Georgia State University
MottoVeritas valet et vincet
Motto in English
Truth is valuable and shall overcome
Endowment$166 million[1]
PresidentMark P. Becker
Location, ,
ColorsBlue and White   
MascotPounce, the blue panther

Georgia State University (GSU) is a research university in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Founded in 1913, it serves about 30,000[2] students and is one of the University System of Georgia's four research universities. Georgia State is the second largest of the 35 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia.

The university offers 52 degrees in 250 fields of study 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[3] . The university has an economic impact on the Atlanta economy of more than $1.4 billion annually. [4].

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[5] .

Georgia State has the largest campus police department of any school in Georgia with more than 100 employees who secure student safety 365 days a year. 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 ensure student safety.[6]

33°45′10″N 84°23′10″W / 33.75278°N 84.38611°W / 33.75278; -84.38611


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 & Colleges


Georgia State University was established in 1913 as the Georgia School of Technology's "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 Georgia 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 Technology, the University of Georgia, and the Medical College of Georgia. Georgia State is in the heart of activity of 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 intersects Peachtree Street, the main street of Atlanta. The first female chairman, president and CEO to ever ring the New York Stock Exchange’s opening bell when she did so in 1998, was Georgia State alum M. Christine Jacobs of Georgia-based Theragenics Corporation.

View of (from L-R) the Sports Arena and Library South on Decatur Street

The first African-American student enrolled at Georgia State 50 years ago in 1962. 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.

Georgia State has made several firsts in the field of scientific research: it hosts a laboratory designated biosafety level 4, which is the highest level of containment. In level 4 facilities, researchers can safely work with deadly agents such as Ebola, hantavirus or, in the case of Georgia State scientists, the herpes B virus. Georgia State’s Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) operates one of the world’s most powerful optical stellar interferometers on top of Mt. Wilson, California; in 2007 this telescope array became the first to actually image the surface of another sunlike star.[7]

The Peachtree Road Race, the world’s most famous 10-kilometer run, 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. Many Georgia State faculty and students assisted in the early races, and several Georgia State runners have won or finished in the Top 10.

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 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.


Academic rankings
Washington Monthly[9]133

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.[11]

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. 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.

By 2015, the university is expected to need about 1 million additional square feet of classroom, laboratory and other academic space for a total of 50,000 students, 36,000 of whom will attend full time. Even the massive expansion will probably only meet about half that need, Patton said, although it should reduce GSU's dependence on leased space. Two existing buildings in the heart of the campus will be razed and replaced with larger structures, including a new humanities center, which will join an updated library to form the university's new central hub. GSU's buildout — which calls for nearly twice the dollar amount of new projects it completed over the previous decade — means the university is finally poised for a wave of new construction like that seen at The University of Georgia and Georgia Tech. The university is hemmed in by the Downtown Connector to the east, the Fairlie-Poplar district to the west and the government district to the south, so many of the new buildings will be built in the area immediately north, which includes part of the Sweet Auburn district. A key component of this expansion will be the new building for GSU's business school, set to open in 2015. The new business school will be located on property on the corner of John Wesley Dobbs and Park Place, just a few blocks from the business school's current location off of Marietta Street.[12]


View of (from L-R) the Student Center, Urban Life Building, and University Center

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, expanding under the principle of being "a part of the city, not apart from the city"[13]. This has lead 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.

University Lofts

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 Commons

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.[14] A GSU economics professor estimated the new dorm could have an economic impact of $10–12 million on downtown Atlanta.[14] The university plans to ultimately accommodate 20% of its enrollment in housing near the downtown campus.[14] 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.[15]

Freshman Hall

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 Housing

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. Also included in the complex is a community laundry facility.

Piedmont North

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.[16] The complex now includes living and study space for nearly 1,000 students, as well as greenspace, recreational areas, and a brand new 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2) dining hall, the Piedmont North Dining Hall.

To cope with changes in its student population, the fastest growing one in the University System of Georgia, Georgia State is pursuing increased expansion through the potential acquisition or construction of buildings in the downtown Atlanta area. [17]

Student Life

Campus Transportation

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[18] . On campus, Georgia State owns and maintains approximately 5,000 parking spaces for use by faculty, staff, students, and visitors (recall that over 30,000 students attend the school). 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 Point 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.[19]

Student media

There are four student-run media organizations:

Student Facilities

Student Recreation Center

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.[21]


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 Dining

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. [22]


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 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. The band enjoyed unprecedented success in its first season. 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 18th, 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.

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.

The university is 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 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.[23]

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. [24]

As Georgia State approaches 2013, the 100 year anniversary of the University, a new program, the Second Century Initiative, has been implemented. The goal of the initiative is to build the scholarly strength of the University in an attempt to increase its competitiveness and quality. The program aims to add at least 100 new faculty members by 2015.[25] The initiative has resulted in the creation of the Atlanta Census Research Data Center, and has facilitated the initiation of research into obesity reversal, neurogenomics, astrophysics, and other scientific research.[26]

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.[27]


Main article: Georgia State Panthers

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). Football and women's sand volleyball will be added during the 2010-2011 school year.

Georgia State moved into the 12-member Sun Belt Conference April 9, 2012. Since 2008, Georgia State has been apart of the Colonial Athletic Association. Georgia State won four CAA Championships in its first three years.

Georgia State University charges a fee to each student that enrolls at the school (called the "Athletic Fee"). The fee is currently $263 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.[28]

Greek life

Georgia State University is home to twenty-four fraternities and sororities: five of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (IFC), five of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), seven of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and seven multicultural organizations operating as the Multicultural Greek Council [1] (MGC). Greek life is continually growing at Georgia State with future expectations of a dramatic increase in membership with the 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

National Panhellenic Council Sororities

National Pan-Hellenic Council

Alumni and faculty

Main article: List of Georgia State University people

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 also


Further reading


  1. ^ "Georgia State University" (HTML). Retrieved 2011-09-19.
  2. ^ a b c d "GSU enrolls more than 30,000 students this fall".
  3. ^ "Quick Facts". Georgia State University. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  4. ^ Valdes, Renee. "Georgia State University impacts the Atlanta economy by $1.4 billion". Georgia State University. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  5. ^ "Symbols, Seals, and Logos". Georgia State University. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  6. ^ "About Us". Georgia State University. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Looking up at the Man in the Star?". Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  8. ^ "Forbes America's Top Colleges List 2023". Forbes. Retrieved September 22, 2023.
  9. ^ "2023 National University Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved February 10, 2024.
  10. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2024: Top global universities". Quacquarelli Symonds. Retrieved June 27, 2023.
  11. ^ Atlanta Business Chronicle. "GSU Plans Record $1b Expansion". Retrieved February 17, 2006. ((cite news)): |author= has generic name (help)
  12. ^ Atlanta Business Chronicle (May 24, 2010). "GSU business school plans new building". Retrieved August 18, 2010. ((cite news)): |author= has generic name (help)
  13. ^ "Goal Formulation". Main Street Master Plan Update 2005-2015. Georgia State University. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  14. ^ a b c Duffy, Kevin (2007-07-25). "GSU dorm brings youthful vibe to downtown". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-07-25.
  15. ^ "Olympic-Era Residence Halls Transferring to GA Tech". Retrieved March 7, 2007.
  16. ^ "Three metro Atlanta hotels to close, change course". Retrieved Aug 18, 2010.
  17. ^ Sams, Douglas (January 25, 2010). "GSU May Buy Equitable Building". Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  18. ^ "PantherExpress". Georgia State University. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  19. ^ "MARTA". Georgia State University. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  20. ^ "Where Can I Hear WRAS?". Georgia State University. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  21. ^ "Student Recreation Center". Georgia State University. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  22. ^ "Panther Dining". Georgia State University. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  23. ^ "Facts & Figures". Georgia State University. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  24. ^ Seamans, Nancy. "Welcome to the Library". Georgia State University. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  25. ^ "Second Century Initiative". Georgia State University. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  26. ^ "Second Round Awarded Proposals". Georgia State University. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  27. ^ Georgia State University News & Events[dead link]
  28. ^ "Facts on Student Fees at Georgia State University, Fiscal Year 2012". Georgia State University Dean of Students Office. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  29. ^ "Sigma Sigma Rho Sorority Inc. at Georgia State University". Retrieved 2011-08-05.
  30. ^ "Alpha Omicron Pi - Gamma Sigma". Retrieved 2011-08-05.