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. The library was later named in Kaufman's honor.
In fall 2014, the college opened its Allied Health and Sciences building, home of the School of Science and Technology and the newly formed School of Health Sciences. Building W was completed in the fall of 2018.
President Preczewski retired in January 2019 and Dr. Mary Beth Walker was named interim president. Dr. Jann L. Joseph began serving as president July 1, 2019.
Now well into its second decade, GGC continues to build upon its success in upholding its unique mission and vision. Today, the college enrolls 11,627 students. U.S. News & World Report has ranked GGC the #4 most innovative Southern regional college for 2021, the most ethnically diverse Southern regional college for its seventh consecutive year and the #20 top public Southern regional college for 2021.
GGC offers 19 bachelor’s degree programs and more than 45 concentrations. Its students have scored it among the nation’s top colleges in several areas of student engagement, a critical predictor of student success. According to USG economic impact studies, GGC has contributed more than $4.3 billion to the local economy, including the creation of 3,950 jobs. More than 8,000 alumni now serve as contributing citizens to their communities in Georgia and beyond.
GGC’s innovative practices, caring culture and extremely affordable tuition are changing the future for students at all levels, of all ages and from all walks of life. Its ground breaking, four-year college model changes how educators facilitate and support student learning and is characterized by its integrated approach to attention, affordability and access.