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Regents Give Final Approval to University System’s 35th Campus

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Atlanta — June 8, 2005

Capping a process that began last October, the Board of Regents today approved the creation of a new state college in Gwinnett County, thus formally establishing the 35th institution in the University System of Georgia.

The Board also approved Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith’s implementation plan and timeline for the new college, which will admit its first students in fall 2006.

The new state college will become the first public college or university created in Georgia since Bainbridge, East Georgia and Waycross colleges were authorized in 1970.

“Support has been strong for establishing a four-year college in Gwinnett County,” said Meredith. “The key to creating this new state college was approval by the legislature and the governor. Now with the Board’s action, we can begin moving from vision to reality.”

The Board’s approval follows its request last fall to the Georgia General Assembly to introduce and pass a resolution authorizing the regents to create the new institution. Senate Resolution 33, providing such authorization, was passed by the General Assembly in March 2005 and signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue in May.

The mission of the new institution has been established, Meredith told the Board, which includes meeting a substantial portion of selected Gwinnett-area workforce needs, concentrating on core instruction and providing access to public higher education for Gwinnett-area students.

In his presentation to the Board, Senior Vice President for Academic and Fiscal Affairs Dr. Daniel S. Papp noted that among the key goals, the institution would be expected to expand the use of technology in instructional programs. Prior to the regents’ approval, Papp also outlined the implementation plan for the college, which includes:

  • Election of a new president by September 2005;
  • Selection of a name for the institution by September 2005;
  • Selection and hiring of faculty and staff, scheduled in phases from 2006 through 2008;
  • Selection of academic programs, including targeted bachelor’s degree programs; and
  • Application for accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

In addition, University System officials will be working on the transition of the existing Gwinnett University Center (GUC) to the new state college. After the college is open, the GUC will be phased out as lower-division programs Georgia Perimeter College students and upper-division University of Georgia students graduate or transfer to other institutions. Once the transition is complete, all undergraduate education will be offered by the new institution, with UGA continuing to provide graduate programs and continuing education courses.

Other factors involved in the implementation plan include budgeting and planning for needed facilities. Papp noted that $1.3 million had been allocated in the Board of Regents’ Fiscal Year 2006 budget for implementation needs. In up-coming months, System officials will decide on other budget issues, such as identifying appropriate funding levels for the new state college.

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