One of the thirty-six colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia, the college is governed by the policies of the Board of Regents. From 1972 until 2008 it was also one of four institutions in the University System of Georgia that included a division administered by the Technical College System of Georgia. In 2008 the college began the transition from a two-year to afour-year institution, changing its name from Coastal Georgia Community College to the College of Coastal Georgia and transferring its technical division to other institutions. During fall semester 2008, approximately 3,000 students attended the college.
Founded as Brunswick College in 1961 by the Board of Regents, the college was the first of a new series of commuter junior colleges authorized by the state legislature in 1958. Its name was changed in 1965 to Brunswick Junior College. The Brunswick City Commission and the Glynn County Commission provided more than half of approximately 100 acres of land, and the county voters approved a $1 million bond issue requested through the Glynn County Board of Education for construction of the physical plant. The first classes met in September 1964. The institution’s original mission was that of the traditional junior college—to provide pre-baccalaureate degree programs that prepared students for transfer. Earl F. Hargett was the first president and served from 1964 to 1968.
During the 1965-66 academic year, the Office of Continuing Education and Community Services was added to respond to lifelong learning and training needs in the community. The first graduating class of twenty-eight students received their associate degrees in June 1966. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools awarded the institution accreditation in December 1967. John W. Teel became president in 1968 and remained in office until his retirement in 1990.
Community College Years
In 1972 the college began its evolution from traditional junior college to community college. That year it was chosen as the pilot institution for the Georgia Board of Education to offer vocational/technical career programs on a Board of Regents campus. These programs were jointly funded and operated by the Board of Regents and the Board of Education. That arrangement between the Board of Regents and the TCSG (formerly the Department of Technical and Adult Education, which replaced the state Board of Education in 1987 as the governance authority for vocational/technical education in Georgia) continued until 2008.
In 1986 the Board of Regents authorized the creation of the Brunswick Center, a consortium composed of Brunswick Junior College, Armstrong State University in Savannah, and Georgia Southern University in Statesboro. The center continues to be housed on the CCG campus. In cooperation with CCG, the two universities provide seven baccalaureate and seven graduate degree programs. In 1988 the college name reverted to Brunswick College, as the regents voted to drop the classification “Junior” from the names of all state two-year colleges.
Under Teel’s direction, the college had a multifaceted mission, providing remedial course work in basic skills and offering transfer, pre-baccalaureate programs in thirty-nine concentrations at the associate degree level. It also offered vocational and technical education, which included ten career associate-degree programs, thirteen certificate programs, and twenty-one technical certificate programs. The college also furnished lifelong learning opportunities through an extensive continuing education program, promoted regional economic development in cooperation with area businesses and industries, and collaborated with K-12 schools for the improvement of public education.
Dorothy L. Lord became the third president of the college in 1991. In response to the need for postsecondary education opportunities among the rapidly expanding population of Camden County, home of the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, the Board of Regents authorized the creation of the Camden Residence Center, a second campus in Kingsland, to offer transfer and vocational/technical programs. Classes began on the Kingsland campus in January 1993. In 1996 the Board of Regents changed the name of the college to Coastal Georgia Community College, in recognition of the expansion of its geographic service region, and the Camden Center at The Lakes in Kingsland opened in 2004.
Transition to Four-Year Institution
In 2008 the college dissolved ties with the TCSG and became a four-year institution, changing its name to the College of Coastal Georgia. The technical divisions were moved to Golden Isles Career Academy in Brunswick, Okefenokee Technical College in Waycross, and Altamaha Technical College in Jesup, while the continuing education programs and the Brunswick Center remained at CCG. That same year Lord retired, and Valerie Hepburn was appointed interim president. The appointment was made permanent in early 2009.
Bachelor’s degree programs in business administration, early childhood and special education, and middle school education began at CCG in fall 2009. By 2012 the college also offered bachelor’s degrees in biological sciences, health informatics, mathematics, nursing, and psychology.