From Ahmedunggar to Lavonia:
Presidents at the University of Georgia 1785-1997
Patrick H. Mell
Born July 19, 1814, Liberty Co., GA; Died January 26, 1888, Athens, GA. Hon. D.D., Furman University (1858); Hon. LL.D., Howard College (1869).
Mell taught school in central Georgia in the late 1830s. In 1842 he was ordained a Baptist minister and rode the circuit around Greensboro for a number of years. That same year, he joined the faculty of Mercer and taught there until 1855. In 1856, he came to the University of Georgia as Professor of Ancient Languages and became vice-chancellor in the University reorganization of 1860. In 1857, Mell was elected President of the Georgia Baptist Convention and in 1863 President of the Southern Baptist Convention. He held both posts until his death in 1888.
Both Mell and Boggs were adherents of the "Classical" model of education and believed in a more conservative agenda, away from the "New South" proposed by Grady. An early experiment with branch colleges located at Dahlonega, Cuthbert, Milledgeville, and Thomasville was largely a failure, with only Dahlonega's North Georgia College succeeding. There was also a successful move to site the state Technical School in Atlanta. These attempts to wean state support away from the University and towards state-supported campuses elsewhere in Georgia marked a clash between competing interests, agriculturists and denominationalists which would continue well into the 20th Century.
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