The plan to build the University of Georgia was initiated in 1785, when the state's General Assembly secured a charter to build a college in the State of Georgia. Due to its early origins, it is considered by some to be the oldest public university in the U.S., though a couple of other American universities dispute this claim. The Board of Trustees and Visitors appointed Abraham Bladwin to act as the University of Georgia's first President, and they were granted 40,000 acres of land to build the university campus upon. The construction was set into place in Jackson County, Georgia in 1799, and Josiah Meigs was appointed to be the second President of the university at the turn of the 19th Century. The university was at first named Franklin College, in honor of Benjamin Franklin.
After it officially opened in 1801, at first the University of Georgia only offered curricula in traditional Classical studies. It was closed during the Civil War and subsequently reopened in 1866. Thereafter, the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts was opened in 1872. In the following century, the university gradually incorporated more modern disciplines, such as pharmacy, business, and communication, as well as social sciences. Women started to enroll in the university at the beginning of the 20th Century. With the passage of civil rights laws and the Supreme Court's decision asserting that the segregation of public educational institutions was unconstitutional, in the 1960s African-American students began to attend the University of Georgia as well.
The University of Georgia is directly governed by its President, who answers to the Georgia Board of Regents. The University has 17 schools and colleges. Namely, these are the Franklin College of Art and Sciences, the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, the School of Law, the College of Pharmacy, the Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, the College of Education, the Graduate School, the Terry College of Business, the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, the Henry W. Grady College of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Social Work, the College of Environment and Design, the School of Public and International Affairs, the College of Public Health, the Eugene P. Odum School of Ecology, and the College of Engineering. The University of Georgia also has Special Collection Libraries, which hold precious collections regarding the state of Georgia's culture and history, and are open to the public.
The University of Georgia is a top public university in the U.S. with a profound history. US News ranks it the 62nd best overall, and the 20th best public, university within the nation in its latest report. Internationally, it is also recognized as a top university. QS ranks it in the range of 411th to 420th, Times Higher Education ranks it in the range of 276th to 300th, and ARWU ranks it even higher, in the range of 101st to 150th. Its appeal, however, is largely limited to the United States, as only 1% of its student body is international. It is fairly selective, with an acceptance rate of 55.8%. The university is also recognized as research-intensive, hosting many groundbreaking research projects and attracts the collaboration of many excellent scholars across the world, especially at the graduate and Master's levels.
The University of Georgia, as a very influential state university, has produced many renowned and accomplished alumni over its long history. It has produced 25 Governors of the state of Georgia, which is an unparalleled record. It has also produced numerous U.S. Senators and Representatives, state congress members, and judges. It also has sent hundreds of athletes into major professional sports leagues, including the NFL, MLB, and NBA. Many actors, hosts, and public figures, including American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, TV actor Josh Holloway, and James Michael Tyler, have also attended the University of Georgia. The school has also produced nine Pulitzer Prize winners.