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As an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta, Clayton State University has come a long way since its inception 40 years ago.
The University first opened in September 1969 as Clayton Junior College with Dr. Harry S. Downs as founding president and an enrollment of 942 students. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia elevated it to baccalaureate status as Clayton State College in 1986 and university status as Clayton College & State University in 1996. The school’s current designation as Clayton State University was approved in 2005.
Since Downs’ retirement in January 1994, the University has had two presidents; Dr. Richard A. Skinner, who took office upon Downs’ retirement, and Dr. Thomas K. Harden, who took office in June 2000. When Harden was named chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, Dr. Thomas J. "Tim" Hynes, Jr., was appointed interim president, starting on May 18, 2009. The current enrollment is in excess of 6,000 students and the school provides a multitude of undergraduate degree credit programs that—in the words of the university’s mission statement—provides "career-oriented education with a solid liberal arts foundation."
In addition to more than doubling its undergraduate degrees over the past 10 years, Clayton State also has added seven graduate programs in the past three years. The first, the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, began in 2006. Since then, the Master of Science in Nursing, the Master of Health Administration and the Master of Business Administration all began in 2007, and the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs, MAT - English and MAT - Mathematics, in 2009. The Master of Archival Studies is scheduled to begin in 2010.
The past five years at Clayton State have also been highlighted by the establishment of the first joint state and federal archives facilities adjacent to campus, the institution of a comprehensive strategic planning process, the reaffirmation of the University’s accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the opening of the Clayton State – Fayette instructional site in Peachtree City. In a six week period between August and October 2008, the University dedicated three new buildings; the University’s first student housing, the Student Activities Center and a new building for the AACSB-accredited School of Business.
Clayton State is also home to Spivey Hall, the finest small performance facility in the Southeast. First opened in 1991, Spivey Hall is known locally, nationally and internationally for presenting the best in jazz and classical music as well as an education outreach program that serves tens of thousands of school children from throughout metro Atlanta annually.