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The University of North Georgia was formed through the consolidation of North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College in January 2013. The consolidation was part of a University System of Georgia initiative to increase system efficiencies while increasing educational attainment levels for Georgians. During the same period, six other USG institutions were consolidated into three new institutions. The creation of the University of North Georgia built upon a tradition of excellence at both NGCSU and GSC and the distinct previous missions of those institutions.
Following the Civil War, an abandoned U.S. Mint property in Dahlonega, Ga., was given to the state for educational purposes, thus giving birth to what became North Georgia College & State University. Originally named North Georgia Agricultural College, the institution was established in 1873 as a agricultural and mechanical arts college, focusing particularly in mining engineering. As area gold mining resources were depleted, the college’s mission evolved into one emphasizing arts and sciences. The school was renamed North Georgia College in 1929. The institution received university status in 1996 and was given the name North Georgia College & State University. As a state university, the institution expanded its graduate degree programs and admission to its undergraduate programs became more selective.
The state’s second-oldest institution, NGCSU had the distinction of being the first co-educational college in the state and the first to graduate a woman, in 1878. From its beginning, the university has provided military instruction as an option for its students. The university maintains its designation as a Senior Military College through federal legislation. The university has produced generations of military leaders, including some 40 generals, who have served the United States with honor. Today, the Corps of Cadets continues to be a signature program of the university.
In 1962, the leaders of Gainesville and Hall County established Gainesville Junior College, a community college, to enhance the community’s growing role as the region’s epicenter of banking, finance, medicine, law, and industry. City, county, and state forces, as well as private corporations, made substantial contributions in construction, donations of land, and other services to facilitate the development of a comprehensive educational complex. Gainesville Junior College (until 1987 and Gainesville College until 2005) opened in the fall of 1966. The college began classes in Gainesville using the Civic Center and the First Baptist Church as campuses but was able to move into its own buildings in 1967.
Established to provide broad access to a quality liberal arts higher education, primarily for the population of Northeast Georgia, the college experienced rapid enrollment and facility growth in its early years. The college also established a strong tradition of service beyond its immediate student body and into the community by offering continuing education programs, public service activities, cultural enrichment experiences, and forums for public discussion.
In 2000, the Board of Regents granted the college permission to establish the University Center, through which it formed partnerships with other baccalaureate degree granting institutions, including NGCSU, to provide coursework leading to the bachelor’s degree on the Gainesville campus.
In 2001, the Board of Regents granted the college permission to open a site in Athens, Ga., to meet the needs of local residents who desired the services and support offered by a University System of Georgia two-year college. In 2003, the college moved to a campus south of Athens in Oconee County.
In 2005, Gainesville College expanded its mission and changed its name to Gainesville State College. As a “state colleges,” GSC began offering a limited selection of baccalaureate programs to complement its wide array of two-year degrees and certificate programs.
In 2012, GSC and NGCSU, with support from the City of Cumming, collaborated to open a campus to serve the fast-growing region along the Highway 400 corridor and the increasing demand for higher education opportunities. Today, as a consolidated university with more than 15,000 students, the University of North Georgia comprised four campuses in the state’s fastest-growing region.
UNG’s first class of students requested that military training be a part of the curriculum. Today, approximately 5 percent of the student body chooses to participate in North Georgia’s nationally prominent ROTC program, which is administered by the U.S. Army. UNG is the Military College of Georgia and is one of only six military colleges in the nation, along with Virginia Military Institute, The Citadel, Norwich University, Texas A & M, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
UNG is unique in that it serves as a military college for its Corps of Cadets and as a liberal arts, academic institution for all its students.
The University of North Georgia, a regional multi-campus institution and premier senior military college, provides a culture of academic excellence in a student-focused environment that includes quality education, service, inquiry and creativity. This is accomplished through broad access to comprehensive academic and co-curricular programs that develop students into leaders for a diverse and global society. The University of North Georgia is a University System of Georgia leadership institution and is The Military College of Georgia.