An important part of history for UWG is the pioneers that made the school what it is today.
In 1906, there was a decision to create the Fourth District Agricultural and Mechanical School. This decision was in response to there needing to be a program for rural youth. The current location of the college was once known as the Bonner plantation. This is where the foundation for the school was built.
Two founders of the school were John H. Melson and his wife Penelope. Penelope Melson was noted as being the founder of the library that is on campus currently. After Melson finished serving in 1920, Irvine S. Ingram took over and became the principal of the Fourth Agricultural and Mechanical School.
Ingram extended the academics for the college as well as developed the summer school program for students. In 1933, the name of the college was changed to West Georgia College. Once the name of the college changed, it was officially changed to a two-year institution. Later in 1960, William H. Row became the president of the college. Sadly, after Row became president, he suffered a heart attack and passed. This left Ingram having to fill the position until James E. Boyd was appointed. While these men are important in the molding of UWG, Boyd single handedly takes the top position of helping the school grow.
Once Boyd became president he saw to it that West Georgia College become a 4-year institution in 1957. He is also noted as obtaining a grant to fund the Rosenwald Foundation which expanded the college’s programs and facilities on campus. He also aided in helping in getting a program built for foreign students. Boyd is most famously known for integrating the campus without a court order.
The first African American to attend West Georgia College was Lillian Williams. She received two degrees in education. She earned the college’s highest honor called the Founders Award in 1985. This triumph is due to the fact that Boyd wanted everyone to have an opportunity to get a degree at the college. After this milestone, Robert J. Kennedy was invited to the college in dedication to the Kennedy Chapel. The Kennedy Chapel was dedicated to the late president John F. Kennedy. Boyd made several changes and additions to the college that in the end are benefiting students today.
Several buildings were built as well as numerous residence halls. Sororities and Fraternities were eventually allowed to be on campus. There have been many pioneers that have governed the college throughout the years but as a collective, they helped make UWG the college it is today. Through the years there have been many changes made to the University Of West Georgia. One of the things that still stands the test of time is the goal to provide students with a chance to become bigger than what they dream of.