100 years and counting

From an all-night commuter school to a thriving, full-time university, Georgia State has come a long way since its start in 1913.

According to university archivist Laurel Bowen, Georgia State had to worry about keeping the institution alive for the first couple of decades.

“In the early years there were many points in time at which our existence as an institution was threatened and it looked like we were going to be killed and wiped from the surface of the earth,” Bowen said. “Now, we don’t have to look for survival, but can focus on the growth of our institution.”

One interesting story of Georgia State’s transition from a night school to a university is that of its mascot. During the 1940s Georgia State became the Owls because it was a night school. After students voted, the mascot then became the Panther known as “Pounce.”

The runner up for Georgia State’s mascot was the Penguins because the white signified the day school and the black signified the night school.

An interesting tradition Georgia State no longer participates in is the Buttermilk Ball.

“The guy would put a note in a milk bottle asking a girl for a date to the buttermilk ball and that’s how they asked for their dates,” Bowen said.

As Georgia State remains in Downtown Atlanta, many opportunities have become available for students.

“Internships and opportunities are for people who are in school to get practical experience and they are also for people who are with the government and businesses to further their education in our programs,” professor Timothy Crimmins said.

According to both Bowen and Crimmins, Kell Hall has an interesting history they said many Georgia State students are unaware of.

“We moved to Kell Hall after World War II, which is an old parking garage and if you’ve been to Kell Hall you’ll notice the ramps the cars drive up,” Crimmins said. “So, when they created the yearbook Kell Hall was the replaceable building and they named it the Rampway.”

Kell Hall has been a science building for a number of years.

“The story goes they lost track of their frogs and the frogs went hoping around for a while,” Bowen said.

Today, Georgia State is the most diverse University in the system of Georgia. The university not only thrives as a business college, (Georgia State’s original function), but is also a thriving research institution as well.

“We are starting to appreciate some of the strange and wonderful things we learn about our past,” Bowen said. “We are a very unique university and we continue to be unique.  It’s good to know about that and to be able to celebrate it.”

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