Albany State University
Former name
Albany Bible and Manual Training Institute (1903–1917)
The Georgia Normal and Agricultural College (1917–1943)
Albany State College (1943–1996)
MottoA Past To Cherish, A Future To Fulfill
TypePublic historically black university[1]
Established1903; 121 years ago (1903)
Parent institution
University System of Georgia
Academic affiliation
Endowment$8,733,142 million [2]
PresidentMarion Ross Fedrick
Students6,228 (fall 2021)[3]
Undergraduates5,920 (fall 2021)[3]
Postgraduates308 (fall 2021)[4]
Location, ,
United States
CampusUrban, 231-acre (934,823.8 m2)
ColorsRoyal blue and old gold
NicknameGolden Rams
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division II, SIAC

Albany State University is a public historically black university in Albany, Georgia. In 2017, Darton State College and Albany State University consolidated to become one university under the University System of Georgia (USG). Albany State University has two campuses in Albany (East and West Campus) and a satellite campus in Cordele (Cordele Center).


Establishment and growth

Joseph Winthrop Holley, born in 1874 to former slaves in Winnsboro, South Carolina, founded the institution in 1903 as the Albany Bible and Manual Training Institute. Two educators, Reverend Samuel Lane Loomis and his wife, sent Holley to Brainerd Institute and then Revere Lay College (Massachusetts). When attending Revere Lay, Holley got to know one of the school's trustees, New England businessman Rowland Hazard. After taking a liking to Holley, Hazard arranged for him to continue his education at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Holley aspired to become a minister and prepared by completing his education at Pennsylvania's Lincoln University.

W. E. B. Du Bois inspired Holley to return to the South after he read Du Bois's writings on the plight of Albany's blacks in The Souls of Black Folk. Holley relocated to Albany to start a school. With the help of a $2,600 gift from the Hazard family, Holley organized a board of trustees and purchased 50 acres (200,000 m2) of land for the campus, all within a year. The aim of the institution at the time was to provide elementary education and teacher training for the local Black population.

The institution was turned over to the state of Georgia in 1917 as Georgia Normal and Agricultural College, a two-year agricultural and teacher-training institution.[6]

In 1932, the school became part of the University System of Georgia and in 1943 it was granted four-year status and renamed Albany State College. The transition to four-year status heavily increased the school's enrollment.

In 1981 the college offered its first graduate program, a prelude to the school being upgraded to university status in 1996.

In July 1994, most of the campus was flooded and suffered extensive damage when Tropical Storm Alberto caused the Flint River to overflow. Afterwards, the campus was extended towards the east with many new buildings erected on the higher ground.[7]

Albany State University ERA

In July 1996, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved the change from college to university and the name of Albany State College officially became Albany State University.

A new stadium was opened in 2004 and new housing units opened in 2006.

In 2015, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia announced the merger of ASU and Darton State College.[8] In 2017, the institutions consolidated and assumed the name and branding of Albany State University, with the Darton College campus becoming the site of Albany State University's Darton College of Health Professions.

Enrollment was expected to be around 9,000 students. However, the combined enrollment decreased significantly. Fall 2013 enrollments were 6,195 for Darton State College and 4,260 for Albany State University[9] while Fall 2017 enrollments for the new combined Albany State University were 6,615.[10] This represents a 27% decrease over that period.

Due to the consolidation with Darton, Albany State became the largest HBCU in the state of Georgia and one of the 15 largest in the United States.[11]

Civil Rights Movement

The college played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1960s. Many students from the school, Black improvement organizations, and representatives from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) came together to create the Albany Movement. The movement brought prominent civil rights leaders to the town including Martin Luther King Jr. and resulted in the arrests of more than 1,000 black protestors. Among the first to be arrested were students from Albany State.[12]

On November 22, 1961, Blanton Hall and Bertha Gober entered the white waiting room of the Albany bus station to buy tickets home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Refusing to leave after being ordered to do so, police arrested them both. Albany State President William Dennis, fearful of losing his position, immediately suspended and eventually expelled the students. This action engendered a great deal of animosity from the black community and the student body.

Gober would continue in the civil rights movement as one of the SNCC's Freedom Singers and write the group's anthem. Bernice Johnson Reagon, another Albany State student who left school to work with the SNCC, would later form the well-known a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock. On December 10, 2011, thirty two of the students who were expelled were granted honorary degrees. The school awarded thirty one honorary baccalaureate degrees and one honorary doctorate – that to Bernice Johnson Reagon. A noted cultural historian, Reagon was also the commencement speaker.[13]


The President's Office

Joseph Winthrop Holley served as President of the school from 1903 to 1943. He was succeeded by Aaron Brown (1943–1954), William Dennis (1954–1965), Thomas Miller Jenkins (1965–1969), Charles Hayes (1969–1980), Billy C. Black (1980–1996), Portia Holmes Shields (1996–2005), Everette J. Freeman (2005 – 2013), Art Dunning (2015-2018), and Marion Ross Fedrick (2018-).


Albany State offers undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and professional degree programs.

According to U.S. News & World Report, in 2019 ASU was ranked 40th (tie) in the magazine's ranking of undergraduate education at HBCUs[14] and was ranked as the 107th-141st school on the Regional Universities (South) list.[14] The student-faculty ratio is 15:1 and 42 percent of the classes contain less than 20 students.[14] The most popular majors are health professions and related, homeland security, law enforcement, firefighting and related, business, management, marketing, psychology, and education. The Velma Fudge Grant Honors Program is a selective program that caters to high-achieving undergraduate students.

Academic colleges and units

The institution offers 6 certificates, 13 associate, 22 baccalaureate, and 13 graduate degrees.[16] The university also offers the Board of Regents' engineering transfer program and a dual degree program with the Georgia Institute of Technology, one of the top engineering schools in the nation. The Holley Institute summer program, which consists of an intense four weeks of study to help high school students improve low SAT scores and gain admission to college, has a near 100 percent success rate and has received praise from the state Board of Regents.


Albany State University East campus (Main) is located at 504 College Drive, 206 acres east of the Flint River. It has 32 buildings and five sport facilities.

Albany State University West campus (formerly Darton State College) is located at 2400 Gillionville Road, on 186 acres in West Albany. It has 16 buildings and five sport facilities. It is the site of the Darton College of Health Professions.

ASU also has a center in Cordele and provides specific courses at sites in Cairo, Waycross, Thomasville, Swainsboro, and Sandersville.


Albany State University student body consists of both traditional and non-traditional students who number nearly 6,500 on campus. These students come primarily from Atlanta and Southwest and Central Georgia. The average student age is 24, and about 40 percent of the students live in on-campus housing.[17] In fall 2023, 74.5% of the enrolled students were female, with 1,682 males and 4,917 females out of the total of 6,599, while 4.2% were Hispanic/Latino (of any race), .2% American Indian or Alaska Native, .5% Asian, 80.9% Black/African American, and 7.6% White.[18]

Student life

Student organizations

There are over 60 clubs and organizations including bands, choirs, religious groups, honor societies, several Greek and honor sororities and fraternities, and ROTC.

Fraternities and Sororities

All nine of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations currently have chapters at Albany State University. Also there are currently two national service fraternities and sororities and three Greek music organizations at Albany State University.

Marching Rams Show Band

Albany State's marching band participated in the 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 Honda Battle of the Bands (HBOB). Also, The Marching Rams Show Band participated in the 2016 Tournament of Roses Parade and Tournament of Roses Bandfest.

Albany State's marching band danceline is named the "Golden Passionettes". In 2012, the danceline was invited to appear in the "Give It 2 U" music video and a live televised performance with artists Robin Thicke, Kendrick Lamar, and 2 Chainz.[19]


Main article: Albany State Golden Rams

Albany State University holds membership in NCAA Division II (as a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) and participates in the following sports: football, basketball, baseball, golf, cheerleading, volleyball, cross-country and track and field.[20] Additionally, in 2019 ASU's women soccer team began competing in the Peach Belt Conference.


Albany State sponsored men's and women's swimming, and diving teams, which in past years were named National Black College Swimming and Diving Champions in 1979 and 1980.

Notable alumni

This is a list of notable alumni which includes graduates, non-graduate former students, and current students of Albany State University. It also reflects those alumni who attended and/or graduated from the institution under its prior historical names.

This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by adding missing items with reliable sources.

Name Class year Notability References
Candice A. Pitts 2004 Belizean diplomat, politician, and educator, currently serves as Belize Ambassador to the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Belize Ambassador to Japan
Alice Coachman 1949 The first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal and the only American woman to win a gold medal in the 1948 Games [21]
Willie L. Todd, Jr. 1998 12th President of Denmark Technical College, Denmark, South Carolina
Walter Curry former professional football player
Kenneth Gant former professional football player [22]
A. Zachary Faison Jr. 2002 30th President of Edward Waters University
Rev.Albert J.H. Sloan, II 12th President of Miles College
Art Green former CFL and NFL player [23]
Shaun R. Harper 1998 author and leading scholar on racial equality in higher education; professor, founder and former Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equality in Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Founder and executive director of USC Race and Equity Center at the University of Southern California [24]
Big James Henderson 1984–1986 former powerlifter who competed in the International Powerlifting Federation and won five world bench press titles; offensive lineman for the 1985 SIAC Conference Championship football team [25]
Caldwell Jones former professional basketball player [26]
Charles Jones former professional basketball player [27]
Major Jones former professional basketball player [28]
Wil Jones former professional basketball player [28]
Dan Land former professional football player [22]
Jo Marie Payton actress [29]
Bernice Johnson Reagon singer, composer, scholar, and social activist; Professor Emeritus of History at American University in Washington, DC; Curator Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC; 2002–04 Cosby Chair Professor of Fine Arts at Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia [30]
Grover Stewart 2016 Professional Football Player, Defensive Tackle for the Indianapolis Colts
Rick Ross ASC football alum rapper
Abdul "Tut" Ra'oof Founding member of The S.O.S. Band- horn player, and singer
Reggie Ward Founding member of the S.O.S. Band- guitarist
Sultan "Thaxton" Muhammad Member of The S.O.S. Band- horn player
Shirley Sherrod 1970 Civil rights advocate, former Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture [31]
Cedric B. Guyton 1993 Former Assistant Surgeon General, and Currently Deputy Director for Commissioned Corps Services of the United States of America under President Joe R. Biden
Mike White former professional football player and former head football coach at Albany State University
Alumna Shirley Sherrod


  1. ^ "List of HBCUs – White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities". August 16, 2007. Archived from the original on December 23, 2007. Retrieved January 3, 2008.
  2. ^ Retrieved on 2020-04-04.
  3. ^ a b "College Navigator - Albany State University".
  4. ^ "Semester Enrollment Report Fall 2019" (PDF). Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 27, 2019. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  5. ^ "2019 Albany State University Brand Standards Guide" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 7, 2020. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  6. ^ "Albany State University". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved January 23, 2008.
  7. ^ Lewis, Terry (June 26, 2016). "Flood of 1994 spurred building boom at Albany State University". The Albany Herald. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  8. ^ Davis, Janel (November 10, 2015). "Regents approve Albany State, Darton State merger". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  9. ^ Georgia Board of Regents (2013). "Semester Enrollment Report Fall 2013" (PDF). University System of Georgia. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 10, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  10. ^ Georgia Board of Regents (2017). "Semester Enrollment Report Fall 2017" (PDF). University System of Georgia. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  11. ^ "Albany State at a Glance".[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "History < Albany State University". Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  13. ^ Lewis, Terry (December 8, 2011). "Expelled students to get degrees". Albany Herald. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  14. ^ a b c "Albany State University - Profile". U.S. News & World Report. 2019. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  15. ^ a b c d "Albany State University Academic Affairs". Albany State University. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  16. ^ "Albany State University Academic Program Listing". Albany State University. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  17. ^ "Albany State University". Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Archived from the original on January 2, 2008. Retrieved February 7, 2008.
  18. ^ "Fall 2023 Semester Enrollment Report" (PDF). Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 27, 2023. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  19. ^ "ASU Passionettes to appear in Robin Thicke music video | News |". August 13, 2013.
  20. ^ "Albany State Athletics Overview". Albany State University. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  21. ^ "Biography of Alice Coachman". Archived from the original on February 2, 2011.
  22. ^ a b "NFL Players who attended Albany State University". Archived from the original on March 7, 2008. Retrieved February 6, 2008.
  23. ^ "Art Green". Retrieved May 9, 2012.
  24. ^ "RESEARCHERS AND STAFF - Director - Shaun R. Harper, Ph.D." Center for the Study of Race & Equity in Education. University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  25. ^ "Big James Henderson Bio". Archived from the original on September 22, 2008. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  26. ^ "Caldwell Jones". Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved May 21, 2008.
  27. ^ "Charles Jones". Archived from the original on May 23, 2008. Retrieved May 21, 2008.
  28. ^ a b "NBA/ABA Players who attended Albany State University". Archived from the original on February 21, 2008. Retrieved February 6, 2008.
  29. ^ "Albany Map Population Information and City Statistics". Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
  30. ^ "Bernice Johnson Reagon:Scholarship:2006 bio statement". songtalk publishing. Archived from the original on March 3, 2008. Retrieved February 7, 2008.
  31. ^ "Sherrod encourages grads to end racism". Retrieved December 30, 2010.[dead link]

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31°34′08″N 84°08′31″W / 31.569°N 84.142°W / 31.569; -84.142