South University, a private academic institution in Savannah, has provided educational opportunities for a diverse student population for more than a century. Offering associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degrees in business and health disciplines, South University enrolled 1,800 students in fall 2003.

South University
South University

Courtesy of South University

South University traces its beginnings to 1899, when John H. Draughon established Draughon’s Practical Business College in Savannah. Much of the school’s history is marked by relocation and expansion. From 1899 through 1974 the institution was housed at four different addresses. The school was originally located in the Masonic Lodge that stood on the northeast corner of Liberty and Whitaker streets. It moved to the Georgia State Savings Building in 1914 and to the Lamas Building in 1921, where it remained until 1956. Between 1956 and 1974 the school was housed in the Atlantic Mutual Building before returning to its original neighborhood on the west side of downtown Savannah.

South University Clock Tower
South University Clock Tower

Courtesy of South University

In 1974 Draughon’s was purchased by the family of John T. South III, and a second campus was established in West Palm Beach, Florida, in 1975. This expansion began a pattern of growth that continues under the leadership of South, who served as the school’s president for more than twenty years before becoming chancellor. In 1986 the school changed its name to South College in honor of the South family. In 2003 South sold the college to the Education Management Corporation but retained his position as chancellor.

John T. South III
John T. South III

Courtesy of South University

A decade later South College became a four-year institution, adding a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1996. The following year, the school acquired Massey-Draughon Business College in Montgomery, Alabama, to create a third campus. The 1997 addition of two new health professions programs, in physician assistant studies and physical therapist assisting, allowed South College to reorganize into the School of Business and the School of Health Professions, both of which offer associate and bachelor’s degrees.

South University Students
South University Students

Courtesy of South University

In 2001 the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredited South College to confer master’s degrees, and in October of that year, South College became South University. In 2002 the school introduced its first postgraduate degree, a Master of Science in physician assistant studies, and added a fourth campus with the acquisition of Columbia Junior College, in Columbia, South Carolina.

In 2003 South University, after becoming the first institution in Savannah accredited to confer doctoral degrees, founded the South University School of Pharmacy. The pharmacy school, one of only three in Georgia, grants a pharmacy doctorate, and the first class of doctoral students enrolled in 2003. The following year the School of Business added online bachelor’s degrees in business administration and information technology.

Share Snippet Copy Copy with Citation

Updated Recently

Christian Science

Christian Science

1 week ago
Alice Walker

Alice Walker

1 week ago
Etowah Mounds

Etowah Mounds

1 week ago

Explore Georgia’s rich music history

From blues and soul to classical and country—our Spotify playlists feature 130+ songs written and performed by Georgians.

Image

South University

South University

South University, a private academic institution in Savannah, was founded in 1899 as Draughon's Practical Business College. Today the school offers degree programs in business and health disciplines.

Courtesy of South University

South University Clock Tower

South University Clock Tower

The South University clock tower is situated on the southwest corner of the school's campus in downtown Savannah. Located at its current site since 1974, the university has been housed at various addresses in Savannah since its founding in 1899.

Courtesy of South University

John T. South III

John T. South III

Draughon's Practical Business College in Savannah was purchased by the family of John T. South III in 1974. South served as president of the school, renamed South University in 2001, for more than twenty years and continues to serve as chancellor.

Courtesy of South University

South University Students

South University Students

The School of Health Professions at South University has offered associate and bachelor's degrees in physician assistant studies and physical therapy assisting since 1997. Medical laboratories on campus give students an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom.

Courtesy of South University