Becker announces major changes during State of the University

President Mark Becker announced a number of major changes coming to Georgia State’s campus in the immediate future during this year’s Oct. 2 State of Address speech.

Beginning in the next few years, Georgia State will tear down Kell Hall and parts of connected buildings to make way for a large greenway connecting Woodruff Park to Library Plaza and eventually the Petit Science Center, Becker said.

With recent additions to campus, including the purchases of 25 Park Place and connected property around Woodruff to house the University’s new law and business buildings, Becker acknowledged the University has grown tremendously in recent years but said more must be done to create open spaces for students.

“But none of these additions addresses a significant shortcoming of our campus, too much density and concrete and not enough green and open space,” Becker said. “That needs to change – and it will in the foreseeable future.”

Building on the university’s strengths in immunity and infection, oncology and inflammation research, Becker also announced the creation of the Georgia State Institute for Biomedical Sciences. The University expects to advance the field of biomedical research and educate a new generation of biomedical scientists.

In addition to these major announcements, Becker discussed Georgia State’s record-breaking graduation rates, freshmen enrollment, fundraising and grant approval.

“Over the past year, we have demonstrated considerable success in our goal to become a national model,” Becker noted, mentioning major coverage by national media outlets of Georgia State’s innovative programs to use “big data” to retain students along with other community-focused programs.

Last year the University awarded over 7,500 degrees, up from 5,800 degrees five years ago – a major improvement, according to Becker. More than 2,000 freshmen enrolled in freshmen learning communities for the fall semester and researching funding exceeded $71 million, topping last year’s $66.5 million.

Last month the University also received a $19 million grant from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the largest grant in school’s history.

“Our strategic plan has been the blueprint for our success, and I am proud to say—thanks to the work of so many of you—we are making enormous and rapid progress in implementing that plan,” Becker said. “This is a time to celebrate Georgia State’s first century and a time to take pride in what we have done to build off that legacy and take our university to new heights.”