History of Middle Georgia State University
Middle Georgia State University has a history that is unlike most other institutions of higher education in the United States. Not only is it Georgia’s newest university -- as of July 2015 – it’s also one of Georgia’s oldest institutions. Its origins go back to the late 19th century, and its name has been changed several times.
In 1884, the New Ebenezer Baptist Association established New Ebenezer College, a junior college in Cochran, Georgia. The first classes were held in 1887. However, just 12 years later the association discontinued its support, forcing the college to close in 1898.
In 1919, the Georgia State College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts – a division of the University of Georgia – opened a branch on the old Ebenezer campus. In 1927, the college’s name was changed to Middle Georgia Agricultural and Mechanical Junior College, and in 1929 the name was changed to Middle Georgia College, which remained as a two-year junior college operated by a board of trustees.
Two years later, in 1931, the college became a junior college unit of a new organization called the University System of Georgia.
Middle Georgia College continued to move forward, building athletic programs and new facilities. The college’s baseball team won four national junior college championships. The college opened a campus in Dublin; large student dormitories were constructed on the Cochran campus; and in 2007 the Georgia Aviation Technical College in Eastman was merged with Middle Georgia, giving the college three campuses.
Meanwhile, about 40 miles to the northwest in Macon, a new junior college was established by the University System. Macon Junior College opened in 1968 with more than 1,100 students -- the largest enrollment ever for a new college in Georgia. In 1987, it became Macon College when the USG dropped the word “junior” from its two-year institutions.
The college continued to grow, and in 1997 when the college began offering bachelor’s degrees the name changed to Macon State College. The college had established teaching facilities at two locations in Warner Robins, and in 2003 a new campus opened about one-half mile from the main gate at Robins Air Force Base. An apartment complex adjacent to the Macon Campus was acquired in 2010, giving Macon State College its first student housing.
In 2012, the Board of Regents voted to consolidate Macon State College and Middle Georgia College; the new college was named Middle Georgia State College, which incorporated all facilities and all five campuses of the two previous institutions. Athletic programs previously established in Cochran remained located there. Students at the new institution chose new colors (purple, gray/silver and black) and a new mascot (The Knight).
In 2014, Dr. Christopher Blake became MGA’s first permanent president. In 2015, the Board of Regents approved the college’s proposal to offer master’s degrees, and the name of the institution was changed to Middle Georgia State University.