Ancient Athens was a center of learning, philosophy and the arts. So it’s no surprise that modern-day Athens, Ga., which is named after the Greek center of higher learning, has just as rich of an educational heritage.
In fact, the University of Georgia was founded in 1785, making Georgia the first state to charter a state-supported university, thereby making Athens the birthplace of the American system of public higher education.
Today, 15 colleges and schools within the university carry on the tradition of educating the best and brightest students from Georgia, the United States and from 127 other nations around the world. In 2007, it was the only public university in the country to have two Rhodes scholarship winners. Known especially for journalism and mass communication – it is the home of the Peabody Awards – UGA is perennially ranked as one of the top universities in the nation. And the university libraries are ranked among the top third research libraries in the country.
But the Dawgs don’t have the only learning game in town. Athens Technical College, which specializes in adult education, offers first-rate training courses for the fast-growing careers of today such as computer information systems, marketing management and surgical technology. And small, private Piedmont College is known for providing small, intimate instruction in liberal arts programs such as business, criminal justice and education.
The intellectual stimulation generated by the institutes of higher learning in town definitely trickles down to the preparatory schools as well. Clarke Central High School was named one of America’s Best High Schools by Newsweek magazine, and two local students won major awards at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Atlanta in May of 2008, where 1,500 of the sharpest young minds from 53 countries around the world competed. But then again, this is Athens, so who would expect anything less?