The Georgia State University Panther family extended into Newton County Wednesday as the former Georgia Perimeter College Newton Campus celebrated a merger a year in the making.
Faculty, staff and community members gathered to unveil new Georgia State signs in front of the campus, located on Hwy 11 at 239 Cedar Lane. The ensemble then entered campus, mingling with students and the Panther mascot, receiving GSU T-shirts and talking about the future underneath a huge banner of balloons that read “Panther Family.”
The merger, which became official Jan. 6, was first announced in January 2015 by Chancellor Hank Huckaby to expand Georgia State beyond Metro Atlanta. The move also brings Georgia State’s resources to the Newton campus, which opened its doors in 2007 thanks to community support and a 100-acre land donation from the Arnold Fund.
“It’s tremendous how the community has supported Georgia Perimeter and now Georgia State University,” Mark Becker, Georgia State University President said.
Members of the Newton County community have been instrumental in Georgia Perimeter College coming to the area. Several people who played key roles in that were on hand Wednesday.
Robert Fowler, Charles Tuller, Frank Turner and the wife of the late Pierce Cline, Margie, were all present and eager to see the new logos and signage displayed on the Newton Campus. Sally Paschal, Georgia Perimeter Newton campus’s first Provost, was also there Wednesday.
Many dignitaries with Georgia State, including Becker and Georgia State University Vice Provost Peter Lyons, were in Newton to celebrate as well.
Becker noted the area’s growth, and the ability of Georgia State to capitalize on that going forward.
“There has been a lot of economic development in Newton County,” Becker said. “We look forward to the expansion of the work force need and how the Newton campus can support those work force needs.”
Georgia State faculty members weren’t the only ones looking forward to the merger, as students were also glad for the partnership with the four-year university. While the Newton campus will remain a two-year school, credits are guaranteed for students transferring into Georgia State.
“It’s going to be a great merger,” Georgia State sophomore Henry Parsons said. “Not only can you stay on a four-year track, but you can maintain your credits and not worry about catching up.”
After the consolidation, Georgia State University now has six campuses, Atlanta, Newton, Dunwoody, Clarkston, Decatur and Alpharetta. Unveilings happened at three locations, including Newton, on Wednesday and two on Thursday. Classes for the Spring semester began on Monday.