What’s new on metro Atlanta’s college campuses?

Several Atlanta-area colleges and universities will open their doors this week to begin the fall semester.

So what’s new on these campuses?

The big news is there should be more students in classrooms and dorms. A few schools allowed a limited number of students on campus last school year. This year, those schools are allowing more students in their classrooms, cafeterias and dorms, but they must receive a COVID-19 vaccination or have an approved exemption. Others are strongly encouraging, but not requiring, students, faculty and employees to be vaccinated.

Meanwhile, administrators at the colleges have been busy this summer fine-tuning new academic programs, preparing to open new facilities and hiring leaders in various departments.

Here’s a breakdown of some of these changes.

Agnes Scott College

The Decatur college for women is requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for its students, faculty and staff. The college will have an orientation for first-year students and sophomores since most of them spent the prior school year living and learning remotely.



Agnes Scott is in the process of starting a leadership lab for graduate students that will be optional. Classes start Aug. 23.

Atlanta Metropolitan State College

The college has a new Student Services & Success Building to allow students to apply for admissions, financial aid, get their student identification in the same building. The college has a new articulation agreement with Georgia Military College to make it easier for students who earn associate degrees to transfer to complete their bachelor’s degree. Classes start Aug. 16.

Atlanta Technical College

The college is offering free tuition this fall to students who met various guidelines and filled out federal financial aid paperwork by Aug. 6. Classes start Aug. 9.

Berry College

The college has a new 23,000-square-foot animal science building for teaching and research in animal health and production, including genetics, microbiology and physiology. Berry purchased a motel adjacent to Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum and will completely renovate and refurbish it as a new housing complex for upper-level students. Classes start Aug. 23.

Clark Atlanta University

The university is home to a new effort to train aspiring leaders of historically Black colleges and universities. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is the first honorary fellow. CAU received a $1.8 million federal grant it will use to provide training in behavioral health and education to master level Counseling and Social Work students. Clark Atlanta is requiring students, employees and faculty to receive a COVID-19 vaccination to be on campus, unless they receive an exemption. Classes start Aug. 18.

Clayton State University

Credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

There’s a new leader on campus. T. Ramon Stuart was hired this summer as its fifth president, replacing Tim Hynes who retired. Under a new agreement effective this semester, Southern Crescent Technical College students who successfully complete their Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies will be eligible to be admitted to Clayton State University and transfer considerable credits to earn a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies. The first full day of classes is Monday, Aug. 9.

Emory University

Humanities Hall, built in 1875 on its Oxford College campus, has been renovated and reopens this month with extensive technology for film and media studies, a film viewing room and faculty offices. Emory has a new building in downtown Decatur for nursing learning, innovation and community engagement. On its main campus, the Rollins School of Public Health has launched a certificate in climate and health. Emory’s law school is enhancing its curriculum with a new concentration in health law. Acclaimed legal scholar and social justice advocate Darren Lenard Hutchinson will start this fall as the inaugural John Lewis Chair for Civil Rights and Social Justice. Classes start Aug. 25.

Georgia Gwinnett College

The college has made renovations to its student housing. It’s also started a program for students to drop off items for financially-struggling classmates in need.



The college is doing its “March Through the Arch” for sophomores since the event was postponed last year due to the pandemic. Classes start Aug. 9.

Georgia Piedmont Technical College

The college is starting a Residential Building Design Technology (RBDT) associate degree program, which will be completely online to prepare students for careers in industries like architecture, building design, drafting and construction.

It also plans to begin construction this year on a regional transportation training center in Lithonia that will house programs in areas such as commercial truck driving, diesel technology and automotive technology. The center is scheduled to be open by 2024. Classes start Aug. 16.

Georgia State University

M. Brian Blake is taking over as the university’s president, replacing Mark Becker who stepped down after 12 years on the job. The university plans this fall to open The National Institute for Student Success, which will help other colleges and universities explore strategies to work with their students complete their coursework. Georgia State has replaced Kell Hall with greenspace it hopes will be its signature gathering space on its Atlanta campus. Classes start Aug. 23.

Gwinnett Technical College

The college plans to offer more online courses through a new program called eCampus. It’s offering new courses in Driverless and Driver Assist Systems for students interested in emerging technologies and environmentally-friendly vehicle options, a certificate in Amazon Web Services Cloud Solutions and an iOS App Development course. Classes start Aug. 9.

Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech has created a new department — Tech Dining — which will handle all dining services on campus. A new culinary team has developed new menus focusing on authentic international flavors and expanded vegan and vegetarian dishes.

It has restructured its student life and campus services areas into a single unit called Student Engagement and Well-being. Speaking of health and well-being activities, Georgia Tech created new spaces on campus for yoga classes, weight training and intramural sports. Classes begin Aug. 23.

Kennesaw State University

Howell Hall, the oldest residence hall on either campus, underwent a major renovation and will be reopening this fall. Kathy Schwaig, previously KSU’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, is the university’s interim president after Pamela Whitten became Indiana University’s president. KSU has launched a Office of Intellectual Property Development for researchers looking to advance their discoveries. Classes begin Aug. 16.

Morehouse College

The college has started a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in Sports, Culture, and Social Justice. Students from fellow Atlanta University Center Consortium member institutions Clark Atlanta University and Spelman College can cross-register to take Morehouse journalism courses as electives. Porsche Cars North America, Inc. has launched a new scholarship for business majors. The college is requiring students, employees and faculty to receive a COVID-19 vaccination to be on campus, unless they receive an exemption. Classes begin Aug. 18.

Morehouse School of Medicine

There are a few new faces on campus on its campus this academic year. In May, the school hired Dr. Joseph Adrian Tyndall as its executive vice president for health affairs and dean, reporting directly to its president, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice. Tyndall will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the academic programs, its strategic plan and Morehouse Healthcare. It also hired Dr. Walter Conwell as its chief diversity and inclusion officer. The school began a fundraising campaign to enroll and train more Black doctors. Classes start Aug. 23.

Morris Brown College

The college is expanding its academic programs as it continues to work on regaining its accreditation. Chick-fil-A recently donated $500,000 to the college to train students in a two-year leadership development program aimed at preparing them for a career in hospitality and organizational leadership. Atlanta-based Edible Arrangements announced a few weeks ago it is partnering with the college on its hospitality program. Construction is scheduled to start this fall on a campus hotel where students interested in becoming entrepreneurs will be trained will in hospitality courses. Classes start Aug. 16.

Oglethorpe University

The Schall Woodland Walk, named in honor of former President Larry Schall and First Lady Betty Londergan, has opened, improving accessibility and connectivity on campus.

Goodman Hall has re-opened, transformed into a new residence hall. The college has expanded music and performance space by renovating a portion of historic Lupton Hall. Classes start Aug. 30.

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

PCOM Georgia’s anatomy lab has undergone an extensive audiovisual upgrade to prepare for the new academic year. The college has a new dean and chief academic officer, Andrea Pax Mann. The fall term begins Aug. 16.

Savannah College of Art & Design

The school is developing a mixed-use development at 1470 Spring Street, totaling 384,000 square feet, that includes its largest main stage theater, a new bookstore classroom and studio space. SCAD decided to sell its Midtown theater SCADShow to Gainesville-based megachurch Free Chapel. All SCAD students will be able to use the resources that are part of SCADamp, which offers workshops, one-on-one coaching, and events to prepare students, alumni, and faculty to amplify their stories through verbal, visual and other forms of communication. The fall quarter begins Sept. 13.

Spelman College

The historically Black women’s college allowed a limited number of students on campus last semester. This fall, Spelman is requiring students, employees and faculty to receive a COVID-19 vaccination to be on campus, unless they receive an exemption. Artist, curator and museum professional Liz Andrews is the new executive director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. It’s starting an online teacher certification program for educators in grades 6-12 teaching chemistry, English, history, mathematics, physics or political science, or pre K-12 music or Spanish. Classes begin Aug. 18.

University of Georgia

Georgia’s flagship university has been doing a lot of construction and renovation on its Athens campus. The work includes renovations to its Journalism MFA film production studio, a $3.75 million project. They’ve made improvements to its Veterinary Medicine Anatomy Laboratory. UGA is planning several events specifically for sophomores since they had fewer in-person classes last year and didn’t get the traditional freshman year experience. Classes begin Aug. 18.

University of North Georgia

The university has renovated six buildings on the Gainesville campus, adding 165,000 square feet of instructional and institutional space. It adds more space for courses including journalism and media, nursing, visual arts, film and digital media and information technology. The project totaled $18.9 million. Classes begin Aug. 23.

University of West Georgia

UWG established the School of Communication, Film and Media on July 1. It also has a new home for its Richards College of Business. There are new leaders for innovation and research, the Richards College and a new vice provost. UWG Football will return to the gridiron on Sept. 2 after not playing against any other schools last year. Classes begin Aug. 11.