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We Honor Our Heritage...

Woodward Academy has always been a school of its time and yet, often and in many ways, ahead of its time.

In 1900, Atlanta had a population of 89,872. It was three years before Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first flight in Kitty Hawk, N.C., and the world had not yet seen its first silent film, World Series, or Nobel Prize. Colonel John Charles Woodward was a young Georgia educator who had earned his master’s degree at the University of Chicago and returned to his native state eager to put his philosophies about education into practice. He and his wife, Lucile, settled in College Park to establish Georgia Military Academy, a place where students would grow not only in knowledge but also in the qualities—service to others, strong character, responsibility, problem-solving—that transformed their lives and the world around them. 

Surviving and even thriving through world wars, a Great Depression, and two global pandemics, the Academy continues to embrace Col. Woodward’s philosophies and to interpret them in ways that are relevant to today’s students and the challenges of our times. Woodward is a place where caring, engaged citizens grow. It’s a place where children are equipped with empathy, thoughtfulness, confidence, tenacity, and resilience—with a foundation strong enough to support whatever future they can imagine for themselves. Although Col. Woodward may never have foreseen the educational advances of the digital age, he would still recognize the school he founded in the trials and triumphs that students navigate today, in the dedicated educators who guide them, and in the thousands of alumni who make a difference in our world.

OPENING THE DOORS AT GMA

(1900-1929)

1900-1905

1900

  • Colonel John Charles and Lucile Woodward began to realize their dream of providing educational excellence
  • Georgia Military Academy opened with 30 students, three teachers, one four-story building, and 16 acres 

1902

  • First new building added to campus, Rugby Hall 

1904

  • Color Guard established 

1905

  • Enrollment grew to 100 students, and GMA employed nine teachers
Original Founder's Hall
Oscar Palmour and cadets, early 1900s
Colonel Woodward with Oscar Palmour, first teacher, and cadets
Rugby Hall
Color Guard
Faculty 1905-1906
J.C. and Lucile Woodward

1908-1916

1908

  • GMA incorporated with Colonel Woodward as President/Treasurer and Mrs. Woodward as Secretary and later as Vice President
  • Robert W. Woodruff '08 graduated from GMA

1909

  • Six hundred GMA alumni enlisted during World War I with 10 alumni losing their lives

1916 

  • GMA designated Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps by the United States War Department
Robert W. Woodruff '08

1920-1929

1920

  • Memorial Hall built 
  • Junior School established

1929

  • Marching band named for Robert W. Woodruff

HONORING OUR MILITARY PAST

(1930-1959)

1931-1935

1931

  • World War Monument erected in honor of the 10 GMA alumni who died in service to their country 
  • Relationship with Cuba continued, resulting in a number of Cuban students boarding at GMA 
  • Tuition revenue from international students and financial support from Robert W. Woodruff '08 kept GMA from closing its doors during the Great Depression

1932 

  • Colonel Woodward made his "Great Gesture" in which he gifted the Academy to the Governing Board

1935 

  • Eagle over the gate added and dedicated to Sergeant Archie T. Johnson
Cuban Club
Tampico (Mexico) Club
1931-32 football team with Colonel M.C. Paget stopped off at Lookout Mountain en route to play football

 

1939

  • President's home, "The Oaks," built 
  • Colonel Woodward died at home on August 27, 1939 
  • Colonel William Roe Brewster Sr. elected second president

 

 

1940-1957

1940 

  • Junior College opened for a two year post-graduate program, closing in 1953

1941 

  • An estimated 1,500 GMA alumni enlisted during World War II

1946

  • World War II Monument dedicated to the 84 alumni who died in service to their country

1957 

  • Cadets marched in President Dwight D. Eisenhower's inaugural parade, January 21, 1957

 

SETTING TRANSFORMATION IN MOTION

(1960-1969)

1960-1963

1960

  • Colonel Brewster retired and became President Emeritus 
  • Captain William R. Brewster Jr. '37 elected third president

1961

  • Korean Conflict Monument erected by Class of 1961 to honor the seven alumni who died in service to their country 
  • First kindergarten established 
  • Cadets marched in President John F. Kennedy's inaugural parade

1962 

  • GMA campus expanded with construction of Woodward Hall (now Brewster Hall, home of the History Center), Alumni Hall, and Colquitt Stadium
Cadets visit Washington, D.C.
Captain William R. Brewster Jr. '37
Cadets prepare for inspection
President John F. Kennedy's inaugural parade, 1961
Annual federal inspection and awarding of cadet honors

1964-1965

1964

  • GMA admitted 32 female students
  • Brewster Hall built on the site of the original Founder's Hall, now Jane Woodruff Hall

1965

  • First female students graduated

 

1966-1969

1966

  • Georgia Military Academy renamed Woodward Academy
  • Began phasing out military program
  • Robert W. Woodruff '08 selected as the first Distinguished Alumnus
  • WATV closed-circuit television installed

1967 

  • First class graduated under the name Woodward Academy 
  • Richard C. Gresham Chapel dedicated on May 14, 1967 

1969 

  • Woodard Academy added female boarding students 
  • Girls' athletic programs began

 

CONTINUING ON THE PATH OF CHANGE

(1970-1989)

1971

  • Woodward Academy integrated, enrolling its first Black students
  • Individualized Studies Program (now called the Transition Program) established 
  • Woodward Academy opened the Busey School in Riverdale, serving elementary students

1972-1975

1972

  • First Super Goober Day held

1973

  • Middle School division established in converted classrooms 

1974

  • Woodward Academy celebrated its 75th anniversary with the "Agenda for Tomorrow Campaign," raising $4 million 

1975

  • Woodward Academy began integrating its faculty and leadership
  • Richardson Fine Arts Center dedicated in honor of Zella Richmond Richardson, known as "The Sweetheart of GMA"
Originating in the early GMA years as a parade, Super Goober Day continues today as a much-loved festival
Marva Massey
Zella Richmond Richardson
Captain Brewster '37

 

1978-1979

1978

  • Michael C. Carlos '44 Hall dedicated

1979 

  • Captain Brewster '37 retired
  • Gary M. Jones, Ph.D., became fourth president
Gary M. Jones, Ph.D.

 

 

1982-1988

1982

  • Student Computer Center constructed 
  • First "Experience the Arts Day" held to celebrate the arts
  • Ben F. Johnson III '61 named Board Chairman and goes on to hold the position for more than three decades

1985 

  • Annual "Canned Food Drive" established to support the Atlanta Community Food Bank 

1987 

  • Carlos Science Center dedicated 

1988 

  • Woodward Academy's long-standing bus service incorporated as "Student Transport"

 

BUILDING ON OUR FOUNDATION OF EXCELLENCE

(1990-2009)

A. Thomas Jackson

 

1990-1995

1990

  • A. Thomas Jackson elected fifth president of Woodward Academy
  • Woodward North opened in Johns Creek, serving elementary students

1993

  • Boarding program ended

1994 

  • First fundraising effort in support of the Jesse Draper Boys & Girls Club completed

1995 

  • George C. Carlos Library dedicated
George C Carlos library

 

Class of '99 continues the tradition

1996-1999

1996

  • Graduating seniors celebrated the first "Last Blast" 
  • Statue to honor Robert W. Woodruff '08 dedicated

1999 

  • Carlos Administration Building expanded 
  • Thomas Hall Lower School opened 
  • Richardson Hall major renovation completed; Anthony M. Malizia Sr. Amphitheatre constructed
Captain's Clock

 

2000-2005

2000

  • Woodward celebrated its centennial year
  • Vietnam War Memorial dedicated to the 15 alumni who died in service to their country
  • Harry C. "Hank" Payne, Ph.D., became sixth president of Woodward Academy

2002

  • Captain's Clock dedicated to honor Captain Brewster 
  • First Academy-wide "Week of Understanding" took place, continuing today
  • Formalized a ridership program to support students riding MARTA

2003 

  • New Brand-Tucker Hall Middle School welcomed students 
  • Woodward North Arts Center constructed
  • "Second Century Campaign" launched, raising $27 million

2004

  • Shailendra Tennis Center dedicated 
  • A. Adair Dickerson Jr. '71 Arts Center dedicated on the Middle School campus

2005 

  • Statue dedicated to honor Michael C. Carlos '44
Sixth president of Woodward Academy

 

2007-2009

2007

  • Busey School closed, merging students into the new Primary School for grades PK-3 and Lower School for grades 4-6
  • New Primary School campus opened at the former site of Longino School
  • "Campaign Woodward" launched, raising $63.1 million

2008

  • Joseph H. Moss Hall, the new math and science building, opened

2009

  • F. Stuart Gulley, Ph.D., became seventh president of Woodward Academy
  • War Memorial dedicated in memory of all alumni who died in service to their country since 1973
  • Tyler H. Brown '96 Student Center dedicated 
New Primary School
War Memorial

PROVIDING THE COMPASS FOR GROWTH

(2010-Present)

2010-2013

2012

  • Horizons at Woodward Academy established to provide summer enrichment opportunities for students from local public schools

2013

  • Athletic fields constructed off Willingham Drive 
  • Brand Hall repurposed as Center for Innovation 
  • West Commons opened for additional student dining 
  • McKay House renovated 
  • Woodward Hall renamed Brewster Hall

2014-2018

2014

  • Jane Woodruff Hall, the new humanities building, dedicated
  • Global Connections Center opened

2015

  • Ben F. Johnson III '61 retired as Board Chairman; Robert E. "Bobby" Bowers '74 named Board Chairman

2017 

  • Nathan T. Cole '90 Diamond Hitting Complex constructed

2018 

  • New Student Transport Complex completed

2020

  • Global coronavirus pandemic closed campus for the first time in 120 years, shifting school to virtual learning until the end of the semester

 

2022-PRESENT

2022

  • Stephen A. Belin '72 GMA/Woodward Academy History Center dedicated in Brewster Hall

Present

  • Every child's education is a unique expedition, a decades-long journey of growth and enlightenment that twists and turns through paths both charted and uncharted. At Woodward, we continue to provide the compass.

 

Woodward History Center Dedication video