University of Georgia

The Arch, the gateway to UGA's historic North Campus.
The Arch, the gateway to UGA's historic North Campus.

Located 60 miles northeast of Atlanta in Athens, Georgia, the University of Georgia was the first state-chartered university in the United States, making it the birthplace of the American system of public higher education. It was incorporated January 27, 1785 by the Georgia General Assembly, which gave its trustees, the Senatus Academicus of the University of Georgia, 40,000 acres (160 km²) for the purposes of founding a “college or seminary of learning.” The university's motto is Et docere et rerum exquirere causas ("To teach and to inquire into the nature of things"). Today, it is the flagship university of the University System of Georgia.

The first meeting of the university's board of trustees installed its first president, Abraham Baldwin, a native of Connecticut. This meeting also identified the 633 acres (2.6 km²) on the banks of the Oconee River on which the university was to be built.

The first classes were held in 1801, in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences—named in honor of Benjamin Franklin—under the direction of President Josiah Meigs. The university graduated its first class in 1804.

White and male for most of its history, the university first admitted women in 1918. In 1961, UGA became racially integrated after notable tension with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

UGA is home to the George Foster Peabody Awards, which are presented annually for excellence in television and radio news, entertainment and children’s programming. It also presents the annual Delta Prize for Global Understanding, which recognizes individuals or groups whose initiatives promote peace and cooperation among cultures and nations.



Though there have been many additions, changes, and augmentations, UGA’s campus maintains its historic character and southern charm. The customary practice is to divide the extensive, 4,308 acre (17 km²) campus into two sections: North Campus [1] ( and South Campus [2] (

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Early view of North Campus

Modeled on Yale University’s Central/Old Campus [3] (, UGA’s North Campus contains the picturesque historic buildings—such as the Chapel [4] (, Old College, New College, Demosthenian[5] ( and the Phi Kappa [6] ( Halls, Park Hall [7] (, Meigs Hall, and the President’s office [8] (—as well as modern additions such as the Lumpkin Law School [9] ( and the Main Library [10] ( The dominant architectural themes are Federal—the older buildings—and Greco-Roman Classical/Antebellum style. UGA’s North Campus has also been designated an arboreum by the State of Georgia. Perhaps the most notable North Campus fixture, though, is the Arch [11] ( Situated where historic downtown Athens, Georgia meets the campus, the inspiration for the Arch is the arch found on the Great Seal of the State of Georgia [12] ( There are multiple legends about walking through the arch: one has it that if you walk through the arch as an underclassman, you will never graduate from UGA[13] ( Another legend claims that should you walk through the arch as a freshman, you will become sterile (as told in some freshman orientation tours).


Missing image

Moving from North Campus toward South Campus—the more recently constructed campus where science and mathematics departments are located—one passes the Tate Student Center [14] ( and, most notably, the 92,746 seat Sanford Stadium[15] ( home of the UGA Bulldog Football Team [16] ( The white English Bulldog is UGA’s mascot and is properly known as "Uga" [17] ( (UGA's mascot is another Yale influenced aspect of the University.) The Bulldogs play in the Southeastern Conference against teams such as the University of Tennessee, University of Alabama, and Louisiana State University. It also has a historic rivalry with Auburn, referred to as "the Deep South's oldest rivalry." The biggest rivalries, though, are between the Bulldogs and the Atlantic Coast Conference's Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Florida Gators [18] (

The UGA-UF game is held annually in late October/early November in Jacksonville, Florida: a supposedly neutral site. Often referred to as "the world's largest outdoor cocktail party," this event is a must-do for many UGA undergrads as well as alumni. The Bulldogs are cheered on in this game—as well as in all the others—by the 90,000+ fans that sell out every home game as well as the UGA Marching Band, affectionately known as “the Red Coat Marching Band.” [19] (

Certainly, football dominates the UGA athletic scene. However, other notable sports teams include the UGA women's swim team [20] (, the UGA equestrian team [21] (, the UGA gymnastic team [22] (, the UGA fencing club [23] (, and the UGA baseball team [24] ( and the UGA basketball teams (men's [25] ( and women's [26] ( which play in the UGA Stegeman Coliseum [27] (


  • The main campus is comprised of 368 buildings on 614 acres (2.5 km²);
  • Total enrollment in fall 2002 was 32,941:
    • 24,772 undergraduates
    • 7,958 graduates and professionals
    • 212 others
  • U.S. News & World Report magazine ranked UGA 18th on its 2002 list of the 50 top public universities.
  • In recents years, the university's athletic association, which receives no tax dollars, has undertaken $81 million in construction projects, including:
    • over $30 million to expand and upgrade Sanford Stadium, adding 10,000 seats and glassed-in suites
    • a new $7.66 million tennis complex
    • $6.4 million for a new soccer and softball stadium and clubhouse
    • $750,000 in renovations to the football team's trophy room
    • $700,000 in 2003 for another remodeling of the men's basketball coach's office and locker room
  • Since November 2001, the Georgia Legislature has cut $211 million from the university system's budget; the tuition increase for 2003 was 15%.
  • Money magazine's "Best College Buys" edition listed UGA as one of nine "unbeatable deals" nationwide. Georgia residents who maintain a 3.0 grade point average can receive $4,000 annually toward tuition because of the state of Georgia's HOPE Scholars Program [28] (

Distinguished Alumni


  • Boney, F.N. A Pictorial History of the University of Georgia. Athens, GA: U of Georgia P, 2000.
  • Official UGA Web Pages
  • Reed, Thomas Walter. History of the University of Georgia. Unpublished Typescript. 19 vols., 4027 pp. Imprint: Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia, ca. 1949. The Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia Main Library.

External links


University System of Georgia
Research schools: Georgia Tech | Georgia State | Medical College of Georgia | University of Georgia
Universities: Albany | Armstrong Atlantic | Augusta | Clayton | Columbus | Ft. Valley | GCSU | Ga. Southwestern
Kennesaw | NGCSU | Savannah | Southern Polytechnic | West Ga. || Regional: Ga. Southern | Valdosta State
Colleges: Dalton | Macon || Two-year: Abraham Baldwin Agricultural | Atlanta Metro. | Bainbridge
Coastal Ga. | Darton | East Ga. | Floyd | Gainesville | Ga. Perimiter | Gordon | Middle Ga. | South Ga. | Waycross
Centers: Gwinnett University Center || Governing body: Georgia Board of Regents

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