Georgia State University
MottoScript error
Motto in EnglishTruth is valuable and shall overcome
Endowment$112.2 million(2012)[1]
PresidentMark P. Becker
Admin. staff1,716
LocationAtlanta, Georgia, United States
CampusUrban; Script error
ColorsBlue      and white     [1]
AthleticsNCAA Division I Colonial Athletic Association
MascotPounce, the blue panther

Georgia State University (GSU) is a 4-year research university in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Founded in 1913, it is one of the University System of Georgia's four research universities. With more than 30,000 students,[2] its enrollment is second only to the University of Georgia. Georgia State is a commuter campus with nearly 25% of its students studying part-time.[3] The school is a popular pick for non-traditional students or post-baccalaureate students due to the school's history as a night school, location and accessibility with MARTA. In 2012, the average age on campus was 24.[4] In contrast to other universities in the state, the average age for all students, both full-time and part-time at University of Georgia and Georgia Tech was 20. The percentage of students studying part-time was 5% at both institutions.

Georgia State University offers more than 60 graduate and undergraduate degree and nondegree programs spread across six academic departments[5] with more than 1,000 faculty members. Since its inception, 192,785 degrees have been conferred, with 6,737 of them conferred during fiscal year 2011. The university has a full-time faculty count of 1,142, with 69 percent of those faculty members either tenured or on tenure track.[6] The university has an economic impact on the Atlanta economy of more than $1.4 billion annually.[7]

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The President of Georgia State University (currently Mark P. Becker) is the head administrator and is appointed and overseen by the Georgia Board of Regents.

The University comprises eight schools and colleges, and although some divisions use "college" and some use "school", the title does not indicate any distinction between the eight colleges and schools that constitute the university:

Schools and collegesEdit

Campus securityEdit

File:Georgia State University Police GA.jpg

Georgia State has the largest campus police department of any school in Georgia with more than 100 employees. The force is the only nationally- and state-certified police force among the universities in Georgia. The school uses video surveillance, call stations, and escort systems to provide student safety.[1] With added concerns for student safety in the wake of increased crime downtown and at nearby Georgia Tech, Georgia State has hired additional security personnel to patrol campus and the surrounding area. As of 2011, there have been 1153 instances of Larceny/Thefts, 14 instances of vandalism, 55 instances of motor vehicle thefts, 31 instances of aggravated assault, 12 forcible sex offenses, 73 instaces of robbery in the past three years.[2] In August 2012, a former Georgia State University soccer player, Ayokunle Lumpkin, was shot dead in southeast Atlanta.[3] In June of 2012, another GSU soccer player, Timothy Nixon, was killed when he crashed into an ice cream shop near the entrance of Underground Atlanta on the GSU campus. At the time of the accident, he was on a recruiting trip. The incident called for more security for Underground Atlanta.[4]


University rankings
ARWU[5] Unranked
Forbes[6] 403
U.S. News & World Report[7] Unranked
Washington Monthly[8] 92
ARWU[9] Not Ranked
QS[10] 601+ (Unranked)
Times[11] Not ranked

Initially intended as a night school. Georgia State University was established in 1913 as the Georgia School of Technology's "Evening School of Commerce".[12] 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 Georgia and was named the "Atlanta Division of the University of Georgia." The school was later removed from the University of Georgia 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 Georgia Board of Regents accorded Georgia State "research university" status, joining the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Georgia, and the Georgia Regents University. Georgia State is located in downtown Atlanta. The Sports Arena and center campus are less than a half-mile from CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park, Philips Arena and the Georgia Dome. The campus is right next to Underground Atlanta. The campus intersects Peachtree Street.


The first African-American student enrolled at Georgia State in 1962, a year after the integration of the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech. Annette Lucille Hall was a Lithonia social studies teacher who enrolled in the course of the Institute on Americanism and Communism, a course required for all Georgia social studies teachers. [13]

The Peachtree Road Race, was started by Georgia State crosscountry coach and dean of men Tim Singleton. The “father of the Peachtree” headed it the first six years before turning it over to the Atlanta Track Club by using volunteers from Georgia State’s fraternities and sororities. He marked the first race with cooking flour to indicate mileage and charged a $2 entry fee. The second year, he created the first valuable collectible T-shirt. [14]

Campus expansionEdit


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 Arena (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 and renovation of the Standard Building, the Haas-Howell Building, and the Rialto Theater in 1996. The Standard and Haas-Howell buildings house classrooms, offices, and practice spaces for the School of Music, and the Rialto is home to GSU's Jazz Studies program and an 833-seat theater. In 1998, the Student Center was expanded toward 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 would 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. A $20 million refurbishment to the Pullen Library complex was completed during the 2006-07 school year.[15]

The university has announced an expansion of their Alpharetta campus to include more classrooms and collaboration spaces, with work beginning heavily in 2010. The university will add more than a dozen major new structures as it tries to accommodate an extra 10,000 full-time students projected to flow onto campus by 2015.[citation needed] Several of those buildings, such as new on-campus student and Greek housing, a new convocation hall and an expanded athletic center, were included in GSU's new 10-year master plan with undergraduates in mind.

On the May 31, 2012, the athletics department released a new facilities master plan. The plan includes upgrades and renovations to the GSU Sports Arena including new outdoor sand volleyball courts and a new volleyball arena, as well as plans to build new baseball, softball, and soccer stadiums. These would replace the current stadiums in Panthersville, GA, and would be built as close to campus in and around downtown as possible. No land has yet been identified, nor has any date. Instead, the University will build as soon as funding becomes available.[16]

Georgia State was named the institution awarding most bachelor degrees to African Americans. The school is a minority-majority school.[17]

Coat of armsEdit

The school’s coat of arms is registered in the College of Arms in London. The Latin motto means “Truth is strong and will conquer” (or alternatively, "Truth is valuable and shall overcome"). The panther holds the symbol of education, with the quill in red to symbolize the fire in Atlanta’s city emblem. The gold coin indicates the university’s beginnings as a business school. The crown is a representation of the Stone Mountain granite. The center flame is an eternal flame in honor of the first president, George Sparks, and represents flames of scholarship and the burning of Atlanta.[18]



While constantly evolving from a single building night school into the university it is today, Georgia State has built itself into the urban fabric of Downtown Atlanta. Whereas the school's nickname—dating from the early 1960s—of "the Concrete Campus" was once a source of mild embarrassment, today its unique setting is embraced with the slogan, "a part of the city, not apart from the city".[19] This has led to the widening of sidewalks around the campus, and a focus on Decatur Street as becoming the "Main Street" of the campus.


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. The Village was later sold the Georgia Institute of Technology.

University LoftsEdit

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. As of Spring 2011, Georgia State's housing system has a capacity of approximately 3300 beds.

University CommonsEdit

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.[20] A GSU economics professor estimated the new dorm could have an economic impact of $10–12 million on downtown Atlanta.[20] The university plans to ultimately accommodate 20% of its enrollment in housing near the downtown campus.[20] With the planned opening of University Commons, it was announced on March 7, 2007 that the Georgia Institute of Technology was acquiring the Olympic Village housing, which is located across North Avenue from the Institute.[21]

Freshman HallEdit

In the fall of 2009, Georgia State opened a 350-bed residence hall exclusively for freshman students. Located on the corner of Piedmont and Edgewood Avenues, Freshman Hall (as it is called) is conveniently located in close proximity to the heart of the GSU campus. One notable feature in the Freshman Hall is Georgia State's first cafeteria-style dining facility. This dining hall is open to all GSU students who have purchased the meal plan and features a wide assortment of food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Additionally, other members of the GSU community and guests are welcome to purchase meals on an individual basis.

Greek HousingEdit

For the 2010 academic year, Georgia State opened its Greek Housing facility, located adjacent to Freshman Hall on Edgewood Avenue. Each townhome in the complex features a chapter room, kitchen, and bedrooms. Greek members are also free to use community rooms in the university center. The most notable Greek communities on campus are National Pan-Hellenic Council fraternities and sororities.

Piedmont NorthEdit

Most recently, following its plan for expansion, Georgia State acquired two hotels in downtown Atlanta, the Wyndham Garden Hotel and Baymont Inn and Suites on Piedmont Avenue. The hotels and grounds have been renovated and changed into dorms, Piedmont North Buildings A and B, contributing to the university's transformation into a 24/7 community in the heart of the city.[22] The complex now includes living and study space for nearly 1,000 students, as well as greenspace, recreational areas, and a brand new Script error dining hall, the Piedmont North Dining Hall.

To cope with changes in its student population, Georgia State is pursuing increased expansion through the potential acquisition or construction of buildings in the downtown Atlanta area.

Student lifeEdit

Campus transportationEdit

Georgia State's campus transportation system, referred to as "Panther Express", has routes running between various points on campus as well as a route connecting the main campus to the Blue Lot of Turner Field, where GSU students may park for free during days on which the Atlanta Braves are not playing a game at home.[1] On campus, Georgia State owns and maintains approximately 5,000 parking spaces for use by faculty, staff, students, and visitors. Commuting students, faculty and staff may also ride MARTA to and from the university. There are three MARTA train stations convenient to GSU. The Georgia State MARTA station is located a short distance from the Sports Arena and other main campus buildings, while the Five Points MARTA station is only blocks away from the Fairlie-Poplar district, where the Aderhold Learning Center and School of Music buildings are located. The Peachtree Center MARTA station is located a few blocks north of the Fairlie-Poplar district, Aderhold, and the School of Music. In addition to the MARTA rail stations, numerous MARTA bus stops are scattered about in various locations on and around campus.[2] Along with MARTA transportation will be a streetcar system covering much of the campus. This streetcar system won funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2010. Steps towards its funding are currently being taken. The Westmar Student Lofts also offer a shuttle to and from the Georgia State campus.

Student mediaEdit

There are four student-run media organizations:

  • The Signal, weekly newspaper
  • GSTV, a TV channel produced and aired by students
  • WRAS-FM (Album 88) radio, with the highest power (100,000 watts) of any college radio station in the USA[3]
  • New South, literary journal

Student facilitiesEdit

Student Recreation CenterEdit

The on campus Recreation Center features racquetball courts, a squash court, a 7,000 square foot free-weight area, an aquatic center, a 35 foot climbing wall, game rooms, exercise rooms, aerobics, dance, and martial arts studios, and a gymnasium containing four basketball/volleyball courts. The top level includes a running track and omni gym. The aquatic center features an 9-lane lap pool with a 1 meter diving board, a "leisure pool" with vortex, a spa, and a sauna. The omni gym is outfitted to allow for multiple different sports, including badminton, basketball, fencing, arena flag football, indoor soccer, and volleyball.[4]


Georgia State University 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 played host to various special events including screening films for The Atlanta Underground Film Festival and DragonCon.

Panther DiningEdit

There are two dining halls at Georgia State, one in Freshman Hall and another in Piedmont North dorms. In addition to these, there are food courts in the University Center and in the Student Center, as well as restaurants in the bottom of Kell Hall.[5]



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 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.

In 2010, Georgia State University established its first ever Marching Band. The marching band began its inaugural season in the fall of 2010. 150 students exceeded School of Music expectation and successfully auditioned for the band and established traditions of excellence in musicality and dedication. In its first year, the band performed at all home football games, a high school marching band exhibition, and (most notably) during the Georgia State vs. Alabama football game on November 18, 2010, in Tuscaloosa. The band is a drum corps style unit that focuses on precision musicality and movement. Like most ensembles, the band features a colorguard section, but in a departure from typical marching bands, the traditional auxiliary front sideline percussion section, or pit, has been replaced by a four-piece rock band consisting of a lead guitar, bass guitar, drum set, and keyboard synthesizer. Just after its third full season, the Georgia State University Marching Band will be participating in the Presidential Inauguration Parade in January of 2013.

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.

In 2012, GSU was mentioned in rapper Drake's hit single, "HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)". The song referenced Drake's previous girlfriend as a gold digger who attends GSU.[6] The song hit controversy when the school was named number one "sugar baby" college in America a few months later.[7]


More than 250 fields of study are offered through some 52 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 100 public universities for doctoral degrees awarded. In 2011, $58,492,317 in external research funding was received by Georgia State investigators.[8]

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.[9]

On August 31, 2006, Georgia State announced that it 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. University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University are also part of the SURAGrid.[10]

Georgia State University hosts one of the world's most powerful optical stellar interferometers, the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA), atop Mt. Wilson, California;[11] in 2007 this telescope array became the first to actually image the surface of another sunlike star.[12]


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Georgia State currently sponsors 17 NCAA Division I teams. Georgia State University competes with 16 teams in an athletics program at the highest level of NCAA competition (Division I).

Since 2008, Georgia State has been a part of the Colonial Athletic Association. Georgia State won four CAA Championships in its first three years. On April 9, 2012, Georgia State officially accepted an invitation to enter the Sun Belt Conference in all sports, moving its football team to the highest level of collegiate football, the Football Bowl Subdivision. GSU will officially enter the Sun Belt on July 1, 2013.

Georgia State University charges a fee to each student that enrolls at the school (called the "Athletic Fee"). The fee is currently $283.00 and is charged every semester along with other academic fees. This fee is used for athletic scholarships and other costs associated with competitive athletics. The athletic fee allows students to use their Panther Card (Student Identification Card) for free access to athletic events.[1]

Greek lifeEdit

Georgia State University is home to twenty-nine fraternities and sororities[1]: six of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (IFC), five of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), seven of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and eleven multicultural organizations operating as the Multicultural Greek Council [2] (MGC). Greek life at Georgia State continues to grow with the addition of Greek Housing in 2010.


Alumni and facultyEdit

Script error Since its opening, Georgia State has graduated 175,000 alumni. Currently, it is estimated there are 100,000 alumni living in the metro Atlanta area.

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Reed, Merl E. Educating the Urban New South: Atlanta and the Rise of Georgia State University, 1913–1969 (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2009. xiv, 321 pp.) ISBN 978-0-88146-148-0


External linksEdit

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