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History of the University

The Technical Institute
Southern Technical Institute
Southern College of Technology


  • Founded in 1948 as a two-year division of Georgia Institute of Technology, our school was established at the request of Georgia business and industry. It first opened its doors as The Technical Institute in rented military barracks in Chamblee, Ga.
  • Our first director, L. V. Johnson, began operations with 116 students, all but 10 of whom were World War II Veterans, and a staff of 12 members.
  • In 1949, a name change and a status change became important to the institution and it students. Now called the Southern Technical Institute, the institution was recognized as a college-level school by the U. S. Department of Education.
  • Less than a decade later, the growing college moved its present campus to Marietta, GA. In 1961, Hoyt McClure was named acting director and led the move of the college to eight new buildings on 120 acres of land. This was the base of today’s campus of 232 acres and 35 buildings.
  • In 1970, we became a four-year college and one of the first colleges in the nation to offer the bachelor of engineering technology degree.
  • In 1979, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia voted to make “Southern Tech” an independent senior college in the University System of Georgia, severing organizational ties with its former parent institution, Georgia Tech. In the summer of 1980, we officially became the 14th senior college and the 33rd independent unit of the University System.
  • The college’s first president, Dr. Stephen R. Chesier of Purdue University, was named in 1980 and served with distinction until his retirement as president in June 1997. He took the college through the transition of becoming Southern College of Technology in 1987. In the last year of Dr. Chesier’s presidency, “Southern Tech” became a university and underwent another name, becoming Southern Polytechnic State University in the summer of 1996.
  • Dr. Daniel S. Papp, of Georgia Institute of Technology, was SPSU’s interim president from July of 1997 through July of 1998.
  • In August of 1998, the university welcomed Dr. Lisa A. Rossbacher as our second president.