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. It is one of Georgia’s youngest universities (July 2015), and it is 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.

In 2015, a new mission statement was created as a result of the institution’s strategic planning process. That statement is: Middle Georgia State University educates and graduates inspired, lifelong learners whose scholarship and careers enhance the region through professional leadership, innovative partnerships and community engagement.

In late 2016, the University System of Georgia named MGA that year’s Gold Institution and chose Blake as President of the Year.

Over the next few years, the University continued to develop, adding more undergraduate and graduate programs, extending the School of Aviation’s flight program to the Macon Downtown Airport, and expanding the athletics program with women’s volleyball and cross-country teams. MGA also completed a major renovation project at Oak Hall on the Warner Robins Campus and completely transformed the Dublin Campus into a nursing degree hub, with plans to add additional healthcare programs. On the Macon Campus, MGA opened Lakeview Pointe, a new residence hall. MGA also completed major renovation projects at Roberts Memorial Library and Dillard Hall on the Cochran Campus, and added the privately funded Peyton Anderson Enrollment Center on the Macon Campus. A major private gift from the Charles H. Jones Foundation enabled MGA to buy two new Piper Aircraft for the School of Aviation.

In 2020, the Board of Regents approved MGA’s first doctoral program, the Doctor of Science in Information Technology. 

In 2022, the MGA Foundation raised a record $11.6 million for the University, exceeding its goal in the Building a Legacy of Greatness campaign.

By 2023, MGA had expanded dual-enrollment programs by teaming with the Houston County school system and Robins Air Force Base to teach computer programming courses at the new R. Wayne Lowe Synergy Innovation Center in Warner Robins. That same year, MGA graduated the first students in its Doctor of Science in IT and announced the coming addition of a second doctoral program, the Doctor of Science in Public Safety.

In 2024, MGA's new mission statement further solidified the university as an essential access institution within the University System of Georgia: Middle Georgia State University educates and graduates inspired, lifelong learners whose scholarship and careers enhance the region and the state.