WHO WE ARE
Message From Dr. Cynthia Y. Lester, Interim Dean Of Perimeter College
Perimeter College is dedicated to student success and innovative teaching. In the dynamic and changing landscape of higher education, it provides more than access to a college education. It paves the way for students to ignite their passion for learning, to cultivate their talents and skills and to transform their lives. Through our academically talented faculty and outstanding staff, Perimeter College is strategically poised to continue the success of educating students that began more than 50 years ago when it first opened its doors in 1964 in Clarkston, Georgia. Since then, the college has grown to include four additional campuses throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area (Alpharetta, Decatur, Dunwoody, Newton) and become a pioneer in the online learning space, while also offering more than 30 pathways leading to an associate degree.
Since 2014, Perimeter College’s three-year graduation rate has more than tripled and, in the 2019-2020 academic year, we awarded 17 percent more associate degrees than in the previous year. We have worked hard at closing achievement gaps and now regardless of race, ethnicity or income, we graduate students at similar rates, mirroring the student success of Georgia State’s Atlanta Campus. Additionally, The Chronicle of Higher Education ranks us 20th among 838 two-year institutions nationally for our higher rates of students staying the course and advancing their education. Nearly 83 percent of Perimeter College students completed their programs, transferred or remained enrolled three years after starting (The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 5, 2020).
As we look forward, we are proud of what we have accomplished, but know there is still much work to do. We will continue to push ourselves in the areas of student success, advancements in teaching and creating an educational environment where identity and placemaking mirror the experiences of our diverse student body and the communities where they work, serve, live and play. I invite you to learn more about Perimeter College, through this website and on our other social media platforms. You will get a real sense of Perimeter College—our accomplishments and the pride that our students, faculty, staff and alumni take in being a part of the Georgia State University family.
We are honored to educate the next generation of scholars and thank you for your interest in Perimeter College. Get to know us. Your Future, THESTATEWAY®.
The Way to Succeed
-DeWayne Griffin, State Farm Insurance Company
-Geology Instructor Alex Ullrich
History of Perimeter College
Do you want to learn more? Just tap on the decades.
1964 – DEKALB COLLEGE OPENS IN CLARKSTON
College opens with 763 students, making it the only public two-year college in Georgia supported and controlled by a local board of education.
1964 – COLLEGE BECOMES HOME OF THE ORCHESTRA
The DeKalb Symphony Orchestra also got its start in 1964. The orchestra, a regional organization with members from throughout metro Atlanta, presents concerts of traditional and contemporary symphonic repertoire. Its home has been Perimeter’s Clarkston Campus since the orchestra’s inception.
1966 – COLLEGE HOLDS FIRST COMMENCEMENT
DeKalb College graduates its first class of 26 students.
1967 – NURSING PROGRAM BEGINS
DeKalb College began its nursing program, the first class of which graduated in 1969. In 2020, the program marked more than 50 years and has supplied more than 4,000 nurses for Georgia, the Southeast and the world. Our registered nursing graduates are found across the state in almost every type of clinical setting.
1972 – SOUTH CAMPUS OPENS, COLLEGE GETS NEW NAME
The college opens its second location – now known as the Decatur Campus – on Panthersville Road. It joins with DeKalb Technical Institute and the GED program of DeKalb County to become DeKalb Community College.
1979 – NORTH CAMPUS OPENS
The college, with an official 1979 fall enrollment of 11,779, opens its third location, now known as the Dunwoody Campus.
1981 – NAME CHANGES
The college returns to its earlier name: DeKalb College.
1986 – COLLEGE JOINS THE USG
DeKalb College joins the University System of Georgia (USG). Its fall 1986 enrollment was 8,786. DeKalb Technical College remains with the DeKalb County school system.
1987 – FOURTH CAMPUS OPENS
The college opens the DeKalb College Gwinnett Campus (called Lawrenceville Campus) in the University System Center–Gwinnett. The college enrollment for fall 1987 was 9,116.
1993 – ROCKDALE CENTER OPENS
DeKalb College, joined by Clayton State College, DeKalb Technical Institute and the Rockdale County School System, opens the Rockdale Center for Higher Education. The college’s fall 1993 enrollment: 16,349.
1996 – DEBUTS MLK CELEBRATION
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, hosted each January by Perimeter College for 15 years, was born and became a community tradition through 2010. It featured keynote addresses from noted speakers such as Spike Lee, Dr. Mae Jemison, Phylicia Rashad, Ben Vereen, Danny Glover, Maya Angelou, Congressman John Lewis, Rita Dove, Russell Simmons, Susan Taylor and Dr. Ben Carson.
1997 – NAME CHANGES AGAIN
A new name, Georgia Perimeter College, is approved for the college and takes effect the following year. Fall 1997 enrollment is 14,085.
1998 – ONLINE LEARNING BEGINS
The college became known as Georgia Perimeter College and began offering online courses in the fall after recruiting and training four faculty members, including geology professor Dr. Pamela Gore (at top in photo), who still teaches at Perimeter. In fall 1998, 387 students enrolled in at least one online class, and 99 students took all their classes online, for a total of 486 online students. Perimeter went on to boast the largest online education program in the University System of Georgia, with a total of 9,413 online students in fall 2011. Perimeter’s fall 2019 online enrollment was 8,384.
2000 – ALPHARETTA SITE OPENS
Classes begin at the new Georgia Perimeter College site in Alpharetta. College enrollment for fall 2000 was 13,708.
2007 – NEWTON CAMPUS OPENS
The college opens a Newton County campus near Covington. Rockdale Center classes relocate to the Newton location. By fall 2007, enrollment for the college had risen to 21,473.
2008 – LAWRENCEVILLE CAMPUS CLOSES
Georgia Perimeter College discontinues courses at its Lawrenceville Campus as the University System of Georgia opens a new four-year institution: Georgia Gwinnett College.
2010 – ALPHARETTA BECOMES A CAMPUS
Georgia Perimeter expands its Alpharetta presence to become a full educational partner with Georgia State University. The college’s fall 2010 enrollment hits 25,113.
2010 – GPC GAINS NATIONAL RECOGNITION
Georgia Perimeter College was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to community service. GPC was the only two-year college in Georgia to be named to the President’s Honor Roll with Distinction.
2010 – ATLANTA CENTER FOR CIVIC ENGAGEMENT & SERVICE LEARNING
Amid a “standing room only” crowd on Feb. 15, former President Jimmy Carter, accompanied by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, helped open the Atlanta Center for Civic Engagement & Service-Learning on Perimeter’s Clarkston Campus. The center endeavored to link students’ classroom learning with opportunities to provide community service.
2010 – GPC HIGHLIGHTS BOOKS & AUTHORS
The college started GPC Reads, a free college-wide book and author program for students, faculty and staff. Authors whose works were selected and who made guest appearances at the college during the five years of the program included Pat Conroy, Sheri Reynolds, Terry Kay, Melissa Fay Greene, William Kamkwamba and Congressman John Lewis.
2011 – GPC GROWTH CONTINUES
Georgia Perimeter enrollment rises to 26,996 by fall 2011, with the college serving students on five campuses and online. The college is the top associate-degree-granting institution in Georgia.
2015 – USG ANNOUNCES CONSOLIDATION
The University System of Georgia Board of Regents announces plans to consolidate Georgia Perimeter College (GPC) with Georgia State University, a move approved in January 2016. GPC became Perimeter College, the 10th college within Georgia State. The consolidation with Perimeter College, which had a fall 2015 enrollment of 21,088, made Georgia State the largest university in the state and among the largest in the nation.
2020 – STUDENT SUCCESS SOARS
Under the student success measures for which Georgia State University had received national recognition, Perimeter’s three-year graduation rate more than tripled in the years since 2014. In the 2019-2020 academic year, the college awarded 17 percent more associate degrees than in the previous academic year. Perimeter students, regardless of race, ethnicity or income, began graduating at similar rates, mirroring the student success of Georgia State’s Atlanta Campus.
2020 – COLLEGE HIGHLY RANKED NATIONALLY
The Chronicle of Higher Education ranks Perimeter College 20th among two-year colleges nationally for its higher rates of students staying the course, completing programs and transferring to continue their education.
Perimeter College serves its students at five campuses: Alpharetta, Clarkston, Decatur, Dunwoody and Newton. In some of Perimeter’s academic pathways— including business administration, communications and criminal justice — students may pursue their associate degrees fully online. Most pathways enable students to take some classes online, and hybrid courses — which allow students to experience online learning combined with face-to-face classroom support — also are available. Explore our convenient locations.