Emory at Valdosta

Exploring the university's Deep South roots

The Old Oak Tree: The "graduation tree" has stood on the Valdosta campus for more than a century.

A few sprigs of Emory's history in south Georgia continue to grow in Valdosta, a city with just over fifty thousand residents about twenty minutes from the Georgia- Florida line.

Built in the late 1920s, Emory Junior College at Valdosta was a men's college until 1953, offering young men the opportunity to pursue a two-year degree for more than three decades aside from a brief closure during World War II. Judge Gus Elliott 52EJCV 54C has fond memories of his experience at Emory Junior College at Valdosta.

"Of all the schools I attended, Emory Junior College was by far the greatest and most meaningful of my education experiences," he says.

Historic postcard showing the Valdosta State University campus

The campus has long since been renovated and absorbed into what is now Valdosta State University, but Emory planted lasting roots. Around the time of the school's founding, two live oak trees were planted on the campus, and they have been growing for almost a century.

Recently those trees, dubbed Emory at Valdosta East and Emory at Valdosta West, were inducted into the Live Oak Society, an association dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of the live oak tree. Named to honor the Emory Junior College at Valdosta legacy, the two live oaks, or Quercus Virginiana, are respectively nine and more than seven feet in girth. They have lived through one world war, sixteen United States presidents, ten Emory University presidents, ten Valdosta State University presidents, and three of the four remakes of A Star is Born.

Emory at Valdosta East and Emory at Valdosta West live on the Valdosta State University campus, right outside of Pound Hall, one of the original buildings erected for Emory Junior College at Valdosta. Offering not only cool shade during a southern summer, the two also provide another lasting reminder of Emory's history in Georgia.

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