The history of Columbus State University is closely intertwined with that of Columbus. The idea for a junior college was first proposed by the Columbus Chamber of Commerce in 1949. Efforts by local citizens kept the idea alive by raising money to purchase the college's current site and developing plans for its administration. In 1958 when the law provided for the establishment of junior colleges in Georgia, Columbus State University opened at the renovated Shannon Hosiery Mill on Talbotton Road with 15 faculty members and nearly 300 students.
A move to our present location in 1963 ushered in a period of rapid expansion. In 1965 the Regents approved the college's application to become a four-year institution, and the first four-year class graduated in 1970. Master and specialist degrees were soon added. Community support continued and supplemented state funding to provide modern facilities and state-of-the-art equipment. The college now offers more than 70 programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Several of our academic programs have achieved national recognition.
Also, national attention is frequently focused on our athletic program. In NCAA Division II competition, our teams often achieve national ranking. Our baseball team has participated in the College World Series, and our golf team has won the national championship five times. Many of our athletes are named All-Americans, and last year, three of our golfers were named All-American Scholar Athletes, a testament to the idea that our athletes are scholars first.
As the only four-year institution in the governor's 17-county Economic Region 5, the university provides cultural enrichment, educational opportunities, and economic development assistance to the citizens, businesses, and industries located in the region. This regional perspective offers numerous opportunities for our students to become involved in research and community projects. It also has resulted in several off-campus sites being established to better serve our students.