History of the University

The Fort Valley State College has as part of its heritage the educational contributions of the Fort Valley Normal and Industrial Institute, and the State Teachers and Agricultural College at Forsyth.

  • Fort Valley State College was established in 1895 as the Fort Valley High and Industrial School. In 1902, William Merida Hubbard founded the State Teachers and Agricultural College in Forsyth that, in 1939, merged with the Fort Valley School to become Fort Valley State College. It became Fort Valley State University in June 1996.
  • The only 1890 land-grant school in Georgia, Fort Valley State University is a comprehensive institution providing an educational experience of exceptional quality. The University is located in the town of Fort Valley in Peach County, the original site of the nation’s peach industry. Its 1,365 acre campus is the second largest (in acreage) public university in the state.
  • The University’s almost 4,000 students represent 130 of Georgia’s 159 counties, more than 30 states and about 10 countries. Ninety-four percent of the student body is of African descent. The average age is 24 for undergraduates and 33 for graduate students. About half of the students live on campus, and 85 percent attend college fulltime.
  • The University offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 50 majors – education, business administration, biology, criminal justice and agriculture are particularly popular – as well as master’s degrees in Public Health, Animal Science, Biotechnology, Mental Health Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Case Management, Middle Grades Education, Early Childhood/Special Education, School Counselor Education, and the Specialist in School Counselor Education. In an effort to accommodate our graduate and non-traditional students, external degree program courses are also offered at the off-campus site in Warner Robins. Online bachelor’s degree programs include English: Technical and Professional Writing, Political Science, Psychology and Criminal Justice. The master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and Case Management also is available online.
  • Fort Valley State’s Cooperative Developmental Energy Program (CDEP) is the only one of its kind in the nation, preparing students for energy-industry careers in science and geology.
  • Outreach services include Fort Valley’s Cooperative Extension Program, where extension specialists operate in 42 counties and the C. W. Pettigrew Farm and Community Life Center, which hosts more than 500 courses and events for 51,000 patrons each year. Continuing Education courses also are available in Warner Robins and Fort Valley.

Graduate students have many opportunities for extracurricular involvement at the University, including honor societies such as Pi Gamma Mu (Social Sciences), the marching band, concert choir, Baptist Student Union Choir and cheerleading. There are more than 70 clubs, sororities, fraternities and social organizations on campus. Athletic opportunities include intramural sports and intercollegiate men’s and women’s track and basketball teams. The championship football team, a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, has produced many notable professional sports figures.

Significant events in the history of the University follow:

1895 – 1920

1895 – The Fort Valley High and Industrial School was chartered in 1895.

1902 – The State Teachers and Agricultural College of Forsyth was founded by

William Merida Hubbard.

1902 –Mr. John W. Davison, who led the chartering of the Fort Valley High and

Industrial School, was elected its first principal.

1903 – Davison resigned as principal of the Fort Valley High and Industrial School.

1904 – Henry Alexander Hunt became the school’s second principal.

1904 – Miss Anna Jeanes donated $5,000 to erect a frame school building and a shop; Jeanes Hall was named in her honor.

1908 – Mr. Collis P. Huntington, the great railroad financier, contributed $25,000

for a girls’ dormitory. Huntington Hall was named in his honor.

1916 – Jeanes Hall was remodeled and Royal C. Peabody provided funds for the

construction of the Trades Building that bears his name.

1919 – The institution became affiliated with the American Church Institute of the

Protestant Episcopal Church.

1921 – 1940

1925 – The Carnegie Foundation provided funds for the erection of the Carnegie Library.

1929 – The Academic Building was erected with funds contributed by the General

Education Board and friends.

1930 – Ohio Hall was erected with funds contributed by the Episcopal Church of

the State of Ohio.

1931 – Henry Alexander Hunt was awarded the Springarn Medal. 1932 – Samuel Henry

Bishop donated funds for the erection of the dining hall.

1934 – The original college infirmary was erected and dedicated to. Florence Hunt.

1937 – The Robert W. Patton Home Economics Building erected. 1938 – Henry

Alexander Hunt died on October 1.

1939 – Negotiations begun by Hunt to transfer the school to state control and operation

were consummated; the work formerly carried on at the State Teachers and

Agricultural College was consolidated with the work at Fort Valley to form the

Fort Valley State College.

1939 – Dr. Horace Mann Bond was appointed first President of Fort Valley State College.

1939 –  Fort Valley State College’s First College Catalog.

1941 – 1960

1940 – Dr. W. E. B. DuBois delivered the first Founder’s Day address on October 10; it

was entitled “The Significance of Henry Hunt.”

1941 – Cooperative houses were erected and named in honor of William Merida Hubbard.

1945 – Dr. Horace Mann Bond resigned from the presidency.

1945 – Dr. Cornelius V. Troup was appointed as the second President.

1946 – The Veterans Unit was constructed.

1947 – The Board of Regents adopted a resolution moving the Land-Grant designation

from Savannah State College and designating the Fort Valley State College as

the 1890 Land-Grant College for Negroes in Georgia.

1948 – John W. Davison Hall was dedicated.

1949 – The Georgia General Assembly, in response to the Regents’ resolution, officially

designated The Fort Valley State College as the Land-Grant College for Negroes in Georgia.

1952 – FVSU student Catherine Hardy won a gold medal as a member of the winning

400-meter women’s relay team at the Olympic Games at Helsinki, Finland.

1952 – The Leroy Bywaters Building, formerly the H.A. Hunt Library, was dedicated.

1952 – The Henry Alexander Hunt Memorial Library was dedicated on April 29.

1953 – The Home Management House for Home Economics, Maintenance Warehouse for

the Buildings and Grounds Department, General Purpose Barn, Farm Equipment

Shed, and Deep Well for the Division of Agriculture were made available for college use.

1954 – The Alva Tabor Agriculture Building opened for occupancy on October 10

1957 – The William M. Hubbard Education Building was dedicated.

1957 – Football Stadium constructed.

1957 – The College received full membership in the Southern Association of Colleges

and Schools, and was among the first of the HBCUs to be admitted.

1957 – The Graduate Division was begun in the Fall.

1959 – The George N. Woodward Health and Physical Education Building was dedicated on December 11.

1961 – 1970

1963 – The Isaac Miller Science Building dedicated on November 24.

1964 – The Sophia Moore Dormitory was dedicated on October 10. 1965 – The Anthony

  1. Watson Dormitory dedicated November 21.

1966 – The Henrietta Walden Myers Home Economics Building was completed.

1966 – William Madison Boyd Hall opened for occupancy.

1966 – Dr. C. V. Troup retired as President on June 20.

1966 – Dr. W. W. E. Blanchet was appointed as the third President.

1967 – The Lottie M. Lyons Student Union Building opened.

1968 – The Agricultural Mechanics Building opened for occupancy.

1971 – 1980

1971- The College became accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of

Teacher Education (NCATE).

1972 – The Food Service Center was erected.

1972 – FVSC’s first regionally televised football game appeared on ABC Television

(FVSC vs. Fisk University at the Wildcat Stadium).

1973 – Dr. W. W. E. Blanchet retired as President; received Emeritus status.

1973 – Dr. C. W. Pettigrew was appointed fourth President.

1974 – First acquisition of property on State College Drive.

1975 – The annex to Sophia Moore Hall was completed.

1975 – The new Florence Hunt Infirmary opened for occupancy.

1976 – The new Henry Alexander Hunt Memorial Library opened for occupancy.

1976 – The Horace Mann Bond classroom building dedicated.

1978 – The Animal Health Technology Building completed and opened for occupancy.

1978 – The College became accredited by the Engineering Council for Professional

Development/Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology


1979 – The Plant Operations and Maintenance Building was named the Albert T. Wilson-Timothy Roberts Building.

1979 – The Agricultural Mechanics Building named for Dr. Cozy L. Ellison.

1979 – The Leroy Bywaters Business Building opened for occupancy.

1979 – The College became accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Medicine.

1981 – 1990

1982 – Dr. Walter W. Sullivan was appointed Acting President and continued to serve as Dean of Academic Affairs.

1982 – The C. W. Pettigrew Endowment Fund was initiated.

1983 – Dr. Luther Burse was appointed fifth President on October 1.

1986 – Fort Valley State College received approval to offer the Bachelor of Science Degree in Veterinary Science.

1986 – The Academic Honors Program was initiated.

1987 – The C. W. Pettigrew Farm and Community Life Center was dedicated.

1987 – The Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center, under the

auspices of the Agricultural Research Station, became fully operational.

1988 – Dr. Melvin E. Walker, Jr. was appointed Acting President for Fort Valley State College.

1990 – Dr. Oscar L. Prater was appointed as the sixth President on August 9.

1991 – 2000

1994 – The Centennial Inauguration and Founders’ Day Celebration was held on November 3.

1995 – The Computer Technology Mathematics (CTM) Building was opened for occupancy on August 18.

1995 – FVSC was changed from a Level III to a Level IV School by Southern

Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

1996 – Fort Valley State College was designated by the University System of Georgia as

Fort Valley State University, a State and Land-Grant University on June 12.

1996 – Opening Convocation for displaying the new university seal and for the new

access road which was named University Boulevard, October 1.

1998 – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Meat Technology Center, College of

Agriculture, Home Economics and Allied Programs, April 21. 18

2001 – 2010

2001 – Dr. Kofi Lomotey was appointed as the seventh President, October 15. 2001 –

The ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the Evans Building.

2002 – The African World Studies Institute was established. 2002 – Alma Bass donated

money to repair the historic clock tower at Founders Hall.

2002 – The first annual African World Film Festival was held. 2002 – The Lady Wildcats

capture the SIAC title for the third year. First time in SIAC History.

2002 – The John W. Davison Lecture Series was initiated.

2003 – The ribbon cutting ceremony for Fort Valley State University in Warner Robins

was held on October 26.

2003 – Fort Valley State University received approval to offer a dual degree program in

Food and Nutrition/Hotel Administration.

2003 – The American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) Online Weather Studies Diversity

Program: WeatherNet Program was established.

2004 – Fort Valley State University received the 2004 Trumpet Award for Higher

Education Institution of the Year.

2004 – Fort Valley State University received approval to offer degrees in Liberal Studies

and African World Studies.

2005 – Dr. William Harris was appointed as interim President after Dr. Lomotoy’s resignation.

2005 – The ribbon cutting for the Educational Outreach Building at the SunBelt Expo in

Moultrie, Georgia was held October 18, 2005.

2006 – Dr. Larry Rivers was appointed as the eighth President, February 8th and took

office on March 14, 2006.

2006- The ribbon cutting ceremony for the Fort Valley State University New Addition to

the Warner Robins Center was held on May 31, 2006.

2007 – The Wildcat Commons, Phase I and II, provided apartment-style dormitories.

2008 – Construction began on a new Wildcat Stadium and student amenities building

2008 – Construction began on The Wildcat Commons, Phase III

2008 – The Hendricks House, off campus, was remodeled to become the off campus

Agricultural Technology Conference Center

2008 – Construction began on a new academic building for the sciences

2009 – FVSU earned the #21 spot among historically black colleges and universities

(HBCUs) in the 2010 edition of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News Media Group.

2009 – Ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, May 1 to celebrate the completion and grand

opening of the Wildcat Commons (Phase III), $16-million, 126,430 square-foot,

state-of-the-art facility that offered 378 additional beds for students beginning the summer session.

2009 – Enrollment increased from 2,171 in fall 2006 to 3,621, fall 2009.

2009 – A new $9 million stadium opened in August to kick off the Wildcat football season.

2009 – The Board of Regents approved College of Education programs in Agriculture

Education 6-12, Special Education General Curriculum/Early Childhood

Education P-5, Middle Grades Education 4-8 and School Counselor Education.

2009 – FVSU initiated the webcasting of animal surgeries on the university website.

2009 – Dedication of Henry Alexander Hunt and Florence Johnson Hunt Memorial Statues at Wildcat Commons.

2009 – Groundbreaking ceremony of the SAFE – State Animal Facility for Emergencies-

initially funded with $750,000 from the state of Georgia; the facility is expected

to house large and small animals during natural and manmade disasters.

2009 – Master of Science in Biotechnology approved by the Board of Regents.

2010 – Seventy-four commemorative bricks at Blossoms in the Valley – The Betty H. Rivers Camellia Garden.

2010 – The College of Agriculture, Home Economics and Allied Programs was renamed

The College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology.

2010- $42,077 to improve teacher quality in the state was awarded to Fort Valley State

University’s College of Education and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences.

2010 – FVSU had the highest level of spring enrollment ever at 3783.

2010 – The Fort Valley State University exhibition at the Tubman African American

Museum was showcased from April 16-July 3 allowing visitors to peer into the

university’s history. The five-part show highlighted FVSU’s evolution from a

small industrial school to a sprawling land-grant state university.

2010 – A Ribbon cutting ceremony held on August 25 signaled the official opening of the

Academic Classroom and Laboratory Building (ACL).

2010 – The Student Amenities Building celebrated its official grand-opening during a

ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 11. The 28,000 square foot facility houses two new restaurants – Quizno’s Subs and the first Chick-fil- A restaurant on a Georgia HBCU campus.

2010- Fort Valley State University’s enrollment increased to the largest number in the

institution’s 115 year history—3,843 students.

2010- Fort Valley State University earned the 25th spot among best black colleges in the

2011 edition of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News Media Group.

2010- Georgia Trend magazine named Dr. Larry E. Rivers to its list of the Top 25 Leaders in Georgia.

2010- The U. S. Department of Transportation funded $1.5 million for continuation of the

streetscape and beautification initiative on the main thoroughfare leading to the FVSU campus. A request for funding was submitted by the Middle Georgia Regional Commission (MGRC), under USDOT’s TIGER II program and approved.

2010- Master of Arts in Teaching approved by the Board of Regents.

2011 – Present

2011- Fort Valley State University celebrated 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation by

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

2011- Fort Valley State University was the only 1890 land-grant institution selected to

participate in the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Competitive Grants program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, receiving nearly $1 million as a first-time recipient from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture agency to research energy crops for the next five years

2011- A second group of FVSU students embarked on a journey to China for an

educational, cultural, and enriching experience.

2011- A donation of $1.5 million was presented on behalf of President Obama, the U.S.

Department of Defense and Congressman Sanford Bishop to benefit STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) students who are CDEP participants. It was the highest amount awarded to the CDEP program in 28 years.

2011- The Georgia Board of Regents featured artwork of Fort Valley State University

students. Still portraits, abstracts and paintings by commercial design students

took center stage at the BOR Black History Month Exhibit, which started Feb. 11 and ended March 17.

2011- The Banks-Pierro-Rutland-Bellamy Colloquium celebrated its 31st anniversary.

2011- In five years, Dr. Judy Carter and staff won reactivation of the College of

Education’s teacher educator program by the National Council for Accreditation

of Teacher Education (NCATE).

2011- The first issue of the Fort Valley State University Research Report provided a

glimpse of the compelling research conducted and presented by faculty and

administrators at conferences, workshops and symposiums throughout the world.

Stories featured investigate E.coli’s effect on the nation’s food supply, the use of

DNA evidence in exonerating felons and the medicinal uses of plants.

2011- The Veterinary Technology program received a State Animal Facility for

Emergencies (SAFE) Center award of a $5,000 that will be used to fill FVSU’s

animal refuge with supplies.

2011- Dr. Fred van Hartesveldt, chair of the Department of History, Geography, Political

Science and Criminal Justice, received approval from the Board of Regents to offer a master’s degree program in History. The program will offer three concentration tracks: General History (available for public school teachers), African-American History and Military History. The program offers a thesis and a non-thesis option for applicants.

2012- Huntington Hall renovations were completed. Housed there are the Office of the

President and the Office of External Affairs.

2012- Renovation of Miller Hall was completed.

2013 – Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith was appointed the Ninth President and took office on July 22, 2013.

2015 – Dr. Ivelaw Griffith resigned as President.

2015 – Dr. Jessica Bailey was appointed Interim President of Fort Valley State University.