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A Timeline History of Higher Education in


By Marie Jarra
1785 Georgia became the first state to charter a state-supported university
University of Georgia was founded as a Public 4 year institution in Athens Georgia. It
was incorporated by an act of the General Assembly.
1804 University of Georgia graduated its first graduating class.
1828 Medical College of Georgia was established as a research institution in Augusta GA.
1831 LaGrange College was founded as a female educational institution. It was founded as a
private college in Georgia and is the oldest private college in Georgia, it is affiliated with
the United Methodist Church.
1833 Mercer University was founded as a Baptist institution but no longer has affiliation. A
private 4fouryear liberal arts institution located in Macon Georgia.
1835 Oglethorpe University was established but after the Civil War in 1862 the school closed
and reopened in 1862 and relocated to Atlanta as a private four year liberal arts
1836 Emory University was established by the Methodist Episcopalian Church in Oxford. The
founder of Coca-Cola donated land for the school which relocated in 1915 to Atlanta as a
private four year liberal arts school it is also home to Emory Healthcare.
1839 Georgia Female College opened its doors as the first full college for women. Later
renamed Wesleyan College.
1852 Gordon State College was established as the Male and Female Seminary School in
Barnesville it became a four year state college in 2006
1862 The Morrill Land-Grant Act is passed into law, which allowed states to freely receive
land for public universities.
1865 The 13th Amendment abolishing slavery is passed
1867 Morehouse College was founded. Historically Black College and University (HBCU)
Private Liberal Arts College for men. Began in Augusta at Springfield Baptist Church
relocated to Atlanta in 1879
1881 Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary was founded by Laura Spelman Rockefellar. Now
Spelman College one of Americas oldest private historically black colleges for women
located in Atlanta GA.
1885 Georgia Institute of Technology was founded because of a belief that the south needed to
improve its technology to compete with the industrial revolution that was taking place
throughout the Northern states. Its doors were open in October 1888 to 84 students in
Atlanta, GA.
1887 Hatch Act of 1887 was established giving federal aid to state land-grant colleges for
agricultural improvements.
1896 Plessy v. Ferguson US Supreme Court decision to uphold state laws racial segregation in
public facilities including schools. Separate but equal was policy.
1899 Droughons Practical Business College in Savannah GA was established, it was later
named South University as a private for-profit institution.
1905 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (CFAT) was founded.
1906 Georgia Southern University began as First District Agricultural & Mechanical School.
Its inaugural academic year began in 1908, it was founded as a school for teaching
modern agricultural production techniques and homemaking skills to rural school
children in Statesboro Georgia.
1913 Georgia State University was founded as the Georgia Institute of Technology's "Evening
School of Commerce." Holding classes in rented space in downtown Atlanta. The School
moved its location several times to surroundings that could accommodate the increasing
enrollment. It is now a four year research institution located in Atlanta Georgia.
1919 The American Council on Education laid out its expectations for colleges. The
requirements included 120 semester hours to earn a baccalaureate degree.
1926 Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) was given as a way for entrance into college.
1931 The University System of Georgia was created when the state legislature passed the
Reorganization Act of 1931. The act was for the creation of a Board of Regents to
oversee the state's higher education system, which at that time consisted of twenty-six
independently run colleges and universities.
1941 Eugene Talmadge triggered nationwide uproar by discharging three educators in the state
of Georgia university system, who were alleged to have advocated racial equality in the
schools. The state university system lost its accreditation for a time as a result of
Talmadge's action it was restored in 1943.
1944 The Servicemens Readjustment Act, better known as the GI Bill, passes Congress and
provides benefits to veterans that include tuition, books and living expenses while
attending school.
1954 Brown v. Board of Education. Overturned Plessy v. Ferguson. Declared that separate but
equal educational facilities are unconstitutional. After the ruling many Georgians were
still opposed to integration.
1958 Georgia Perimeter College was established in 1958 through the Junior College Act of
1958. It opened as Dekalb College in Clarkston Georgia as a two year community
1959 The American College Testing (ACT) Program is founded as another exam to measure
entrance into colleges.
1961 With the success of a campaign launched by the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for desegregation of southern colleges and
universities, the U.S. District Court judge William Bootle ordered the admission of
Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter to the University of Georgia (UGA).
1964 Civil Rights Act of 1964 education and Title VI prohibit discrimination against anyone
because of their race, color, or national origin in programs or activities that receive
federal financial assistance.
1965 Higher Education Act of 1965(HEA) provided financial assistance for students in
postsecondary and higher education
1971 The Computer: Apple began to distributed Apple 1 model computers to school for
research usage.
1978 Savannah College of Art and Design opened as a private four year college with the main
campus in Savannah and other locations including Atlanta.
1990 Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (GNPEC) was established to
ensure each authorized college or school is educationally sound and financially stable.
Such schools that GNPEC serviced included Atlanta Dental and Medical Assistant
School, Atlanta Dog Trainers School for Professional Dog Trainers and Action
Bartending School & Hospitality/Norcross.
1993 Georgia's first HOPE Scholarship is awarded to Matthew Miller of Snellville Georgia, to
attend Gwinnett Technical College. A scholarship program created by Georgia Governor
Zell Miller to reward students with financial assistance in degree, diploma, and
certificate programs at eligible Georgia public, private colleges and universities, and
public technical colleges. The money would be funded by revenue from the Georgia
Lottery and is administered by the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC).
1996 Georgia State University and Georgia Tech provided facilities for Olympic Village for
the 1996 Olympic Games. Schools in other parts of the state hosted competitions and
allowed their campuses to be used for training and practice.
1998 All schools in the university system changed from a quarter-based to a semester-based
academic calendar.
2000 Education Reform Act House Bill 1187 was signed and it signified that all Georgia
technical schools become technical colleges.
2005 Georgia Gwinnett College was established. It was the first public four year institution in
Georgia in 100 years located in Lawrenceville GA.
2008 State Board of the technical college system of Georgia voted to consolidate 14 technical
2011 With the State of Georgia facing a budget shortfall, the state cut portions of the HOPE
scholarship. Bill 326 trimmed scholarships by 90 percent. High school seniors who earn a
3.7 GPA and a 1200 on the SAT will still be able to get a full scholarship under the new
Georgia Board of Regents has banned undocumented students from attending Georgias
top five public universities and prohibited them from qualifying for in-state tuition.
2013 Board of Regents authorized the consolidation of eight colleges and formerly appointed
campus presidents.
Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University formed Georgia
Regents University.
2015 The regents reversed their decision and voted to change the name of Georgia Regents
University again to Augusta University. The new name was controversial among many
alumni, students and faculty members because the new name did not include homage to
the city of Augusta, where the university is located.
2016 Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed House Bill 859(Campus Carry) which would legalize firearms
at all public colleges in Georgia.
House Bill 54 was passed to provides financial assistance in postsecondary education for
children of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, paramedic, emergency medical
technician, and prison guard employed by the state or other public employer and
Highway Emergency Response Operator who was killed or permanently disabled in the
line of duty.
House Bill 798 allows for home-schooled students to qualify for the HOPE Scholarship
by completing a program and scoring in the seventy-fifth percentile or higher nationally
on the SAT or ACT. It also allows home-schooled students to qualify for the Zell Miller
Scholarship by completing a home study program and scoring in the ninety-third
percentile or higher on the SAT or ACT.

Donnie D. Bellamy, "Whites Sue for Desegregation in Georgia: The Fort Valley State College
Case," Journal of Negro History 64 (autumn 1979): 316-41.
Diractory of Georgia Colleges. (2016). Emmis Communications Corporation, 128-141.
Retrieved from Emmis Communications Corporation.
Fincher, C. (2016, April 6). University System of Georgia. Retrieved from New Georgia
Hatfield, E. A. (2016, June 24). Desegration of Higher Education. Retrieved from New Georgia
History. (2015). Retrieved from State of Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education
History and Traditions. (2016). Retrieved from Georgia Tech:
History of UGA. (2011, July 11). Retrieved from University of Georgia:
Our History. (2016). Retrieved from Georgia Southern University:
Special Collections and Archives: Georgia State University History: Brief History; Admin. Org.
(2016, May 4). Retrieved from Georgia State University Library: