University System of Georgia regents today approved a proposal to make Albany State University one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive historically black colleges, by way of a merger with nearby Darton State College.
The merger positions Albany State to become the state’s largest public HBCU with more than 9,000 projected students, and a new complement of state and federal resources to support the academic redesign, rebranding and development of ASU’s programs.
Officials called the merger, the fourth since the system adopted principles of consolidation in 2011, a dynamic vision for public education in the state.
“The consolidation of Albany State University and Darton State College is a historic milestone for these institutions, our University System, the Albany community and our state,” said Chairman Neil Pruitt. “We are creating an institution of nearly 9,000 students, which would be the largest institution of higher education in Southwest Georgia. We have the opportunity to transform how we serve the community and the region.”
Regents also confirmed Paul Jones as the new permanent president of Fort Valley State University. The former Darton State interim president, who has held faculty and executive positions within the system, was lauded by USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby for his relationships and vision for developing infrastructure.
“Paul has developed strong, trusted relationships across our university system,” Huckaby said. “Fort Valley State University and its long-term success is critically important to our university system. With his solid background in finance and fiscal affairs, combined with his proven experience as president within our system, Paul will work to quickly build a close, team relationship with Fort Valley State University faculty and staff.”