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Breaking New Ground, 1960s

By 1960, Armstrong's enrollment hovered close to 1,000 students. Still a two-year unit of the University System, the college occupied every nook and cranny it could find in the six buildings of the downtown campus, but it needed more room. Expansion plans considered a variety of areas in the neighborhoods adjacent to the Armstrong mansion.

Then everything changed.

In 1962, gifts from the Mills B. Lane Foundation and from Donald Livingston resulted in the purchase of 250 acres of piney woods far beyond Savannah's southern city limit. A new campus began to emerge.

In the meantime, in March 1963, the Board of Regents authorized Armstrong to become a four-year college, with more programs, more faculty, and a new president to take the college to the new location and the new status.

In the summer of 1963, another leap forward occurred when Otis Johnson, a transfer student from Savannah State, enrolled as the first African American student to be admitted to Armstrong. He graduated with the class of 1964.

In due course, he would become the third Armstrong alumnus to serve as mayor of Savannah. Armstrong mayors have included John Rousakis, (photo to the right) dates as Mayor 1970-1992; Floyd Adams, (photo to the left), dates as mayor: 1996-2004; Otis Johnson, (no photo) dates as mayor: 2004-present.

Armstrong left downtown Savannah in December 1965, leaving behind the mansion, the antics and street parties at the corner of Bull and Gaston, and the Jackie Kennedy suits and hairstyles.

At the new location, graduates of the four-year college would proudly wear the new class ring of Armstrong State College.

Read on to the next years in history,
The Long Double Decade, 1970s-1980s.