Downtown Atlanta is the Southeast’s governmental, financial and legal center; it’s also the site of the city’s urban university, Georgia State University. Founded in 1913, the school serves about 30,000 students and occupies 34 acres of downtown Atlanta real estate, including 40 buildings.
Long seen as a commuter school, Georgia State University previously offered no on-campus or university-owned housing. In 2007, Georgia State opened the University Commons, a $165 million complex housing almost 2,000 students, occupying an entire city block; the school now offers two additional residential complexes, University Lofts and Freshmen Hall.
Georgia State University, or GSU, is a major research university, boasting “the entire city is our laboratory.” It is one of the University System of Georgia’s four research universities, and the second- largest of the 35 schools in the University System of Georgia. GSU offers 52 degrees in 250 fields of study at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels.
The university has undergone massive growth, and by 2015 will need approximately one million additional square feet of academic space for its expected enrollment of 36,000 full-time students. The university is hemmed in by an interstate to the east, the historic Fairlie-Poplar business district to the west and a government district to the south, so new growth will take place in the area immediately north, the Sweet Auburn district.
New projects include multi-million dollar Science Park with laboratories and classrooms recently opened next to the Atlanta’s Sports Arena, and a new business school set to open in 2015.
Notable alumni include late US Senator Paul Coverdell, lead singer of Alice in Chains William DuVall, filmmaker Vasco Nunes, musician Ludacris, late White House Press Secretary Jody Powell and actress Julia Roberts.