The Georgia Board of Regents’ decision to consolidate Macon State College and Middle Georgia College will begin a new history by fall 2013. By this time, Macon State’s president Jeffrey Allbritten will be leading the new institution.
Although Macon State has been an establishment since the 1960s, Middle Georgia has been around since 1884. Because of its dates and long running establishment one idea is to simply use the name “Middle Georgia” to title the schools.
Lindsey Morris, a freshman Biology major at Macon State said she believes the consolidated institution should be named, “Middle Georgia.”
Originally, Middle Georgia was chartered with the help of Baptist financial investment. It was first called New Ebenezer College. According to Middle Georgia’s history website the first building of the institution was built in 1886. Classes began in 1887.
The College of the New Ebenezer Association helped found Middle Georgia College. Baptist churches in Pulaski, Dodge, Laurens, and Telfair counties authorized the institution on Oct. 20, 1884.
According to the Middle Georgia website “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.’ ”
Middle Georgia is a school that has undergone several consolidations passed down by the Board. The original establishment did not include the agricultural and mechanical school or its aviation concentrations.
Almost 40 years after the Middle Georgia was established, the Agricultural and Mechanical Junior College was added in 1929. The agriculture and mechanical divisions were “placed under a nine-man board of trustees on Aug. 28, 1929” by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
Macon State’s Eisenhower Parkway campus opened in 1968 under the name Macon Junior College. The fi rst campus welcomed 1,110 students in its initial enrollment. According to Macon State’s history, “Macon Junior College has the largest charter enrollment of any new college in Georgia history.”
Both Macon State and Middle Georgia have a history of community-based enrollment. Gary King is a dual junior business administration and Spanish major at Middle Georgia. King said, “I like the idea that the merger could create a Central State University , but saddened by the face that Middle Georgia would lose its history as the oldest traditional two year college in the nation.” Another concern with bridging a new history for the two schools is the name. King said, “I will probably not be effected much by the merger but I do have concerns.”
As a student who will have graduated when the consolidation is expected to be complete King asked, “What will future colleges and potential future careers think of my educational background when they see I have a degree or two from a school that no longer exists?”
To address concerns, the Board has published a factsheet about the merger on their website. The sheet discusses the names on students’ diplomas. According to the factsheet, “The implementation working group will address these and other issues in a way that meets the needs of students. In some cases students already enrolled may have choices as to the institutional name on their diploma.” Macon State student, Mary Epps, is a freshman education major. Epps, who would like to keep the name Macon State College said, “I think Macon State has accomplished a lot since it was Macon Junior College and this is just another example of how much Macon State can grow.”
One thing that comes along with the consolidation is that Middle Georgia will be inheriting a student written and student operated newspaper.
Tyler Newberry, a Macon State student, said the name for the new school paper should be, “The Middle Georgia Statement.” For questions about the new merger students should consult the Georgia Board of Regents’ website.
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