In October 2004, the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents voted to ask the General Assembly to approve the creation of a new state college in Gwinnett County. In March 2005, the General Assembly passed Senate Resolution 33, authored by Sen. Don Balfour, establishing a new college in Gwinnett, later signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue. In September 2005, the Regents hired Dr. Daniel J. Kaufman, a retired Army brigadier general, as the college’s inaugural president. A month later, the Regents named the institution, “Georgia Gwinnett College.”
GGC opened its doors to 118 students on August 18, 2006, as 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. It welcomed its first freshman class in 2007 and recognized 17 students at its inaugural commencement ceremony in 2008. In January of 2009, GGC held its first winter graduation ceremony, and that spring, it graduated 38 students. It added a summer commencement ceremony in 2013.
In 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. More than 3,000 students enrolled for the 2009 fall semester.
In 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 Student Center opened in January 2011 and a new laboratory building opened that summer. GGC’s enrollment reached 9,400 in fall 2012.
The 2012-13 academic year was the Grizzlies’ first season of official intercollegiate competition in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, and marked the completion of the varsity athletics facilities.
President Kaufman departed GGC for the presidency of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce in July 2013, and Dr. Stanley C. “Stas’” Preczewski, formerly vice president for Academic and Student Affairs, served as interim president for about a year before being named president in May 2014. In fall 2014, the college opened its new Allied Health and Sciences building, home of the School of Science and Technology, the newly formed School of Health Sciences and its nursing program.
The college celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2015 with a year-long “GGC10” observance. As it enters its second decade, GGC continues to build upon its success in upholding its unique mission and vision.
Today, the college enrolls more than 12,000 students. It is ranked as the most ethnically diverse Southern regional college by U.S. News & World Report (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), which also ranks GGC as producing the second least student debt among Southern regional colleges.
The Daniel J. Kaufman Library & Learning Center was recently named for GGC’s founding president, and the college celebrated the expansion of its academic Building C.
GGC offers 17 bachelor’s degree programs and almost 50 concentrations. Its students score it among the nation’s top colleges in several areas of student engagement, a critical predictor of student success. According to USG studies, GGC has contributed more than $2.8 billion to the local economy, including creation of 4,500 jobs.
GGC’s innovative practices, caring culture and extremely affordable tuition are changing the game in higher education, and changing the future for students at all levels, of all ages and from all walks of life. Its groundbreaking, four-year college model changes how educators facilitate and support student learning and is characterized by its integrated approach to attention, affordability and access.