January 27

University of Georgia Chartered

January 27, 1785 - Athens

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” So said James Madison, and after the revolution, Georgians realized the fledgling republic would survive only with educated citizens.

In 1784, the General Assembly set aside 40,000 acres for a state university. Abraham Baldwin wrote and the legislature granted a charter for the institution that became the University of Georgia. The charter was revolutionary: it set up an educational system under secular control and support of the state rather than the church. It was a clarion call for Georgians to meet the responsibilities of independent statehood.

The university that flourishes on the banks of the Oconee stands as a tangible link to the enlightenment and the philosophy that the state is responsible for preparing young people for leadership.

The first university in the nation chartered by a state government began on January 27, 1785, Today in Georgia History.