Valdosta State University
Seal of Valdosta State University
|South Georgia State Normal College,
Georgia State Woman's College,
Valdosta State College
|President||Cecil P. Staton (Interim)|
|Location||Valdosta, Georgia, U.S.|
|Campus||168 acres (0.68 km2)|
|Colors||Red and Black
|Athletics||NCAA Division II|
|Affiliations||Gulf South Conference|
Valdosta State University, also referred to as VSU, or Valdosta State, is an American public university and is one of the three regional universities in the University System of Georgia. Valdosta State is located on a 168-acre (0.68 km2) campus at the heart of the city of Valdosta. VSU serves over 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students representing 157 Georgia counties, all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Washington, D.C. and hosts over 300 international students from 76 countries. VSU also offers classes at Moody Air Force Base north of Valdosta in Lowndes County, and Kings Bay Naval Base in Camden County.
Degree levels offered at Valdosta State include: Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Education Specialist, and Doctoral. The university comprises the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, Arts, and Nursing. The Graduate School also includes the Divisions of Social Work and Library Science.
- 1 History
- 2 Location
- 3 Campus
- 4 Academics
- 5 Accreditations
- 6 Student life
- 7 Athletics
- 8 Controversy
- 9 Noted people
- 10 References
- 11 External links
South Georgia State Normal College (1913–1922)
The school that would become Valdosta State University was founded in 1906. Colonel W.S. West led the legislation through the Georgia Senate, and C.R. Ashley and E.J. McRee pushed it through the House. However, no funds were appropriated for it until 1911 when the state allocated $25,000. The city of Valdosta raised $50,000, and Col. West gave the property that is now the main part of campus to the state for use by the new institution. The president chosen was Richard Holmes Powell. His travels in the American southwest led him to choose the Spanish Mission style of architecture for the institution's buildings. The school opened as South Georgia State Normal College (SGSNC) in January 1913, with three college freshmen and 15 sub freshmen. The early students were required to wear a school uniform and paid $10 per year for tuition and $12 per month for food and board. Most came to be teachers and studied subjects from literature to physics to agriculture. In 1922, the school became a four-year college and the legislature changed the name to Georgia State Women's College (GSWC).
Georgia State Woman's College (1922–1950)
President Powell headed the GSWC until 1933 when he was made dean of the Coordinate College in Athens. Dr. Jere M. Pound, President of the Georgia Teachers College, was sent to Valdosta. However, his tenure at GSWC lasted less than a year before he had to go on sick leave. He died a year later in 1935.
Dr. Frank Robertson Reade assumed the job of acting president in 1934 and on Dr. Pound's death became president. During his tenure, New Deal programs enabled the school to expand physically from three to seven buildings. The Powell Library, dedicated by Eleanor Roosevelt, was a centerpiece of this construction. During World War II, GSWC emphasized politics and science in its curriculum and in 1943, the B.S. degree was added. Moody Airfield, located nine miles from campus, provided the male participants for many patriotic parties.
Valdosta State College (1950–1993)
Dr. Reade served until 1948, he was followed by Dr. Ralph Thaxton, who came from University of Georgia, where he had served as professor, Dean, Director of Admissions, and Registrar. Soon after Dr. Thaxton began his service, the Board of Regents, acting on the advice of a committee which had examined the whole University of Georgia System, declared that in 1950 GSWC was to become a co-educational – Valdosta State College (VSC).
Programs in premedical, predentistry, and prepharmacy were added, and the sciences became more prominent. Business became a popular major after 1950. By 1956 men on campus outnumbered the women. Greek organizations were formed, with fraternities leading the way, and intercollegiate athletics became a part of campus life when the Rebels, an all-male basketball team, was formed.
In 1953 VSC acquired the property of the former Emory Jr. College, a private all male school that operated from 1928 to 1953, less than a mile away, and the facilities became the north campus which now house the College of Business and Air Force ROTC.
Under Dr. Thaxton's tenure, the College integrated in 1963. Over the next decade the college added African-American students, faculty and administrators.
Dr. Thaxton retired in 1966, and Dr. S. Walter Martin, former president of Emory University and Vice Chancellor of the University System of Georgia, assumed the presidency. He presided over a time of physical expansion of the school, including the construction of such buildings as the Odum Library, the Education Center, The Fine Arts Building, the College Union, a Science Administration Building and six dormitories. The student body grew, the School of Nursing was established, and many programs expanded, including those in graduate education.
|Richard Holmes Powell||1913–1933|
|Jere Madison Pound||1933–1935|
|Frank Robertson Reade||1935–1948|
|James Ralph Thaxton||1948–1966|
|Sidney Walter Martin||1966–1978|
|Hugh Coleman Bailey||1978–2001|
|Ronald M. Zaccari||2002–2008|
|Patrick J. Schloss||2008–2011|
|William J. McKinney||2012–2015|
Valdosta State University (1993–present)
When Dr. Martin retired in 1978, Dr. Hugh Coleman Bailey assumed the post. Under Dr. Bailey, the school had doubled in size from 4,500 to 9,000 students. From 1978 to 1993, numerous programs were added and existing courses upgraded, resulting in the early 1980s in an endeavor to make VSC a university. Throughout the 1980s the college established off-campus sites and course offerings and began receiving state and federal grant funds to develop curriculum and programs. In 1993, all the hard work and planning paid off. Valdosta State College became Valdosta State University (VSU), the second regional university in the University System of Georgia. In fall 1998, Valdosta State University adopted the semester system, along with other units of the University System of Georgia. Under Bailey's leadership VSU continued to grow with the addition of the 150,000-square-foot (14,000 m2) University Center in the 1995 and a new science building in 2001.
In January 2002, Dr. Ronald M. Zaccari assumed the post and during his time in office VSU updated its infrastructure to accommodate student population growth, including the construction of four new dormitories and two parking decks. Dr. Patrick J. Schloss became the President of VSU in 2008 and was in office during the opening of a new Student Health Center, Georgia Residence Hall, and Student Union. Dr. William J. McKinney was announced as the new VSU president in 2012. On April 2, 2015, it was announced that Dr. McKinney would step down as president effective July 1, 2015.
In August 2015, interim president Dr. Cecil P. Staton citing a 17% decline in enrollment since its peak in 2011, announced that over thirty faculty and staff members would not have their contracts renewed at the end of the year. That decision was met with criticism by students and faculty, and has caused some to question the future of the institution.
The city of Valdosta is located in South Georgia, just off of Interstate 75, approximately 20 miles (32 km) from the Florida state line. Valdosta is about a two-hour drive from Tallahassee, Macon, and Jacksonville, three hours from Orlando and about four hours from Atlanta.
The Valdosta metropolitan area has a population of over 120,000 and the area offers many shopping areas including the Valdosta Mall, historic downtown Valdosta, multiple restaurants, a movie theater, a nearby theme park, art and history museums, and more.
The total economic impact of VSU related activities in the 2010 fiscal year brought in $537 million and 5,400 jobs to the Valdosta metropolitan area, or approximately 8 percent of the employed labor force in the Valdosta Metro area.
A study by Valdosta State University's Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) shows that in the 2010–2011 school year VSU directly and indirectly generated 5,055 jobs and created an annual labor income impact of $208.7 million for the Valdosta Metropolitan Area. The Valdosta State staff includes 1,302 full-time and 526 part-time employees. VSU ranks within the top 10 employers for the Valdosta MSA.
The VSU campus is divided into two areas: main, and north campus. The main campus houses much of the academic and administrative departments and is recognized for its Spanish Mission architecture theme of every building. The 85-acre (34 ha) Main Campus faces North Patterson Street, one of the city’s main thoroughfares. In total, 85 buildings located across 168 acres (68 ha) make up the Valdosta State University campus. Other units of the University are located in satellite facilities adjacent to the campus and along Patterson Street. The campuses and principal satellite buildings are connected by the University bus service, operating regularly throughout each class day.
Built in 1917, West Hall, is the oldest building at Valdosta State University and has long been known as the symbol of the University due to its distinctive dome and Spanish-mission architecture. It is also the center of academic activity at VSU, housing the Administrative Offices of the President, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Dean of Arts and Sciences. The Departments of English, Political Science, and Modern and Classical Languages are also located in West Hall. In addition, this building houses the Master's of Public Administration Program, the Foreign Language/International Culture Center, the language laboratory, an electronic classroom, the General Studies Program Office, the Campus Writing Center and numerous classrooms.
The Gertrude Gilmer Odum Library built in 1971 at 85,000 square feet (7,900 m2), serves as the main library of Valdosta State University. In 2004 a 95,000-square-foot (8,800 m2) addition was built off the southern portion of the building doubling the size of Odum Library. Distinctive features of the addition include a 24-hour Internet Cafe, the GALILEO Technology Center, electronic classrooms, auditorium, expanded Media Center, climate-controlled Archives, new study areas, and additional book shelving.
The nearly 180,000-square-foot (17,000 m2) library houses approximately 453,757 bound volumes, and nearly 3,000 current periodicals and newspapers and a microform collection of over a million units. The Odum Library is a Selective Depository of U.S. Government documents and maintains the Archives of Contemporary South Georgia History and a Southern History Collection.
In November 2013, VSU announced it would expand its sustainability efforts by adding a solar canopy behind the library.
The 113,604-square-foot (10,554.2 m2) Valdosta State Student Union serves as the social center of Valdosta State. It offers students a two-story bookstore, 300-seat theater, game room,large dividable multi purpose room with a capacity for over 500 people, ample lounge space, meeting rooms, student organization offices and a food court featuring Nathan's Famous, Starbuck's, and Chick-fil-A. The previous Student Union was too small to accommodate the growing student population at VSU and in the fall of 2008, was demolished for construction of the new Student Union which opened in 2010.
Bailey Science Center
The Hugh C. Bailey Science Center serves as the home of the Biology and Chemistry Departments. The facility is named after former VSU President Hugh C. Bailey who served from 1978 to 2001. The building has 22 teaching and 19 research laboratories that occupy the entire north side of the building. In addition, it has four greenhouses on the rooftop; 11 classrooms, including four 48 seat classrooms, and one 96 seat classroom; a large auditorium which seats 275, and a smaller auditorium which seats 148; two conference rooms and 41 offices.
The Rea and Lillian Steele North Campus, located less than a mile, approximately ten blocks, north of the VSU main campus and is home to the Harley Langdale Jr. School of Business, Air Force ROTC Detachment 172, Billy Grant Field,home of the VSU baseball team, and the VSU Softball Complex. The campus is the former home of Emory Junior College, an all-male two-year private institution that served as a branch of Emory University based in Atlanta. The property was sold to Valdosta State in 1950 after it transitioned from an all-female school to co-educational. The buildings follow a red brick modified form of Georgian architecture.
Jewel Whitehead Camellia Trail
The Camellia Trail is believed to be the only such trail on a university campus in the nation. Located in the northwest area of the Main Campus, more than 1,100 camellias of many varieties form a winding 3,000-foot-long (910 m) trail through the towering pines. The trail was a 1944 Christmas gift to the University from the late Mr. and Mrs. R. B. Whitehead of Valdosta. A memorial gateway honors the collection's founder, "The Camellia Lady," Jewell Whitehead.
Outdoor Art Collection
The Valdosta State campus features six metal sculptures as part of an expanding outdoor art collection. "Cormorant" by Harry McDaniel of North Carolina was the first sculpture installed during the summer of 2011 outside of the Fine Arts Building on the corner of Brookwood Drive and Oak Street. "Three Spheres" by Hoss Haley, also from North Carolina, is located on the north side of the Fine Arts Building. "Fly Away Too" by Andrew Light of Tallahassee, Florida, is outside the College of Education on Baytree Road. “Black Bird,” located between Odum Library and the Student Union, was created and donated by the university’s seventh president, Dr. Ronald Zaccari. Charles E. Hook's "Fenris" located outside the north entrance Odum Library, was added in June 2012. Most recently "Guardian" by Tallahassee artist Mark Dickson was installed in July 2012 between Odum Library and the Fine Arts Building.
Valdosta State is organized into five Colleges offering 56 undergraduate degree programs and over 40 graduate programs and degrees.
- College of Arts and Sciences – Academic Departments include African American Studies, Biology, Chemistry, English, History, Mathematics and Computer Science, Modern and Classical Languages, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Criminal Justice, and Women's and Gender Studies.
- College of the Arts – The College includes the Department of Art, the Department of Communication Arts, and the Department of Music. The College of the Arts maintains a calendar of performing arts, visual arts, television, radio programming, and other arts activities that are available to students, faculty and the general public. The Peach State Summer Theatre held at VSU is designated as the Official Musical Theatre of the State of Georgia.
- Langdale College of Business Administration – Located on the VSU North Campus the school is composed of the Department of Accounting and Finance, Department of Management, and the Department of Marketing and Economics.
- James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education – Departments include Adult and Career Education, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Curriculum, Leadership, and Technology, Early Childhood & Special Education, Kinesiology and Physical Education, Middle, Secondary, Reading & Deaf Education, Psychology and Counseling.
- College of Nursing – The Nursing Program was founded at Valdosta State College in 1968 The program offers Undergraduate and Graduate programs for nursing.
Valdosta State University offers undergraduate work leading to the following degrees: Associate of Applied Science in two major programs, the Associate of Arts, the Bachelor of Arts in thirteen major programs, the Bachelor of Science in eleven major programs, the Bachelor of Science in Education in twelve major programs, the Bachelor of Business Administration in five major programs, the Bachelor of Fine Arts in seven major programs, the Bachelor of Music in two major programs, the Bachelor of General Studies, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology, and the Bachelor of Applied Science.
Graduate degrees offered include the Master of Education in seventeen major programs, the Master of Arts in three major programs, the Master of Arts in Teaching in two major programs, the Master of Science in seven major programs, Master of Public Administration, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Art Education, Master of Music Education, Master of Music Performance, Master of Social Work, Master of Library and Information Science, the Education Specialist in ten major programs, the Doctor of Education in three major programs, and the Doctor of Public Administration. New baccalaureate and graduate degree programs are added from time to time to meet the needs of the population served by the University.
Valdosta State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral degrees.
Current program accreditations include:
- Applied and Clinical Sociology (Undergraduate) and Applied Sociology (Graduate) – Commission on Applied and Clinical Sociology
- Art – National Association of Schools of Art and Design; The National Association of Schools of Theatre
- Business (College) – Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International
- Chemistry – Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society
- Communication Disorders (Master's) – Council on Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
- Education (College) – National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
- Foreign Language Education in Modern and Classical Languages – American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
- Library and Information Science (Master's) – Committee on Accreditation of the American Library Association
- Marriage and Family Therapy Program (Master's) – Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Training and Education of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
- Music – National Association of Schools of Music
- Nursing (BSN and MSN) – Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
- Public Administration (Master's) – National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration
- Public Relations – Certification in Education for Public Relations by the Public Relations Society of America
- School Psychology (Master's) – National Association of School Psychologists
- Social Work (Master's) – Council on Social Work Education
- Athletic Training Education Program – Commission on the Accreditation of Athletic Training Education programs
- Theatre – National Association of Schools of Theatre
Source: VSU 2009–2010 Undergraduate Course Catalog and Graduate Course Catalog.
There are over 200 recognized student organizations offered at VSU. Opportunities for students include VSU's student radio station 90.9FM, weekly newspaper (The Spectator), and annual literary publication (Odradek). The Student Recreation Center provides students with facilities such as an indoor pool, track, racquetball, volleyball and basketball courts, weight rooms, a cardio area, rock climbing wall, and more.
Valdosta State University offers seven traditional residence halls and two apartment-style buildings located throughout the campus. Approximately 24% of the enrolled students at VSU live in the residence halls and on-campus apartments.
Valdosta State University's Greek Fraternities and Sororities have approximately 1,200 members, representing more than 10 percent of the student community. There are 13 nationally recognized fraternities and 10 national sororities at VSU. The school's Greek organizations are members of the Collegiate Panhellenic Council, Interfraternity Council, and National Pan-Hellenic Council. Six sororities are members of the CPC, the NPHC comprises nine historically-black organizations, and nine fraternities are a part of the IFC.
|Interfraternity Council (IFC)||College Panhellenic Council (CPC)||National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)|
The Spectator is the independent student newspaper of Valdosta State University, published every Thursday morning during each Fall and Spring Semester. The Spectator began in 1936 as the Campus Canopy but changed its name to The Spectator some years later. It contains latest campus news, local news, opinions, features, entertainment, and sports.
Omnino is an online undergraduate research journal of Valdosta State University. It is published bi-annually and accepts substantial research from all disciplines. "Omnino" is a peer-reviewed journal. The word "Omnino" is Latin for "altogether." Omnino stands for the journal's main mission to bring together all disciplines of academia to form a well-rounded and comprehensive research journal. The journal was founded in the Spring of 2011 by student's in an "Editing for Publications" course.
"WVVS-FM" is a student operated radio station broadcasting at 90.9 FM. The station broadcast throughout the year as is possible with a volunteer student and faculty staff. The station first signed on the air in July 1971, and operated out of the old Student Union building. With the replacement of that building the station moved to the south side of campus.
The Valdosta State Blazers compete in football, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf and cross-country. “Lady Blazers” compete in basketball, softball, tennis, volleyball, cross-country, and soccer. The school's team was previously known as the Rebels until the name was changed to the Blazers in the 1970s. VSU is a NCAA Division II member institution and has been a member of the Gulf South Conference since 1981. Valdosta State's first national championship was in baseball in 1979. Valdosta State University football teams won the Division II National Championship 3 times (2004, 2007, 2012) and also played in the title game in 2002. The men's tennis has won two national titles (2006 and 2011) and also played for the national championship in three other seasons (2004, 2007, and 2010). The Lady Blazers softball team won its first national championship in 2012 after falling in their first title match appearance in 2010. Valdosta State also has a rugby club VSU Rugby.
TitleTown USA was a month-long segment on ESPN that started in the Spring of 2008 and continued through July. Fans nominated towns and cities across the country based on their championship pedigree. A panel reviewed the nominees and fan voting in May determined the 20th finalist. SportsCenter visited each city in July, and fan voting July 23–27 determined the winner. Based on online fan voting, Valdosta, Georgia was the winning city of TitleTown USA. Valdosta State's numerous national, conference, and division titles in multiple sports were a major reason the city of Valdosta won the vote to be named "TitleTown, USA".
In May 2007, T. Hayden Barnes, a student at Valdosta State University (VSU) was "administratively withdrawn" for criticizing the construction of two new parking garages on campus in a manner that University President Ronald Zaccari, over the objection of other administrators, deemed to be indicative of Barnes posing a clear and present danger to the VSU campus. In January 2008, T. Hayden Barnes filed a civil rights lawsuit for violation of his First Amendment and due process rights against the university, VSU President Ronald Zaccari, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, and other VSU administrators. The September 8, 2010 edition of the Valdosta Daily Times noted that Hayden Barnes won his legal battle against past university president Dr. Ronald Zaccari.
In July 2015, the university's insurers settled the case for $900,000 In a Huffington Post column, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff wrote that administrators like Zaccari should not have the protection of the university and its insurers when they knowingly break the law, as was indicated when the Federal 11th circuit appeals court stripped the former president of his qualified immunity (making him personally liable for breaking the law). Lukianoff offered an example of an administrator deliberately running down a student with his car, and stated this is no different. He added until administrators understand they have skin in the game, they will continue to violate student's rights if they believe the university and its insurers will take the brunt of the fall-out.
Mark Patrick George
On 28 July 2014 Valdosta State University deactivated the email account of adjunct sociology professor Mark P. George, a day after he sent a follow up letter to state officials critical of the state of Georgia funding Confederate History Month, confederate events, and memorials. In June 2014, George had sent a similar open letter to Governor Nathan Deal and all of the state legislatures through his university email account. Professor George was also the long time director of the Mary Turner Project, a program dedicated to raising awareness of the 1918 lynching spree in Lowndes County which included the death of Mary Turner. The funds for the Mary Turner Project were frozen at the same time of the deletion of George's email. The email account was deactivated following complaints by VSU alumnus and Sons of Confederate Veterans member, John Cooper Hall Jr. to VSU president William McKinney on 11 July. After initially supporting George's actions under freedom of speech, McKinney was instructed by Thomas Daniel of the University System of Georgia's External Affairs to remove George's access to university email. It is the position of VSU that George's action violated rules against using university materials for a political agenda. A meeting was arranged between McKinney and George in August in which George came away dissatisfied. In response to George's account being deactivated, John Cooper Hall Jr. responded, "Cry me a river. It's not like the Confederate Army went down there and hung him." If proper procedures were followed when George's email account was deactivated is still in question as of 24 August 2014. George has since voluntarily left VSU for a job elsewhere. In late October 2014, McKinney ordered an independent investigation into the ongoing clash. It is of the position of Mark George that the shut-down of his email was politically motivated. John Cooper Hall Jr, claims that George's email being shut-down was as a result of personal attacks against Hall. McKinney is refusing to comment on the matter until the independent investigation is complete. Hall's initial letter to McKinney complained that George was trying "to use racial politics to affect the upcoming election" with his campaign against Georgia's funding Confederate related matters, and makes no mention of personal attacks. In late January 2015, the independent investigation announced that President McKinney did no wrong regarding Mark George. As of January 28, 2015, Mark George is considering legal action against Valdosta State University and disputes the findings of the investigation.
In early July 2014, Valdosta State University announced that neurosurgeon Ben Carson would be coming to speak at VSU for a September 11 event and fundraiser. All funds are supposed to go to the Valdosta Early College Academy. Tickets to the event sold out within three days of the announcement of the event. In the wake of the incident with Mark P. George, it came to the light that VSU is paying Ben Carson $43,000 to speak for a few hours. Carson's visit is being billed as a non-partison fundraiser for the Valdosta Early College Academy (VECA). Tables for the dinner portion sold for $5,000, and tickets for the speech portion entitled "America the Beautiful: Rediscovering what made this nation great" sold for $20. Carson's conservative positions, his consideration of running for president in 2016, and the long list of other Republican politicians at the event have drawn questions as to whether or not the event will harm VSU's reputation and if it is a policy violation. The head of minority recruitment for the Georgia Republican Party has been reported as having reserved twenty seats for the event. It is of the opinion of VSU that since Carson has not officially announced his candidacy for any political office, the event is not a policy violation. Ben Carson announced the formation of political action committee named One Nation on August 2, 2014 and appointed businessman Terry Giles as chairman of potential presidential campaign. Carson has stated that he will decide whether or not to run for president depending on the results of the 2014 mid-term elections.
American Flag controversy
On April 17, 2015, Air Force veteran Michelle Manhart was taken into custody for removing an American flag from a student protest at the university. The protest by an unnamed student group involved walking over the flag repeatedly as a symbol against racism. Manhart was detained after she refused to return the flag to the student group, but was later released with a criminal trespass warning. The school has stated that they are ""monitoring the situation."
On April 24, 2015, Valdosta State University campus police discovered a black bag belonging to student protester Eric Sheppard. A loaded handgun was found to be inside the bag, arousing fears that the student protesters belonged to a violent, anti-American group.
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