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July 31, 1879: A Milestone for Georgia Military College

July 31, 1879: A Milestone for Georgia Military College

On this day in history, a bill to establish Middle Georgia Military and Agricultural College was approved by the Georgia House of Representatives. This was a momentous event in the life of what is now Georgia Military College.

Two developments in Education led to the eventual establishment of what would become known as Georgia Military College (GMC). There had been attempts by the legislature to establish colleges in Milledgeville and, at the same time, an effort to prevent the establishment of an agricultural college in Athens that would require grant of 270,000 acres of land and half a million dollars. Milledgeville could point to vacant state owned building worth over a million dollars.

At the opening session of 1878, Governor Alfred Colquitt addressed the General Assembly and supported the use of the buildings at Milledgeville for educational purposes and, on November 9, 1878, the representative from Fulton County introduced a bill to organize Middle Georgia Military and Agricultural College (MGM&AC) in the state owned buildings. On December 3rd, the House met to discuss it, but the day ended with a decision to table the bill.

The order of the day for July 11, 1879 was again a discussion of the bill to organize MGM&AC. On the 16th, the bill was read in the House for the third time and sent to Committee. When the bill again came up for discussion on the 24th of July, the issue of appropriations met with opposition and the discussion was further postponed until July 30th when it would be the Special Order of the Day

On July 30th discussion of the MGM&AC Bill began again and debate was heated. At the end of the day that Wednesday, the bill was brought up for a vote and defeated by 5 votes (77 to 72).

The next day, July 31st, supporters, unwilling to accept defeat made a motion in the House to reconsider the MGM&AC Bill. This time, the motion passed by a vote of 106 to 30, and was sent to the Senate.

On October 14th the bill was voted on and approved by the General Assembly and Middle Georgia Military and Agricultural College was established in the old Georgia Statehouse Buildings in Milledgeville. 

We are now 75 days away from celebrating GMC’s 136th Anniversary.