Middle Georgia College is a publicly supported, residential, charter unit of the University System of Georgia, in the city Cochran in the U.S. state of Georgia. Founded in 1884, the school is the oldest two-year college in the United States. It is currently being transformed into a 4 year university. The college offers a very limited number of 4-year degrees in the sciences, and also offers 2 year associates. The Dublin Center is branch of the college located in Dublin, Georgia. A recent merger with Georgia Aviation Technical College in Eastman gave Middle Georgia a third campus location in Eastman. The college's mission statement declares its intent to provide high quality postsecondary education and support services to prepare its graduates for life-long learning, responsible citizenship, and leadership in their chosen careers.
Middle Georgia College had its beginning in a denominational institution, the College of the New Ebenezer Association. The association was composed largely of Baptist churches in Pulaski, Dodge, Laurens, and Telfair counties.
The establishment of the institution was authorized by the association on October 20, 1884. The first building was constructed during 1885 and 1886. Instruction began on January 10, 1887, with approximately a hundred students, most of whom were from the middle Georgia area.
During the early period, the institution was divided into preparatory and collegiate departments. A stated purpose of the curriculum, as described in the catalog of 1887, was "to prepare pupils for business or for the Junior Class in Universities. This includes Latin, Greek, Mathematics, Natural Science and several modern languages, with English studies and Music." Thus, the two-year college idea was among the primary intentions of the founders.
On August 21, 1917, an agricultural and mechanical school for Georgia's 12th congressional district was established to continue the educational services for the area on the same campus. This school was chartered as one of the branches of the Georgia State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts, a department of the University of Georgia.
On August 20, 1927, the Middle Georgia Agricultural and Mechanical Junior College was established. This, too, was a branch of the University of Georgia. The name was changed to Middle Georgia College, and the operation of the college was placed under a nine-man board of trustees on August 28, 1929.
Middle Georgia College was placed under the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, a constitutional body, as a separate unit of the University System on August 27, 1931. The Dublin Center was located in Dublin in 1984.
In 1997, Middle Georgia College began the Georgia Academy of Mathematics, Engineering, and Science (GAMES), a joint enrollment program that allows students to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an Associate's degree.
As of Fall Semester 2007, Middle Georgia College had just over 3500 students, including just over 700 in Dublin and 150 in Eastman. In 2006, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia raised the college to the level of state college and authorized the granting of a limited number of 4-year degrees.
In August 2006, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and The Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education set up a transition team to merge Middle Georgia College with the Georgia Aviation Technical College in Eastman to better facilitate MGC's new Bachelor's degree programs in aviation. The article here linked is an earlier article concerning the merger that, at that time, was only a possibility.
On March 21 2007, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved the merger, and the DTAE board approved the merger in January. It became effective July 1 2007, and the new college continues to be known as Middle Georgia College.
The college has seen a rapid rise in growth under the tutelage of President Dr. Richard Federinko. However, despite such growth, the college has drawn criticism from former alumni for lowering its standards. A press release available at the school's website indicates that Dr. Federinko has resigned effective December 31 2007 to accept a position at Troy University in Alabama. In November 2007 the school's Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Mary Ellen Wilson, was named as interim President until a permanent replacement is chosen. On July 1, 2008, Dr. W. Michael Stoy, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Gainesville State College, was named President of Middle Georgia College. Among its celebrated alumni is the world famous radio personality, Hal Edwards.