Georgia State University (GSU) is a public research university in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Founded in 1913, it is one of the University System of Georgia's four research universities. It has a student population of 32,022, including 24,096 undergraduates.
Georgia State University offers more than 250 undergraduate and graduate degree programs spread across eight academic colleges with around 3,500 faculty members. Georgia State University is a part of the University System of Georgia and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. GSU is a commuter school with 61% of first-year students living on-campus and 17% of all undergraduates living on campus. Approximately 27% of the student population is considered part-time while 73% of the population is considered full-time. The university is classified as a 'Research University/Very High Activity', according to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 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.
GSU has two libraries, University library and Law library, which hold over 4.3 million volumes combined and serve as a federal document depository. The university has an economic impact on the Atlanta economy of more than $1.4 billion annually.
Coordinates: 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:
Initially intended as a night school, Georgia State University was established in 1913 as the Georgia School of Technology's "Evening School of Commerce". 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 was divided into two divisions: "Georgia Evening College," 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. The center of campus is less than a half-mile from CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park, Philips Arena and the Georgia Dome.
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.
The Peachtree Road Race, was started in 1970 by Georgia State cross country coach and dean of men Tim Singleton, heading it in its first six years before turning it over to the Atlanta Track Club. The second year, he created the first valuable collectible T-shirt.
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 then to Dahlberg Hall in 2010, 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.
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.
After the release of the 2006 master plan update, a host of new building activity occurred on campus. A $20 million refurbishment to the Pullen Library complex was completed during the 2006-07 school year. A host of new on-campus housing was built, including the 2,000 bed University Commons in 2007, a new dormitory named Freshman Hall (later renamed Patton Hall) 2009 and a conversion of a former Wyndham Garden Hotel and a Baymont Inn & Suites into a new, 1,100 occupancy dormitory named Piedmont North. New Greek housing was built in 2010 along Edgewood Avenue. The Citizens Trust Building on Piedmont Avenue was purchased by the University to make room for offices and student services in 2007. The Parker H. Petit Science Center was completed in 2010, opening up state of the art science laboratories and teaching space.
The newest incarnation of the Strategic Plan gives an outline for the universities grown from 2011 until 2016 and a brief overview that will be amended for up to 2021. Several parts of this plan are in the process of being executed, including the donation of land at 89 Park Place, which will become the new Law and Business schools, the building of an extension to Classroom South, the purchase of land at 315 Irwin Street for the building of on-campus student recreation fields, and the purchase and refurbishment of the Suntrust Tower. Plans exist for the building of graduate student housing next to the Petit Science Center, and another building for expansion of the science center on the same lot of land.
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 (which have since been completed) 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.
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.
From Georgia State's days as a single building night school into the university it is today, Georgia State has built itself into the heart of urban Downtown Atlanta. Travel+Leisure named it as one of the ugliest college campuses in the United States.  Whereas the school's nickname—dating from the early 1960s—of "the Concrete Campus" was once a source of mild embarrassment, the name has been embraced by the university community. The university embraced the slogan, "a part of the city, not apart from the city" as it's growth into Downtown Atlanta increased. 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.
After the 1996 Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, Georgia State acquired its first on-campus dormitories in 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 and renamed the North Avenue Apartments.
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 undergraduate students and student athletes, as well as students with families and graduate students. In 2008, the Lofts were converted into multiperson dormitories as well as apartment style dorms, raising the bed count to its current number of 550 residents in 231 apartments.
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. A GSU economics professor estimated the new dorm could have an economic impact of $10–12 million on downtown Atlanta. The university plans to ultimately accommodate 20% of its enrollment in housing near the downtown campus. 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. In 2011, the Commons were voted "best overall dorms in the country" by DormSplash.com. This was followed in 2012 by The Fiscal Times rating the Commons as some of the most luxurious dormitories in the country, rated 3rd most "insanely luxurious."
In the fall of 2009, Georgia State opened a 325-bed residence hall exclusively for freshman students and was originally named freshman hall. Located on the corner of Piedmont and Edgewood Avenues, Patton Hall is located approximately 0.2 miles from the heart of GSU's campus. The facility includes a dining hall offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a buffet style. The dining hall is open to all Georgia State students, and all residents of Patton Hall are required to have meal plans for the dining hall. In 2013, Freshman Hall was renamed Patton Hall after former Georgia State president, Carl Patton.
For the 2010 academic year, Georgia State opened its Greek Housing facility, located adjacent to Patton Hall on Edgewood Avenue. Each townhome in the complex features a chapter room, kitchen, and bedrooms ranging from 9-19 beds.
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 more traditional campus. The complex now includes living and study space for approximately 1,100 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.
Georgia State requires the largest campus police department of any school in Georgia with more than 100 employees. The force is the only nationally-accredited and state-certified police force among the universities in Georgia. The school uses video surveillance, call stations, and escort systems to provide student safety. The department is composed of more than 67 state-certified officers, 35 full-time security guards, 15 part-time security guards, 10 communications dispatchers and eight staff members, making it the largest campus law enforcement agency in Georgia.
The university provides shuttles circulating around campus following 4 different routes; the blue route, red route, green route, and purple route. The blue route circulates from the parking lots of Turner Field to the heart of campus with stops at Langdale Hall and Sparks Hall, and is active on weekdays from 7:00am to 10:30pm. The red route circulates between the main campus and the Aderhold Learning Center with stops at the Arts and Humanities building and at the Rialto Center/Aderhold. It is active on weekdays from 7:00am to 12:00am. The green route is active from 7:00am to 12:00am on weekdays with stops at the Student Center, the University Commons, and Piedmont North. The purple route is active on weekends from 5:00pm to 12:00am with stops at the Arts and Humanities building, the Student Center, the University Commons, Piedmont North, and the Rialto Center/Aderhold.
Atlanta's mass transit system, MARTA, provides Georgia State students with access to the system at a reduced rate when bought through the University. Georgia State is served by three stations; the Georgia State Station next to the Petit Science Center on the Blue and Green lines, Five Points Station on the Red, Gold, Blue and Green lines with accommodations for both the Aderhold Learning Center and main campus, and the Peachtree Center Station on the Red and Gold lines, giving access to the Aderhold Learning Center, the University Commons, and to the Piedmont North dormitories.
The university has numerous parking locations, with restrictions in some to faculty and staff. Parking attendants are only on duty from 6:30am to 10pm on weekdays, after which parking permits must be used. Some dormitories have built in parking such as Piedmont North and the University Commons, however parking in these dorms is restricted to students living in those dorms. The University Lofts allow access to permit holders who are primarily residents of the Lofts, the Greek Housing, and Patton Hall. It also allows access to some non-resident holders, faculty and staff. The G Deck is reserved for use by Georgia State faculty and staff, although on days in which the Sports Arena is in use it becomes visitor parking for that game or event. The K and T Decks are available for students using cash or a budget card with a valid student parking permit. The N and S decks are for general parking, while the M Deck is reserved for students with a lottery-won permit.
Georgia State students are allowed access to the Turner Field parking lots just south of campus, although access to those lots is limited to weekdays between 7:00am and 11:00pm. Those times are further limited on Atlanta Braves home game days. Due to its distance from the University, shuttle services run from the parking to the main campus.
There are four student-run media organizations:
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.
Land in Indian Creek was purchased by the university in 1938, and in 1974 operation of the swimming pool in the facility was taken over by Recreation Services. Tennis courts, Indian Creek Lodge, and the rest of the 15.5 acres were taken over by Recreation Services in 1991.
The university's outdoor intramural fields are currently located in Panthersville, a suburb of Atlanta. These facilities include two large lighted fields, a sundeck, restrooms and parking. New land has been purchased by the university east of the University Commons to make room for new intramural fields.
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. The theatre has 135 seats and is free to all Georgia State students, or $3 before 5pm and $5 after 5pm. The theatre was first named Cinefest in 1991, but was known as the Lyceum Film Series. According to the theatre, a ghost named Cineghost haunts one of the projectors and is the cause of cancelled showings and technical difficulties.
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.
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 participated in the Presidential Inauguration Parade in January 2013. In the fall of 2014, the Georgia State marching band will be performing at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
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 DAEL also holds a media festival featuring different productions and media produced by students.
Georgia State hosts a high-end multimedia lab allowing students access to multimedia-editing workstations, professional software, technology training workshops, and high end equipment that can be checked out. The facility also hosts a pro-level recording studio featuring full soundproofing, a duel-screened Mac Pro, a keyboard, and two microphones, although the area is set up to allow for students to bring their own equipment.
GSU is one of four research universities in the University System of Georgia. 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. In 2011, $58,492,317 in external research funding was received by Georgia State investigators.
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.
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.
Physics at Georgia State is split between physics and astronomy. Areas of research range from biophysics, condensed matter physics, neurophysics, nuclear physics, and physics education and innovative instruction. The astronomy program utilizes five observatories, including the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona and the Small and Moderate Aperture Research Telescope System (or SMARTS) in Chile, and the CHARA array on Mount Wilson, California, Hard Labor Creek Observatory in Rutledge, Georgia, and the Urban Life Observatory, all of which are operated by Georgia State.
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; in 2007 this telescope array became the first to actually image the surface of another sunlike star. The array is composed of multiple telescopes, each containing a light-collecting mirror 1 meter in diameter. The combination of these telescopes works as a single unit, allowing for ultra high resolution imaging.
Biological research at Georgia State is divided into four categories; applied and environmental microbiology (AEM), cellular molecular biology and physiology (CMBP), molecular genetics and biochemistry, and neurobiology and behavior. The AEM program concentrates on the environmental, industrial, and medical aspects of microbiology, including bioremediation, toxicology, genetics, cellular responses and natural product biosynthesis. Cellular and molecular biology and physiology focuses on the function and regulation of eukaryotic cells and organisms, doing research including signal transduction, cancer immunology, virology, immunology, and diabetes research. The MGB program ranges from lower eukaryotic programmed cell death to viral RNA replication. The neurobiology and behavior program is involved in research focusing on topics such as neurobiology, behavior, hormonal action, developmental neurobiology, and vertebrate sexual plasticity, to name a few.
Georgia State currently sponsors 16 NCAA Division I teams, 15 of which compete at the highest level (including football) of competition in the NCAA (Division I, FBS). Sand Volleyball is currently organized by the AVCA, although it is set to become an NCAA sport when 40+ teams join at the collegiate level (estimated to be around 2014).
Georgia State began competition in all sports in the Sun Belt Conference in 2013, although it had already played all individual sports in the Sun Belt during the 2012-13 season. This marked a return to the conference that Georgia State had helped found 37 years earlier in 1976. Prior to joining the Sun Belt, GSU played in the CAA from 2005-2013, participating for only one season (2012) as a football school. Prior to joining the CAA, the Panthers competed in the (then Trans America Athletic Conference, or TAAC) Atlantic Sun Conference, joining in 1983 and leaving for the CAA in 2005.
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.
Georgia State University is home to twenty-nine fraternities and sororities: 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  (MGC). Greek life at Georgia State continues to grow with the addition of Greek Housing in 2010.
Alumni and faculty
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.