University History Project

Remembering the Red and the Blue

History of the University of West Georgia

Opening event for “Play by Play: Athletics at West Georgia” exhibit at the Bonner House, 2016.

About the Project

With support from University of West Georgia Office of the Provost, the Department of History’s Center for Public History directs the University History Project, an endeavor devoted to the collection and preservation of the institution’s rich history.

Commencing Spring of 2016, the multi-year project is guided by Center faculty and student staff. As an interdisciplinary venture, the project facilitates collaboration among various academic departments and administrative divisions as well as between faculty, staff, retirees, students, and alumni. Furthermore, the University History Project reinforces UWG’s commitment to community engagement and academic excellence by highlighting the university’s central position in the west Georgia community and emphasizing the unwavering tradition of dedication to student and faculty success.

Mission Statement

The University History Project documents, preserves, and shares the university’s past. The project connects former, present, and future students, as well as the broader university and regional community, to the school’s rich heritage.

Vision Statement

We believe that knowledge of the past enriches our community. Our vision is to inspire students, staff, faculty, and alumni to recognize the role they play in shaping UWG’s history. Through our experience at West Georgia, we share a common legacy and lifetime connection.

Project Team Fall 2019

University History Project team, 2019. Left to right: Tinaye, Keri, Annie, Will, Chelsea, Vanessa, Ann, and Maya.
  • Dr. Ann McCleary, Co-director of the Center for Public History
  • Ms. Keri Adams, Assistant Director of the Center for Public History
  • Dr. William F. Stoutamire, Co-director of the Center for Public History
  • Vanessa Blanks, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Maya Brooks, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Chelsea Neese, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Tinaye Gibbons, Undergraduate Research Assistant
  • Annie Shirley, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Our Partners and Collaborators

Interim Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Stacy Boyd, alongside Interim President
Dr. Micheal Crafton, speak with Bonner family members during their visit to cemetery site located on the university campus, 2019.
  • Office of the Provost
  • Office of the President
  • Descendants of Enslaved Persons of the Thomas Bonner plantation
  • Dr. Andy Walter, Department of Geosciences & UWGMaps
  • Campus Planning and Facilities
  • Center for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Office of Community Engagement
  • Special Collections, Ingram Library
  • Office of Undergraduate Research
  • Queer Student Alliance (formerly Lambda)
  • University Communications & Marketing
  • Alumni Association & Alumni Relations
  • University Advancement
  • Greek Founders
  • Athletics
  • Boys and Girls Club of Carroll County
  • Weekends West Georgia
  • Housing and Residence Life

What will we do?

The final products of the plan will offer immersive, interactive, and meaningful experiences for past, present, and future students and faculty in connecting them to the university’s history and traditions.

The project plan includes:

  • Traditional exhibits
  • Wayside exhibit
  • Walking tours with brochures
  • Oral history projects
  • Public programming and community engagement
  • Digital content
  • Formal publication

What have we done?


  • Interpretive wayside exhibit plan (in-progress)
  • “Making a Better Life for our Rural People” on UWG and rural education in Carroll County (opening winter 2019-2020)
  • “Love and Politics: West Georgia’s Counterculture, 1968-1974″ (2017-2018)
  • “Play by Play: Athletics at West Georgia” (2016-2017)
  • “A Safe Haven: Responding to Hurricane Katrina” (2015-2016)

Walking Tours and Brochures

  • General history tour (coming fall 2019)
  • Haunted history tour
  • Fountain of Life: First 50 Years of the University of West Georgia Walking Tour
  • Journey to Equality: Reflections of the African American Experience at West Georgia Walking Tour

Oral History Projects

All oral history projects are on-going. Please contact us at with questions or to arrange an oral history session.

  • Speak Out! Queer on Campus
  • Descendants of Enslaved Persons of the Thomas Bonner plantation
  • Greek Founders
  • Alumni
  • Retired faculty and staff

Programming, Outreach, and Other

  • Class projects for Introduction to Public History graduate and undergraduate courses (every spring semester)
  • Memory Mapping initiative in collaboration with UWGMaps (ongoing)
  • Spatial mapping in collaboration with UWGMaps (ongoing)
  • LGBTQ White Paper
  • Speak Out panel with Lambda
  • Safe Treat booth
  • Screen on the Green in collaboration with Weekends West Georgia and Housing and Residence Life
  • Athletic equipment drive for Boys and Girls Club of Carroll County
  • Exhibit openings for Alumni Weekend and Homecoming
  • Memory Mapping events with Alumni Association

Digital Content

  • History content for UWG website (in-progress)
  • “Love and Politics: West Georgia’s Counterculture, 1968-1974″ online exhibit

Bonner Plantation Archaeological Survey & Historical Research Project

Keri Adams shares project research at the annual Bonner Family Reunion in
Carrollton, Georgia, 2019.

Click this link to learn more about the UWG’s archaeological survey and history project titled, Along the Ridge: Reflections on a 19th Cemetery on the University of West Georgia Campus and how the Center for Public History is participating in and contributing to cross-divisional, interdisciplinary, and multi-disciplinary work to tell the stories of the plantation’s enslaved community, their descendants, and the history of campus lands.


Connect with Us

Fill out this form to share any stories or information about the Thomas Bonner plantation and other Bonner family plantations, the Sharpe family farm, the likely cemetery on the UWG campus, and family history of those enslaved on the Thomas Bonner plantation.

Connect with the UHP team

Contact Us

Contact the Center with questions about our project or if you’d like to participate in a Memory Mapping session or oral history program. We’d love to hear from you! Email us at or call 678-839-6141.

Social Media

Find pictures and updates on our Facebook page or our Instagram.