Gordon State College

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This article is about the public college in the United States. For other institutions with the same name, see Gordon College (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 33°02′51″N 84°09′05″W / 33.047378°N 84.151339°W / 33.047378; -84.151339

Gordon State College
Seal of Gordon College
Former name
Gordon Institute
Motto where students flourish!
Established 1852 [The Male and Female Seminary]
Type Public
Endowment $9.5 million
President Max Burns
Academic staff
Students 5,000[1]
Location Barnesville, Georgia, United States
33°02′50.6″N 84°09′04.8″W / 33.047389°N 84.151333°W / 33.047389; -84.151333
Colors Navy blue, white, yellow ‹See Tfm›    ‹See Tfm›    ‹See Tfm›    
Nickname Highlanders
Mascot Highlander
Affiliations University System of Georgia
Website Gordon College
Gordon State College is located in Georgia (U.S. state)
Location in Georgia

Gordon State College, a state college in the University System of Georgia, is located in Barnesville, Georgia. Gordon State's college year is made up of three 15-week academic semesters: fall, spring and summer. Enrollment at Gordon State College for the 2010 fall semester was about 4,500 students,[2] with around 800 living on campus. The college campus has 28 buildings and incorporates 125 acres (51 hectares), which includes an indoor swimming facility, ropes course, walking trail, basketball courts, tennis courts, soccer field and racquetball courts.


The 1800s[edit]

Gordon State College was founded in 1852 as The Male and Female Seminary, a private school for higher education of boys and girls.[3] Though church-sponsored, it was not a seminary in the usual sense. During the American Civil War, boys were organized into a corps of cadets. Girls continued to attend but were never included in military programs.

In 1872, the school was renamed Gordon Institute to honor Georgia native and former CSA General John B. Gordon, and its scope was extended to the elementary grades.[4] In 1890, J.C. Woodward, who later founded Georgia Military Academy, was hired to start a military program.

The 1900s[edit]

In 1907, the name changed to Gordon College. In 1916 the U.S. Department of War named Gordon College a junior military unit. In 1928, Gordon added the first two years of college to its program. In 1933 the state offered the former Georgia Industrial College campus to Gordon College. The high school and junior college departments moved to the new campus, while the elementary school moved into the former high school building.[4] Gordon College was known as Gordon Military College from the mid-1930s until 1972.[5]

In the 1950s, ownership of the school passed to the city of Barnesville, which consolidated its government-funded public schools for whites in Grades 8-12, while continuing to bus black students to racially segregated Lamar County schools. City girls were enrolled as regular students. City boys were permitted to opt out of military participation, but almost all were organized into a corps of cadets under military discipline. Military cadets from other places were permitted to enroll by paying tuition; many attracted by low tuition rates came from Latin America, including Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican migration to New York.[5]

Gordon State had severe financial problems in the 1960s, and in 1970 the trustees approached the state about making the college part of the university system. The secondary school was separated and the cadet corps disbanded, and on July 2, 1972, Gordon Military College officially became part of the University System of Georgia as Gordon Junior College, an associate-level college.[5] In 1986 "junior" was dropped from the school's name as Gordon began to offer some undergraduate courses.

The 2000s[edit]

In 2006, the school was designated a four-year state college and now offers six bachelor's degree programs.[3]

On August 8, 2012, the Board of Regents approved the change of the name of Gordon College to Gordon State College. The action follows the board's approval in 2006 of a change in status for the two-year college in Barnesville to allow it to offer limited baccalaureate programs within the University System's state college sector.[3]


Gordon State College offers a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education, biology, English, history, mathematics and Nursing. The degrees in biology, English, history and mathematics also offer a teacher certification track. In the near future the school plans to introduce additional bachelor's degree programs to meet the demands of quality in education that Central Georgia seeks.[3]

Gordon State College continues to offer associate degrees, most of which will transfer, in the following fields of study: Business Administration, Criminal Justice, History, Information Systems, Political Science, Psychology, Secretarial Science or Office Administration, Social Work, Sociology, Teacher Education,[6] Art, English, Foreign Language, General Studies, Music, Theatre, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Astronomy, Biological Sciences and Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Dental Hygiene, Forestry, Horticulture, Mathematics, Medical Technology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Science, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, Physics, Pre-Pharmacy and Respiratory Therapy.[3][7]


Gordon State College competes in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association and the National Junior College Athletic Association. The college fields teams in men's and women's soccer, women's tennis, baseball, softball, men's and women's cross country, and men's and women's basketball. The school has club wrestling, which competes in the NCWA, and a club swim team.[3]

There is a variety of intramural sports to participate in: soccer, kickball, basketball, flag football, volleyball, and softball.[3]

Before the 1980s, the athletic teams at Gordon State were the Bulldogs.[3] Through the mid-1980s, Gordon State's teams were known as the Generals, a nod to General Gordon.[3] Due to concern about Confederate symbolism, the teams are now called the Highlanders to tie the Gordon name to a Scottish Highlands heritage.[3]

Notable Alumni[edit]

Richard B. Russell Jr., governor of Georgia


  1. ^ "Semester Enrollment Report" (PDF). Office of Research and Policy Analysis. University System of Georgia. 2007-11-12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  2. ^ Regent Visits Gordon Campus[dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Gordon College Introduction". stateuniversity.com. Retrieved 21 June 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "GORDON STATE COLLEGE HISTORY". gordonstate.edu. Retrieved 21 June 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c "Lamar County". georgiaencyclopedia.org. Retrieved 21 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Rakoczy, Rebecca. "GPC, Gordon State College sign...". newsroom.gpc.edu. Retrieved 21 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Griffin - Spalding Chamber of Commerce". griffinchamber.com. Griffin - Spalding Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 21 June 2015. 

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