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Georgia State University (GSU) is an urban research university in downtown Atlanta, Georgiamarker, USAmarker. Founded in 1913, it serves over 30,000 students, and is one of the University System of Georgia's four research universities. The current university president is Mark P. Becker.


View of (from L-R) the Sports Arena and Library South on Decatur Street
Georgia State University was established in 1913 as the Georgia School of Technology'smarker "Evening School of Commerce." The school focused on what was called "the new science of business." A reorganization of the University System of Georgia in the 1930s led to the school becoming the "Atlanta Extension Center of the University System of Georgia," and allowed night students to earn degrees from several colleges in the University System. During this time, the school had two informal names: "Georgia Evening College," which granted business degrees, and "Atlanta Junior College." In September 1947, the school became affiliated with the University of Georgiamarker and was named the "Atlanta Division of the University of Georgia." The school received its independence in 1955 and became the "Georgia State College of Business Administration." In 1961, other programs at the school had grown large enough that the name was shortened to "Georgia State College." It became Georgia State University in 1969. In 1995, the State Board of Regents accorded Georgia State "research university" status, joining the Georgia Institute of Technologymarker, the University of Georgiamarker, and the Medical College of Georgiamarker.

Presidents of Georgia State University

  • George Sparks (1928–1957)
  • Noah Langdale (1957–1988)
  • William Suttles (1988–1989)
  • John Palms (1989–1991)
  • Sherman Day (1991–1992)
  • Carl Patton (1992–2008)
  • Mark P. Becker (2009–)

Campus expansion


Over its 90-plus year history, Georgia State's growth has required the acquisition and construction of more space to suit its needs. During the late 1960s/early 1970s, numerous buildings were constructed as part of a major urban renewal project, such as the Pullen Library (1966), Classroom South (1968), the expansion of the Pullen Library in 1968, the Arts and Humanities Building (1970), the ten-story General Classroom Building (1971), the Sports Arenamarker (1973), and the twelve-story Urban Life Building (1974). In addition, a raised plaza and walkway system was constructed to connect these buildings with each other over Decatur Street and parking structures.


In the 1980s, another round of expansion took place with the acquisition of the former Atlanta Municipal Auditorium in 1979, which was subsequently converted into Alumni Hall in 1982, and currently houses Georgia State's administrative offices. That same year, the College of Law was founded in the Urban Life Building, and the Title Building on Decatur Street was acquired and converted into the College of Education's headquarters and classroom space. In 1988, the nine-story Library South was constructed on the south side of Decatur Street, which was connected to the Pullen Library via a three-story high foot bridge (officially referred to as a "link") and effectively doubled the library's space. The University Center was expanded in 1989 to include the University Bookstore Building, which also houses the Auxiliary Services Department.


Georgia State continued this growth into the 1990s, with the expansion of Alumni Hall in 1991, the opening of the Natural Science Center in 1992, and the acquisition of the former C&S Bank Building on Marietta Street in 1993, which is now the home of the Robinson College of Business. Georgia State's first move into the Fairlie-Poplar district was the acquisition of the Rialto Theater in 1996. In 1998, the Student Center was expanded towards Gilmer Street and provided a new 400-seat auditorium and space for exhibitions and offices for student clubs. A new Student Recreation Center opened on the corner of Piedmont Avenue and Gilmer Street in 2001. In 2002, the five-story high Helen M. Aderhold Learning Center opened on Luckie Street amid controversy over the demolition of historical buildings on its block. Most recently, in 2004, the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies was moved to the former Wachovia Bank Building at Five Points.


In 2006, the University announced a $1 billion campus expansion that will add over a dozen new buildings, including a new convocation center, science research park, new buildings for the schools of business and law, a new humanities building, and an expanded student recreation center. Streetscape improvements are also included, such as improvements to Decatur Street and Piedmont Avenue, and dropping raised walkways to street level. Sparks and Kell Halls will be torn down, with Sparks being torn down first to make way for the new humanities building. Many projects are already underway, with a $20 million refurbishment to the Pullen Library complex completed during the 2006-07 school year. The university has also announced an expansion of their Alpharetta campus to include more classrooms and collaboration spaces, with work beginning heavily in 2010.


For much of its history Georgia State was a commuter school with no on-campus or university-owned housing. After the 1996 Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, Georgia State acquired the 2,000-bed Olympic Village housing complex located at the southeast corner of Centennial Olympic Park Drive (formerly Techwood Drive) and North Avenue that was used to board Olympic athletes during the Games. In August 2002, the 450-bed University Lofts opened at the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Courtland Street on the northeast side of campus as housing for graduate students, undergraduates over the age of twenty-one, and honors students.

On August 10, 2007, Georgia State opened the University Commons, a $165 million complex housing 1,992 students, occupying a city block bounded by Ellis Street, Piedmont Avenue, John Wesley Dobbs Avenue and Jesse Hill Jr. Drive. A GSU economics professor estimated the new dorm could have an economic impact of $10–12 million on downtown Atlanta. The university plans to ultimately accommodate 20% of its enrollment in housing near the downtown campus. With the planned opening of University Commons, it was announced on March 7, 2007 that the Georgia Institute of Technologymarker was acquiring the Olympic Village housing, which is located across North Avenue from the Institute.

On February 28, 2008, groundbreaking for a freshman and Greek organization housing complex took place at the corner of Piedmont and Edgewood avenues across from the University Lofts. When completed in Fall 2009, the 500-bed complex will include a 350-bed six-story freshman dormitory, nine townhomes for GSU fraternities and sororities with 145 beds, and a dining hall open to the student body. However, the Greek Housing completion has been postponed until approximately 2010 due to higher building costs than estimated. The freshman housing is still scheduled to open in Fall 2009

Freshman learning communities

GSU Freshman learning communities is a program that offers freshman the chance to select a pre-planned schedule of courses that surrounds them with 25 or so other students with similar interests. The schedule includes 5 classes including GSU 1010 which is the class unique to FLCs. The class is a 3 credit course that does not go towards the 120 hour degree. The grading scale is A, B, C, D, and F. the final score is added into the students GPA. The class meets weekly giving students and opportunity to befriend fellow freshman. It is taught by faculty advisors and staff members that have and interest in the course field. Freshman Learning Communities help integrate students into the university life and also discusses possible career choices and majors.

Georgia State college-level units

View of (from L-R) the Student Center, Urban Life Building, and University Center
Georgia State has six college-level units:

Student media

There are five student-run media organizations:
  • The Signal/Urbanite, weekly newspaper and monthly magazine
  • Rampway Online, online magazine (currently offline)
  • GSTV, closed-circuit television, (active after long hiatus)
  • WRAS-FMmarker (Album 88) radio, with the highest power (100 kilowatts ERP) of any college radio station in the USA
  • New South, literary journal


Rialto Center
Georgia State University makes notable contributions to the cultural vitality of the downtown Atlanta community. A prominent cultural stage is the Rialto Center for the Arts, an 833-seat performing-arts venue located in the heart of the Fairlie-Poplar district in downtown Atlanta. The venue is home to the Rialto Series, presenting the best of national and international jazz, world music, and dance; School of Music performances; the Atlanta Film Festival, and many others. The School of Music also holds concerts featuring faculty, students, and guest performers in the Kopleff Recital Hall throughout the year. In addition, the university's Art Galleries, based in the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design, feature special exhibitions, student and faculty works, and visiting artist collections.

The Digital Arts and Entertainment Laboratory (DAEL), housed in the Department of Communication, offers a full range of equipment and facilities for digital media research and production. It also includes state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for producing and manipulating extraordinarily high quality moving images. In addition, DAEL provides state-of-the-art facilities and equipment for assessing audience responses to film, television, computer animation, and interactive media.

Georgia State University also operates Cinefest Film Theatre, a student-run movie theater in the school's University Center. Cinefest exhibits a wide array of motion pictures including international cinema, art house films, revival house movies, and second-run Hollywood fare. It has also played host to various special events including screening films for The Atlanta Underground Film Festival and DragonCon.

The university is also home to Five Points: A Journal of Literature & Art, which has grown to national prominence since it first began publication over a decade ago.


More than 250 fields of study are offered through some fifty-two accredited degree programs at the bachelor's, master's, specialist, and doctoral levels. Students may enroll in day or evening classes and in part-time or full-time study. It is also on the list of the top one-hundred public universities for doctoral degrees awarded.

Georgia State houses three university libraries. Additionally, many academic departments provide libraries for their students. The University Library (also known as the William Russell Pullen Library, housed in Library North and Library South) contains more than 1.4 million volumes, including 8,000 active serials and nearly 22,000 media materials. The library provides access to numerous electronic periodical and resource indexes (many with full text), more than14,000 electronic journals, and about 30,000 electronic books. It is also a Federal Document Depository and holds more than 820,000 government documents with electronic access to many additional titles.

Faculty in the university's College of Arts and Sciences are making new important discoveries in a wide range of fields, from biotechnology to aging, from stellar astronomy to language acquisition, and from international development to the digital arts and media — to name but a few. The excellence of these programs has attracted high levels of funding from prominent government agencies, private foundations, and industry partners.

On August 31, 2006, it was announced that Georgia State would be participating in a supercomputing grid with the installation of an IBM P575 Supercomputer in its Network Operations Center. Through an initiative known as SURAGrid, eventually 24 universities in 15 states throughout the Southeast United States will form the research backbone and at its peak, the network will be able to perform over 10 trillion calculations per second.


GSU's two primary athletics logotypes

Georgia State currently sponsors 17 NCAA Division I teams.

Until 2003, the Panthers men's basketball team was coached by Lefty Driesell, one of the winningest coaches in Division I history.

On July 1, 2005, the school left the Atlantic Sun Conference to join the Colonial Athletic Association.

In 2006, the Panthers won their first two conference championships as a member of the CAA, winning both in men's and women's golf.

In March 2007, after two consecutive 20 loss seasons in men's basketball, Georgia State fired head coach and former Driesell assistant coach Michael Perry, and hired former Ole Missmarker coach Rod Barnes.

College football

Georgia State's athletic program completed a feasibility study that examined the interest and potential cost to add a Division I FCS college football team. The feasibility study included a survey in which the majority of the students, faculty, staff and alumni expressed their support for this addition. The study included various the financial cost ranging from the renovation of a local stadium in Atlanta to the complete transformation of the current sports arena to a football and basketball arena. In April 2007, Georgia State held a pair of town-hall meetings on the subject of football, in which students, alumni, and faculty were able to comment on the addition of football. At this time, it was stated that if football were to proceed at Georgia State they could play at the Georgia Domemarker.[57583] Later the same week, Georgia State announced that former NFL coach and native Georgian Dan Reeves was to assist with the study of football, and to help with fundraising for the sport.

On October 19, 2007 the Georgia State University Mandatory Student Fee Committee unanimously approved a proposal from the Athletics Department for an $85 per semester increase to support football, additional women’s sports and a marching band program. The committee also unanimously approved a $35 increase request from the Student Activity Fee Committee that would increase funding for student organizations, fine arts programming and a lecture and concert series. Georgia State University was approved by the Board of Regents the total amount of $85 per semester for support of football, and approved for $21 out of $35 for the Student Activity Fee increase.

On April 17, 2008, Georgia State officially announced that Panthers would play Division I-AA college football starting in 2010. The school would compete in the Colonial Athletic Association, with home games at the 70,000-seat Georgia Dome; the school plans to build a new practice field and training facilities, both a few blocks away from campus.

On June 12, 2008, Georgia State announced that Bill Curry would become the University's first Head Football coach.

Greek life

Georgia State University is home to twenty-three fraternities and sororities: four of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (IFC), five of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), eight of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and six of the National Multicultural Greek Council (MGC). Greek life is continually growing at Georgia State and expects a dramatic increase in membership with the future opening of on-campus Greek housing.

View of the plaza with Library North, Library South, and the Classroom South Building in the background

IFC fraternities

In order of chartering upon GSU:

NPC sororities

NPHC fraternities & sororities

MGC sororities

Notable alumni and faculty


  1. Georgia State University History: Timeline 1910-PresentRetrieved March 15, 2008
  2. [1]Retrieved October 30, 2008
  3. Georgia State breaks ground on new student housing projects, Feb. 27, 2008, Retrieved on March 15, 2008.
  4., Freshman Learning Communities. Retrieved on December 1, 2007
  5. Georgia State University News & Events
  6. [2]
  7. [3]
  8. [4]
  9. [5]

External links

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