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Tuesday April 24th, 2018 8:21AM

University of North Georgia marks five years as a consolidated university

By AccessWDUN Staff

Monday, Jan. 8 is the fifth anniversary of the consolidation of North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College to become the University of North Georgia (UNG).

University leaders say there's been great progress for the university in those five years.

"The goals of consolidation were to increase educational opportunities and access while streamlining administrative services and avoiding duplication," UNG President Bonita Jacobs said in a press release. "We have achieved that and so much more. Today, as a strong regional university, UNG continues to excel in enrollment growth, degree attainment, and student success while focusing on economic development, research, international relationships, and leadership. As a result, UNG has received numerous recognitions and continues to expand opportunities for our students to be regionally and globally competitive."

Individually, each institution had been leaders in their sectors, according to campus officials. Combined, the scope of their degree programs – from certificates and associate degrees to doctoral-level programs, along with other elements of their mission, like the Corps of Cadets and multiple campuses, created a new and rare educational experience.

Kelly McFaden, associate professor and coordinator of Social Foundations of Education, serves as the chair of the UNG Faculty Senate and describes the university’s impact post-consolidation as profoundly significant. 

"UNG has evolved into a larger comprehensive university with more resources and opportunities in the USG system than either of its legacy institutions," McFaden said. "Faculty view this evolution, particularly the more diverse faculty and student body, as tremendously valuable."

Some university highlights from the past five years include:

  • Enrollment has grown from 14,221 in spring 2013 to 18,782 in fall 2017.
  • More than 13,400 degrees and academic certificates have been awarded.
  • 414 UNG cadets commissioned as Army officers and 130 earned Distinguished Military Graduate honors.
  • National accolades earned include Forbes' Best Colleges; U.S. News' Top 25 Public Universities in the South; Kiplinger's Best College Values.
  • UNG students have earned numerous highly competitive national scholarships including, 12 Fulbright Awards since 2013.
  • President Bonita Jacobs has awarded nearly $800,000 to support meaningful research and scholarly and creative activities.
  • New campuses in Blue Ridge and Cumming have expanded educational opportunities and access.
  • The university’s international educational partnerships have grown to more than 30 around the world.
  • Four UNG cadets have placed among the top 10 Army ROTC students in the nation.
  • The National Security Administration designated UNG as a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.
  • The softball team won a national championship in 2015.
  • The baseball team competed in a national championship tournament in 2017.
  • An annual economic impact of more than $625 million in northeast Georgia.

UNG is planning campus-based receptions Wednesday, Jan. 10, for faculty, staff and students to celebrate the many accomplishments that have been achieved since consolidation.

In fall 2017, UNG enrolled more than 18,000 students, setting new university records. The university has campuses in Blue Ridge, Cumming, Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee County. UNG is one of only six senior military colleges in the United States and its residential ROTC program on the Dahlonega Campus consistently ranks among the best in the country. UNG competes in the NCAA Division II Peach Belt Conference. Additionally, the university offers the community a variety of continuing education programs and cultural opportunities, including the award-winning Gainesville Theatre Alliance.

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