Regents approve Albany State, Darton State merger

[private]The Board of Regents approved a proposal Tuesday to consolidate two colleges in Southwest Georgia, Albany State University and Darton State College, that will operate under the name of Albany State University.

Albany State’s interim president since November 2013, Art Dunning, was designated as the permanent president of the consolidated university.

Paul Jones, who has been Darton State’s interim president since October 2013, was named president of Fort Valley State University effective Dec. 15.

The two colleges, both located in Albany, have a combined enrollment of less than 9,000 students and have experienced enrollment declines. Albany State, which is one of Georgia’s historically black universities, had the steepest enrollment decline of any University System entity this fall with a decrease of 10.7 percent.

“The consolidated institution, Albany State University, will continue to serve the HBCU mission and build on its mission and that of Darton State to serve students, the community and region,” said Chancellor Hank Huckaby, who disclosed the proposed consolidation on Friday.

“We respect the passion the community, students and alumni hold for these institutions,” Huckaby said. “The new Albany State University will blend the strengths and values of each institution to strengthen the community and region more deliberately.”

Albany State was founded in 1903 and has an enrollment of about 3,500 students. Darton State was founded as Albany Junior College in 1963 but is now a four-year college with an enrollment of about 5,400 students.

When the consolidation is completed, the number of institutions in the University System will drop from 30 to 29.

Dunning formerly was a senior research fellow and professor at the University of Alabama and vice chancellor for international programs and outreach for the University of Alabama System. He earlier was a tenured professor in the University of Georgia Institute of Higher Education in Athens.

Jones formerly was the senior vice president for finance and administration at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Albany State , Board of Regents , Darton State , Hank Huckaby , University System