A Century of Success: the Junior College Years (1933-1957)
1933, August. West Georgia College began enrolling its first junior college students. Outside the city limits of Carrollton, the college had its own postal address, known as GENOLA. The name was derived from two women – Minna Ola Adamson, wife of Congressman W.C. Adamson of Carrollton and Eugenia Mandeville – daughter of Leroy Clifton Mandeville. Irvine Ingram was the postmaster of Genola.
1933, September 25. The first student body of West Georgia College assembled on the campus.
1933. The first Alumni Association was formed.
1933, October. The Debate Club was organized.
1933. A majority of the student body chose the name “Hill-billies” as the school emblem. “Within an hour” after news of this selection had been made public on campus, petitions circulated to change the name. Finally “Braves” was selected in keeping with the area’s Indian heritage and based on the fact that students had found many arrowheads when working in the campus fields.
1935, March 1. West Georgia College’s first intercollegiate debate took place at Americus, GA.
1937, January. President Ingram sent a proposal for an experimental rural education project to the Julius Rosenwald Fund in Chicago, IL. The fund was noted for its assistance to Negro education in the South. Over a period of ten years, the Fund invested almost $250,000 in West Georgia College. It also almost cost Ingram his job as then segregationist Governor Eugene Talmadge was a bitter enemy of the work of the Rosenwald Fund.
1937, Fall. Prize money was offered by various segments of the campus to choose a new and a distinctive alma mater. The award went to Aaron Buckalew for “West Georgia Alma Mater” for which he had composed both words and music. The new alma mater replaced the old in 1938.
1937, Fall. West Georgia College became one of seven schools in the state chosen as the site of a National Youth Administration (NYA) residential work center that, among other things, made wooden rifles for military drill purposes and became a national defense unit in 1940.
1940. A third year of preparation for those pursuing careers in education was added to West Georgia’s two-year program, financed by the Rosenwald Fund.
1946. Within a three-month period, Carroll County schools were highlighted in Look, Saturday Evening Post and The New York Times for their innovative efforts. In November of 1946, the Saturday Evening Post carried an article by Norman Rockwell, illustrated with the artist’s paintings and drawings made on location at Oak Mountain School, one of those cooperating with West Georgia College.
1947. The first homecoming was held.
1949, November. The first meeting of the “College in the Community” (later named “College in the Country”) was held. This was a program of adult education aimed at reaching many in the community who, because of the Depression, had been unable to continue their education. WGC attained world-wide prominence for this program in the 1950’s. This eventually became the Division of Continuing Education on campus.
1953. The “Studycade” was inaugurated – a classroom on wheels which took local citizens by chartered bus into distant communities in the US and Canada for comparison and exchange of ideas.