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One-paragraph University History
Clayton State University opened in 1969 as Clayton Junior College, with Dr. Harry S. Downs as the founding president. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia elevated the institution to baccalaureate status (as Clayton State College) in 1986, to university status (as Clayton College & State University) in 1996 and approved the present name on May 18, 2005. On November 16, 2005, Clayton State’s first graduate level program, the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, was approved by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Following the retirement of Harry Downs in January 1994, Dr. Richard A. Skinner became the University’s second president, to be followed in 1999 by Interim President Michael F. Vollmer. Dr. Thomas K. Harden became the University’s third president in June 2000 and Dr. Thomas Hynes was initially named interim president in May 2009 before having his appointment as fourth president made permanent in February 2010.