A campus worth keeping, Professors reflect on the ever changing university

Annie Mohr

The year is 1989: Madonna is at the top of the billboard charts, the Berlin wall won’t come down until November and Georgia Southern University is known as Georgia Southern College.

That was 27 years ago, and yet for some professors it seems like merely months. The scenery has changed but the spirit and community of the University has outlasted the tests of time.

With the passing years , the university has taken on a new identity, created a bowl-winning football program and excelled academically. So much has changed, but a small group of professors have stayed to watch these transitions take place.

“I came to a cozy little school in a small town,” Fredrick Rich , a geology professor who joined the faculty in 1988, said.

According to Rich the same relaxed atmosphere that he noticed over two decades ago, still holds true to the campus. He notes that the campus itself has changed drastically, with new buildings being added in the recent years. His office used to be a classroom that belonged to the home economics department, which no longer exists.

Despite the architectural modifications to campus, longtime professors have seen little change in the vibe of the school. “[There are] Good working relationships and an acceptance you can’t find most places,” David Alley, a spanish professor that arrived at the University in 1988, said.

When Alley came to Georgia Southern, there were around 8000 students and only nine faculty in the language department. Fast forward to today, there are over 20,000 students and thirty language faculty members.

The increase in size has changed the experience of being a professor to Alley. “The longer you are here the more responsibility you assume, and it consumes you,” Alley said.

Alley remembers a time when faculty throughout departments all knew each other. He was even part of a staff intramural basketball team. He has since found community within his own department.

Alley attributes his positive experience and sense of community on campus as his reason for his 28 years of service.

“If anything here has changed students have gotten more relaxed in class,” Diane Phillips, assistant professor of interior design and faculty member since 1989, said. Phillips said that students often show up in pajamas, which is a huge change from the attire she remembers in 1989.

“All of a sudden I can’t believe I’ve been here this long,” Phillips said. “I enjoy my job , the people, the students.”

Phillips remarks on how her experience here has come full circle. Friends and old coworkers have all found their way to the university in some way.

Decades have flown by, and it’s a true reality that many students will only have four years to experience Georgia Southern. It’s clear though that the community here is one of a kind and whether you stay for awhile, or continue your journey, the memories are lasting.

Significant changes since 1989:

Working out:

(Then) The RAC did not exist, instead Hanner was home to student workout facilities, including a pool.

(Now) The RAC is state of the art facility that offers a variety of athletic benefits to students.

Forest Drive:

(Then)Had just been built as a temporary building for the language department.

(Now) The “temporary” building is still home to the foreign language department.


(Then) The Dining Commons were still known as Landrum , and Lakeside Dining hall was only a blue print.

(Now) The Dining Commons and Lakeside have been recently remodeled and accommodate unlimited meal plans.


(Then) Thursdays, Friend’s House, and Dingus Magee’s were the most popular bars.

(Now) Dingus Magees , Shenanigans and The Rusty Tavern dominate the bar scene.

The Library:

(Then) Henderson Library had a completely different look , with a fully concrete exterior.The first computers have just arrived on Georgia Southern campus.

(Now) Club Hendy has had a complete facelift and been modernized.

Five things you’ll never see again at Georgia Southern (Rebecca)

1.Marvin Pittman School – A K-8 School that was on campus in the same building that is now home to the Art’s Department.

2.Football games at Statesboro High-School – Before Paulson stadium was bulit , the Eagles played their games on the High School’s field.

3. The puppet theatre- This building has been used in recent years as archives and can be located across from Hanner Fieldhouse in the College Plaza Shopping center.

4.The Eagle village pool – Before the Eagle Village residence hall was built the area was home to a large pool.

5. Dorms on Sweetheart Circle- many buildings on Sweetheart Circle used to be Residence Halls. Sanford Hall was once home to an all boys dormitory.