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GMC News

Presentation traces history of Georgia Military College

By Payton Towns III – The Union-Recorder

What do Rep. Carl Vinson, actor Oliver Hardy, former Gov. George Busbee, former Milledgeville Mayor Johnny Grant and Charles Holmes Herty, the first football coach at the University of Georgia, all have in common?

They attended Georgia Military College.

These and other historic facts about GMC were put together in a presentation by Col. Jane Simpson, library director at the Sibley-Cone Library at GMC.

\”Part of this documentary talks about the students who have been at GMC during its 125 years,\” she said. \”A lot of the community leaders (in Milledgeville) have gone through GMC.\”

It takes approximately 25 minutes for people to see the presentation, which covers the beginning of the school in 1879.

\”This school year is the 125th anniversary of Georgia Military College,\” Simpson said. \”This is something I\’ve always been interested in, and have worked on it for a long time.\”

Simpson updated the presentation for alumni weekend last October where it was presented a couple of times.

\”The documentary focuses more on the early years of GMC,\” Simpson said. \”A lot of the people who are still here, and those coming to alumni weekend, know about the modern events that are going on at GMC. A lot of them are not aware of the early history of the school. So I put together a PowerPoint program that has pictures from our early history. I do talk about the future and where we are heading, but the concentration (of the program) is about where we came from. I really think if you don\’t know where you came from you really don\’t know where you are going. I put it together with that in mind. … The more I learned about GMC, the more interested I was in it.\”

The program shows early GMC documents and photos, including buildings no longer on campus and the first graduating class.

According to Simpson, the school was initially called Middle Georgia Military and Agriculture College.

\”On Oct. 22, 1879, the local board of trustees took over the Old Capitol Building and started to establish the college,\” Simpson said. \”The first class was held on Jan. 19, 1880. On the first day of class, they had nine faculty members and 219 students. Evidently, they were very successful, because by the middle of February they had 321 students who were from 20 counties and four states.\”

The name was changed to GMC in 1900. Simpson has shown the presentation to many groups in the middle Georgia area.

\”I have enjoyed doing this for groups,\” she said. \”If anyone is interested, they can call and ask me. I\’m willing to do it for other groups based on my time.\”

Anyone with information or interesting facts about GMC is asked to call Simpson. If anyone wants to see the presentation, they can call Simpson to set up a time at (478) 445-2718.

Payton Towns III can be reached at (478) 453-1456 or by e-mail at newsroom@unionrecorder.com