UNG's Untold History
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UNG's Untold History

Ten Things To Know About UNG's Past

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UNG's Untold History
NGC Yearbook 1936

The University of North Georgia is known for many present things such as being the Military College of Georgia; however, our past has a great amount of history that has been left untold. Here are the 10 things in UNG history that nees some recognition, but these ten things are only a mere fraction of the great history of UNG.

1. UNG is the first college in Georgia to enroll women

Though the University of Georgia is older than UNG, our college was the first one in the state of Georgia to enroll women and give a woman a diploma. The college opened its doors in 1873 enrolling only 177 students. The first president of NGAC was President David W. Lewis and served the college from 1873 to 1885. Lewis Hall is not named after President Lewis, but is named after his daughter, Willie Lewis who was the first woman to graduate from the university. In fact, she was part of the first ever graduation class of 1879. At the time, the degree "Bachelor's" was only given to men. Chancellor Patrick Mell, who was reluctant at first to award Willie's degree came to the conclusion that some men were in fact not technically bachelor's.

2. Young Hall was given to the college thanks to the Public Works Act

In 1939, the Stewart Library (which today is known as Young Hall) was built using the Public Works Act. During this time, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed for the creation of the PWA to help employee workless people. The Stewart Library was built on the site where the once Bostwick Hall stood which burned down in 1919. The building cost $30,000 and was only the front portion of the present day Young Hall. The library had space for 15,000 books and was named after the NGC President Joseph Stewart. Today, the Stewart Center is honorably named after this same president. There is a plaque on the front right of the building that commemorates this building.

3. Over the course of UNG's history, the college has seen 9 different variations of the US Flag and has never ceased at honoring them.

UNG has a great respect for our nation's flag. Over the course of our school's history, we have had nine different US Flags and each one was respected with equal reverence. Our college has a long tradition of Retreat/ To the Colors which is held at 1700 on a normal school day.

4. Though our original name was North Georgia Agricultural College, we never actually had an agriculture department

Strangely, this is true. Our school was not as strong agriculturally as Franklin College aka University of Georgia. It was not util 1902 that a small agriculture was formed. Our college began more as a liberal arts school focusing on foreign languages, English, natural science and philosophy. In 1929 we removed our "Agriculture" part to our name.

5. Our Student Center used to have bowling alley

The famous Hoag Center was built in the 1960s. After I did some research in the school's archives, I found a strange picture in the yearbook featuring the newly built Student Center. There was a picture of a student bowling. Yep you heard it here. The Hoag Center used to have a bowling alley. Now we just need to figure out if Card Services or Einstein's ruined all the fun. Sadly, the bowling alley is history.

6. The Gold Leaf of Price Memorial was not added till the 1970s and it is the same gold which the Georgia Capital has.

It is hard to think that the famous Price Memorial's golden spire used to look like an ordinary black roof. Yep, this is true! Dahlonega is home to the largest gold rush on the eastern side of the US. In fact, our state capital was leafed in our Dahlonega gold in the 1950s. This was such a great inspiration that the city looked towards adding gold to one of our buildings. They could think of no fitting building than Price Memorial. In the 1970s, the spire of Price Memorial was turned gold.

7. We're home to the oldest marching band in Georgia: The Golden Eagle Band.

The band program at the college started ever since the college opened in 1873. The marching band served as a representation of the Corps of Cadets program. The marching band has had numerous names often times resembling something with the college such as the NGAC Band, the NGC Band, the Boar's Head Brigade Band, or even the Tiger Band (named after the mascot for the Honor Company at the time). It was not until 1972 that the ceremonial band got its own original title of the Golden Eagle Band. The band predates the UGA Redcoats by 32 years. Though both of these bands were formed as a military band for their ROTC departments, only the Golden Eagle Band continues this long tradition. Today, the Golden Eagle Band continues to serve the school as a military band representing the Boar's Head Brigade.

8. Don't forget the Dixie Chicks

Long ago, our school had a military group called the Dixie Chicks. They were like cheerleaders for the Corps of Cadets and did parades. Though I personally don't see what they did, they were definitely a cool addition to our school. I do not think the Office of the Commandant would like to revisit that group. The funny part is when the Sweetheart Ball came along, the Dixie Chicks was the only group with a man as the sweetheart.

9. UNG was established as a branch of UGA

Our origin story comes from a Colonel William Pierce Price who persuaded the college regents to establish a branch of UGA's newly formed Georgia College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts in Dahlonega. His efforts were valiant as the college was formed in the old US Mint building that used to reside where Price Memorial stands now.

10. Saint Bernards

When the college was renamed North Georgia College and State University in 1996, there was a new mascot on campus and it was the Saint Bernard. The Saint Bernard was the only mascot that made sense in the North Georgia Mountains. One could be fooled into believing we were in the Alps where the Saint Bernards dominated as rescuing animals for those who needed help. The campus would commonly see a Saint Bernard roaming the campus and their owner not far behind. Nowadays, our campus can't recall the last time we saw a Nighthawk let alone even know what one looks like. Well, there is Nigel the Nighthawk, but I swear it looks more like a blue jay if anything. Sorry Nigel.


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