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Georgia State University

Georgia’s Red-Headed Stepchild Comes of Age

Georgia State students on Ivy Street (Kell Hall entrance), 1946
Georgia State students on Ivy Street (Kell Hall entrance), 1946

Georgia State University: you’ve come a long way, baby! From a commuter night school in downtown Atlanta specializing in adult education for local businessmen to a fully accredited urban research university with satellite campuses and dormitories for the most diverse student body in the University System, GSU has “aged” well. Born as the Tech Night School, then briefly an independent child under a newly formed Board of Regents, soon adopted by the University of Georgia as its Atlanta Division, this “red-headed stepchild” fought hard to chart its own course and assume a mature, independent identity.

Interested in how this happened? There are three histories by university scholars that tell the story:

1. Bertram Holland Flanders. A New Frontier in Education: The Story of the Atlanta Division, University of Georgia. Atlanta: Atlanta Division, University of Georgia, [1955].

2. David Smith, Jr. Georgia State University: A Historical and Institutional Mission Perspective, 1913-2002. Thesis (Ph.D.)—Georgia State University, 2005.

3. Merl E. Reed. Educating the Urban New South: Atlanta and the Rise of Georgia State University, 1913-1969. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2009.

Aerial of Georgia State University campus, 1985
Aerial of Georgia State University campus, 1985

The publications by Dr. Reed and Dr. Smith were based on research materials housed and managed by the University Archives. From documents and photographs to audio recordings and artifacts, many surprising and entertaining stories can be discovered. Watch this blog–we’ll be telling you some of those stories!

By Laurel Bowen and Peter J. Roberts