"The challenges of living in a global community require men and women of character who can anticipate and respond effectively to an uncertain and changing world.”
– President Daniel J. Kaufman, Georgia Gwinnett College
Georgia Gwinnett College opened its doors on August 18, 2006, as Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman, Georgia Board of Regents Chairman Allan Vigil, U.S. Representative John Linder and GGC Foundation Chairman Glenn White cut the ceremonial ribbon for the nation’s first four-year public college founded in the 21st century and the first four-year public institution created in Georgia in more than 100 years.
Recognizing that Gwinnett was the largest county east of the Mississippi River lacking a four-year college, the County purchased 160 acres of land located off Georgia Highway 316 and Collins Hill Road in 1994 and designated it specifically for the development of a college campus. Five years later, the Georgia Legislature showed their support by allocating nearly $20 million for the signature building which serves as the focal point on the campus today.
The following year, Gwinnett County donated the 160 acres to establish the Gwinnett University Center (GUC), a partnership among several state institutions. Before the year ended, the Board of Regents would approve a unique public-private venture to construct the first classroom building on the new campus. The new 120,000 square-foot building was constructed in a record 10 months, and by January of 2002, the College’s predecessor, the Gwinnett University Center, would open its doors.
In October of 2004, the Board of Regents voted to create a new four-year college in Gwinnett County, which had doubled in population in each of the past three decades and was home to nearly 700,000 people. The new college would inhabit the GUC campus and replace the four institutions then offering courses on the site.
In March of 2005, the Georgia General Assembly passed Senate Resolution 33, authored by Sen. Don Balfour, establishing a new college in Gwinnett County. That same year, Gov. Perdue deferred a $5 million appropriation in the 2006 state budget for a 29,000 square-foot classroom building.
In September of 2005, the Georgia Board of Regents hired Dr. Daniel J. Kaufman, a retired Army brigadier general, as the College’s inaugural president. A month later, the Board voted to name the institution, “Georgia Gwinnett College.”
Before the end of the year, the Board of Regents approved several initial bachelor degree programs: Bachelor of Science with a major in Biology; a Bachelor of Science with a major in Psychology; a Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in Early childhood Education (including eligibility for certification in special education); a Bachelor of Applied Science with a major in Technology Management; a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in General Business and Marketing; a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
In 2006, Georgia Gwinnett College opened its doors to 118 juniors as its first students. The following fall, the College’s first freshman class joined GGC. In 2008, the College held its inaugural commencement ceremony, graduating 17 students. In January of 2009, Georgia Gwinnett College held its first winter graduation ceremony.
In May of 2009, with Gen. David H. Petraeus, U.S. commander of Central Command, as the commencement speaker, GGC graduated 38 students. In June 2009, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools granted Georgia Gwinnett its initial accreditation in record time, giving the College the ability to apply for research grants and awards from foundations for students and faculty members and expand its degree programs. GGC now also offers majors in early childhood education, history, exercise science, mathematics, special education, English, political science and criminal justice/criminology.
When the doors opened for fall semester 2009, more than 3,000 students were on campus.
In the summer of 2010, GGC celebrated the opening of its new Library and Learning Center and its first student residence halls, transforming the commuter college into a residential campus. More than 5,300 students enrolled for the 2010 fall semester. The new GGC Student Center opened in January 2011. A new laboratory building opened in August 2011 to serve the college’s dramatically expanding enrollment, which reached 9,400 in fall 2012.
In early 2013, the College broke ground on its Allied Health and Sciences Building, future home of the School of Science and Technology and the newly formed School of Health Sciences and its proposed nursing program. The 2012-13 academic year was the Grizzlies’ first season of official intercollegiate competition in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The varsity athletics facilities are nearly complete.
President Kaufman announced he would depart the College for the presidency of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce as of July 1, 2013. Dr. Stas Preczewski, vice president for Academic and Student Affairs, will serve as interim president.