy WAVES. For two years, 15,000 women receive training on campus in storekeeping and clerical duties for the Navy.

Enrollment sinks to a low of 585 as the majority of post-War women prefer coeducational colleges.

The college begins its first graduate program, a Master of Education degree.

Georgia State College for Women is officially renamed The Woman's College of Georgia.

Funds are appropriated for the first adequate renovation of the Governor's Mansion. The work is completed in 1967.

Celestine Hill, the first African-American student, enters the College.

The Woman's College of Georgia becomes coeducational and receives a new name, Georgia College at Milledgeville. In the fall, 185 men join the campus of 1,216 women.

Georgia College at Milledgeville becomes Georgia College.

Total enrollment grows to 3,770.

An educational exchange is established with the People's Republic of China. This begins, in part, a revival of international interaction through study abroad and exchange programs.

The 100th anniversary of the College is marked with the opening of the Centennial Center, which serves as a wellness center and gymnasium.

The Georgia Board of Regents officially charges the institution with its new mission as "Georgia's public liberal arts university" and bestows the sixth name -- Georgia College & State University.

Major residence hall construction is completed as five new buildings open near the main campus to serve more than 1,100 students, primarily freshmen.  In addition, West Campus, becomes home to an apartment complex to serve upperclassmen.

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.

Renovation of the former First Methodist Church as the new Student Activities Center is completed.  The Magnolia Room centerpiece provides an elegant space for events and gatherings.


The USG Board of Regents approves the Macon Center for Graduate and Professional Learning for operation in downtown Macon by Georgia College.


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 and coffee shop.


Georgia College opens the Wellness and Recreation Center on the West Campus, a $26 million state-of-the-art facility that receives a designation for its environmentally friendly architecture and accoutrements.


Georgia College begins its first doctoral program, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).


Georgia College serves more than 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students in four colleges – the College of Arts and Sciences, the J. Whitney Bunting College of Business, the John H. Lounsbury College of Education and the College of Health Sciences -- with a faculty of more than 300. In addition to the Milledgeville campus, Georgia College provides the Center for Graduate and Professional Learning in downtown Macon, graduate programs at Robins AFB and online courses.

Presidents and their terms
1889-1905 – J. Harris Chappell
1905-1926 – Marvin McTyeire Parks
1926-1934 – J. Luther Beeson
1934-1953 – Guy Herbert Wells 
1953-1956 – Henry King Stanford
1956-1967 – Robert E. Lee
1967-1981 – J. Whitney Bunting
1981-1997 – Edwin G. Speir, Jr.
1997-2004 – Rosemary DePaolo
2004-2011 - Dorothy Leland
2012-present - Steve Dorman

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Georgia College • 231 W. Hancock St. • Milledgeville, GA 31061 • 1-800-342-0471 ; Admissions: 478-445-2774 • admissions@gcsu.edu