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History of Armstrong

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a devoted alumni, you have a variety of interesting ways to explore Armstrong’s history.  Scan the timeline below, explore digital yearbook archives, watch a historic video, or take an intimate walk back through the decades with narrative by Dr. Janet Stone, professor emeritus and author of Armstrong’s history: From the Mansion to the University.

Armstrong Through the Years


1935—Armstrong Junior College is founded by city fathers and opens its doors with 175 students. Its home in the historic Armstrong House was a gift to the city from the family of George F. Armstrong.

1937—Actor Stacy Keach forms the university playhouse, forerunner to the Masquers.


1940—Armstrong receives its first accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).


1959—Armstrong College of Savannah becomes a two-year unit of the University System of Georgia (USG).


1962—The Mills B. Lane Foundation and Donald Livingston donate a new campus site of 250 acres on the south side of Savannah.

1964—The Board of Regents confers four-year status on Armstrong State College.

1966—The college moves to its new (and current) site. Eight original buildings were constructed, now considered the campus Quad.

1968—Armstrong State College is accredited as a senior institution by the SACS and awards its first baccalaureate degrees.


1971—The Board of Regents authorizes Armstrong and Savannah State to offer joint graduate programs leading to the M.B.A. and the M.S. in education.

1978—The Board of Regents designates Armstrong State College as a Regional Health Professions Education Center.


1985—Armstrong celebrates its fiftieth anniversary on May 27.


1995—In its sixtieth year, Armstrong launches its inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame, as well as celebrating the dedication of the new Armstrong Sports Center.

1996—The institution gains state university status and a new name: Armstrong Atlantic State University.

1997—University Hall, an 89,000 square-foot classroom building, is dedicated.

1998—Armstrong collaborates with other university system institutions to create the Liberty Center, to offer degree programs in Liberty County. The College of Education is named Best in the State by the Georgia Association of Teacher Educators.

1999—The Georgia Tech Regional Engineering Program is established on the Armstrong campus.


2002—As enrollment tops 6,000, the new 126,056 square-foot Science Center opens and the university's first student residential community is dedicated.

2003—The Hispanic Outreach and Leadership at Armstrong Atlantic program (HOLA) is established under a generous grant from the Goizueta Foundation.

2004—Armstrong Educational Properties, Inc. purchases 18 acres of land adjacent to the campus for development as academic support space, a Professional and Continuing Education Center, and student residences.

2006—Armstrong earns The Peach Belt Conference’s inaugural Presidents' Academic Award.

2008-09—Both the men's and women's tennis teams win the NCAA Division II national championships for two consecutive years.

2009—Armstrong gains approval to offer a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.


2010—Armstrong celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary, along with dedication of the expansive new Student Union. The opening of Windward Commons, the new freshman residence hall, brings record numbers of students living on campus.

2011—Armstrong’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy is ranked in the top third in the nation by US News and World Report.  Armstrong earns a $600,000 grant from Lumina Foundation for Education, and serves as the lead in developing regional partnerships to promote Latino student enrollment in college.

2012—Armstrong is named a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine and opens the campus Military Outreach Center. A new partnership with Georgia Southern University allows students to earn an associate degree at Armstrong and complete a bachelor’s in engineering at Georgia Southern.

2013—In partnership with the City of Hinesville, the university gains state approval to build an expanded Armstrong Liberty Center facility in downtown Hinesville, expected to welcome more students by 2016. The College of Health Professions earns $1.5 million grant to implement an interprofessional care model at St. Mary’s Health Center over three years, allowing students to provide care to the underserved.

2014—The USG Board of Regents votes to allow the university to streamline its name and become Armstrong State University, effective July 1. Groundbreaking for the Armstrong Liberty Center takes place.

2015—A landmark year, Armstrong rang in 80 years and conferred degrees on nearly 800 students, making the graduating class of 2015 the largest in the history of the university. In addition, the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recognized Armstrong as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education and The Education Trust, a Washington, D.C. organization that shapes and influences national and state policy, named Armstrong a top performing school for underrepresented minority students.

2016—The new Armstrong Liberty Center, a 21,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility opened its doors to Liberty County’s growing student population with special services for military affiliates and dual-enrollment options for local high school students. Military Times honored Armstrong, ranking the institution 4th in the nation among four-year schools on its Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 list and Military Spouse named the university a Top 100 Military Spouse Friendly School.

Armstrong Presidents

Ernest A. Lowe
President, 1935 – 1941

J. Thomas Askew
President, 1941 – 1943

Foreman M. Hawes
President, 1943 – 1964

Henry L. Ashmore
President, 1964 – 1982

Robert A. Burnett
Interim President, 1982 – 1984
President, 1984 – 1999

Frank A. Butler
Interim President, 1999 – 2000

Thomas Z. Jones
President, 2000 – 2009

Linda M. Bleicken
President, 2009 – Present Day

Armstrong's 75th Anniversary Video

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