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GSU History  

Last Updated: Oct 11, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Timeline of Events and Firsts for GSU

1969   University founded on July 17, 1969


  • The University Seal was created by Thomas Greene.
  • Correspondent Status (initial step for accreditation) was acheived in July 1970.

1971   Classes first offered on September 13, 1971


  • First commencement held on June 25, 1972
  • First theatrical production was staged on November 9, 1972.  "The Marriage-Go-Round", featuring Elaine Strauss and Tom Zito, with Charles Waddington and Kathleen Chapman. General admission tickets were $2 and student tickets were $1. 

1973   Candidate for Accreditation Status (second step for accreditation) was achieved in March 1973.

1974   First Board of Governors degree awarded to Celia Ann Toll.


  • Full accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools was acheived April 9, 1975.
  • Dedication Service for permanent campus April 20, 1975
  • Child Care Center opened May 13, 1975
  • Change from modules to trimesters occurred in September 1975.
  • Honorary degrees were conferred for the first time to Hector Neri Castenada and Charles A. Davis.


  • Leo Goodman-Malamuth II became GSU's 2nd president beginning in September.  He was formally installed on October 7, 1977.
  • First Alumni Association meeting held on March 30, 1976.
  • GSU listed in the World Almanac for the first time.
  • A wedding took place at GSU between two students, Judith Grossman and Anthony Wardynski, in the Hall of Governors on September 18, 1976.


  • First University Without Walls degree awarded to Clinton Forest Moewe.
  • First convocation took place on October 7, 1977 as part of the events surrounding the inauguration of President Leo Goodman-Malamuth II.


  • Govenors State University Center for Monumental Art renamed to honor Nathan Manilow.
  • December 3 Innovator reported a new University Constitution was passed, splitting up the University Assembly into 3 Senates


  • 10th Anniversary Celebration July 10-15, 1979
  • Grades were given for the first time Fall trimester 1979.
  • Learning Resources Center was renamed University Library
  • Governors State Review, the first literary magazine, was published.
  • New University Constitution ratified in June 1979 (Innovator, 1980-2-26)


  • First Faculty Senate President, University Professor Bob Press takes office as Interim President (1980-2-26 Innovator)
  • Faculty Senate, Student Senate, Civil Service Senates are organized (1980-2-26 Innovator)
  • First computer system for circulation of materials installed in the library went live in April.  Library Computer System (LCS) was            developed at UIUC.  
  • First Computing Lab implemented in Spring Trimester.  


  • Alumni Way built.
  • College of Cultural Studies and College of Environmental and Applied Sciences merged to form College of Arts and Sciences.
  • College of Human Learning and Development renamed College of Education.


  • Park Forest South renamed University Park on January 24, 1984.
  • First university wide Dean's List announced.
  • For 7 days GSU became Wright State University as a film set for the TV movie "First Steps" , April.
  • Honor students recognized for the first time at commencement.
  • First Civil Service Day was held on November 30, 1984.


  • The first student addresses at commencement were given by Mrs. Audrey Ann Young on June 8, 1985 and Ms. D. Diane Staehlin on June 9, 1985. Both speakers were from the College of Education.
  • Child Care Center had its first graduation ceremony on August 7.

1987   First GSU-originated Videoconference, January 22.  

1989   First Gerald C. Baysore Award presented to William J. Kryspin.

1991   First Student Employee of the Year awarded to Jennie Probst.

1992   Paula Wolff became GSU's third President.

1993   Alumna Barbara Trent wins the Oscar for best documentary film of 1992.

1996    Governors State University's first Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor, following the elimination of the Illinois Board of Governors Universities.

1998   First WebCT course developed at GSU was NURS 801 Pharmacotherapeutic Nursing taught by Dr. Ami Wang in Fall 1998 as a pilot study. 


  • GSU Charter School opened with 66 children.
  • First dual admission agreements with local community colleges were signed.
  • Lt. Scott McClelland was the first Navy College PACE (Program of Afloat College Education) to graduate from the the Board of Governors degree program.
  • The Illinois Board of Higher Education met at GSU for the first time.

2001   Groundbreaking ceremony for the Family Development Center took place on October 5, 2001.

2006   Doctor of Physical Therapy became the university's first doctoral level program.


  • Dr. Elaine Maimon begins as GSU's 5th President, June, and appoints Dr. Gebe Ejigu as Executive V.P.
  • Dr. Elaine Maimon is installed on November 3, 2007 in ceremonies held at GSU Center for the Performing Arts


  • June - First Doctor of Nursing Practice graduates, Shirley Comer, and Patricia Martin
  • GSU implements a new academic calendar with its first Fall Semester, 15 1/2 weeks long.  Summer Term is 12 weeks.


  • MyGSU portal is implemented. 
  • First Doctor of Occupational Therapy graduate, Caren Schranz, June 4.

2013   Ground breaking for Prairie Place, GSU's first residence halls, April 8, 2013


  • GSU Mascot, the Jaguar is unveiled May 6, 2014
  • Summer - GSU Library public areas are remodeled
  • Prairie Place Residence opens to sudents, Fall
  • Fall Semester - the first Freshman class is admitted 

This chart is a work-in-progress.  For more information on early firsts, see the GSU History Research Guide URL: 

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