The Long Double Decade, 1970s and '80s
Campus life in the 1970s covered a wide range of styles and sizes: long hair, short skirts, plaid jackets, pantsuits and a brief streak of bare bodies. Yes, this was the age of the "streakers," and AASU was not immune to their appearances.
A long-legged Dean named Propst arrived, and graduation acquired a formal mace miraculously wrought from a Builderama baluster and affectionately known as "the bedpost."
Graduates processed in caps and gowns to the front of the library to receive their degrees.
The "Greeks" brought a rush of activities to campus- a sense of family, university and a culture that connected Armstrong to the rest of the nation. Greek Week was an annual competition amongst the Greeks- the chariot race was one of the highlights of the event!
Burt Reynolds snipped the ribbon to open the new Fine Arts Auditorium and President Ashmore was king for a day.
At the center of the bare and unadorned campus, Lake Ashmore was subject to pranksters and soapsuds.
Along with the four-year programs in Arts and Sciences, white caps appeared on campus as student nurses and dental hygiene students brought the college into the field of health professions.
Teacher education and business administration offered other professional career paths.
Basketball became a campus highlight, with an aggressive coach in eye-catching suits and teams of talented athletes, black and white. As the team's success grew, so did the student body's union and team spirit on campus became that of a larger university. The gym was packed with Pirate fans cheering on their classmates and representing Armstrong's growth and diversity.
African American students established their presence in all areas of campus life.
But desegregation issues cut sharply into the University System and into the life of both Armstrong and Savannah State.
In 1979, the Board of Regents responded to those issues with a program swap that sent Armstrong's Business Administration program to Savannah State and brought Savannah State's Teacher Education program to Armstrong. The possibility of merger lingered throughout the 1980s.
The 1980s found Bob Burnett as the new president of Armstrong. There was a flurry of discussion about becoming an engineering school, and student housing finally arrived in 1986. In March 1988, the campus began to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with something other than winter exams as Frank Clancy introduced his annual St. Patrick's Day lectures, which brought out the Irish in everyone—in some more than others!
New graduate programs developed in health professions, history, and criminal justice—and then slipped briefly under an affiliated relationship with Georgia Southern University. But Armstrong's own future as a university lay just ahead in the next decade, bringing the graduate programs back home in time to prepare for the new millennium.
Read on to the next years in history, Making Old Things New, 1990-2010.