Established by a charter adopted by the Georgia Legislature in 1785, the University of Georgia is the first university in America to be chartered by a state government. The principles embodied in its charter 'that education is the foundation of a democratic society and a right of all citizens, and that providing education is the responsibility of government' helped give rise to the American system of public higher education. UGA's picturesque 762-acre campus, in the Appalachian foothills about 70 miles northeast of Atlanta, is adorned with many 19th century buildings including Old College (1806), and the University Chapel (1832). North Campus, featuring quads with century-old trees and scenic green spaces, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other notable campus features include bike paths, quiet gardens, one of the nation's largest student recreation/fitness centers and one of the oldest cemeteries on an American university campus (dating to 1814). The University of Georgia is Georgia's most popular college (approximately 26,000 applications for the 2018 freshman class) and has one of the nation's largest and oldest Honors Programs, attracting superior students from across the country. UGA is the nation's largest public university to ensure that each of its students engages in hands-on experiences--such as an internship, study abroad, service-learning or research--that enhance learning and position them for success after graduation. The Experiential Learning requirement went into effect in fall 2016 for all incoming and transfer undergraduate students. UGA is a national leader among public universities in the number of major scholarships earned by its students. Students have earned 24 Rhodes Scholarships, 51 Goldwater Scholarships, 21 Truman Scholarships, 15 Udall Scholarships, 35 Boren Scholarships and 7 Marshall Scholarships. Since 2001, 142 UGA students have earned Fulbright Scholarships. In 2015, Georgia was among only 7 universities nationwide with recipients of all three major national undergraduate scholarships: the Goldwater, Truman, and Udall. The student satisfaction rate is high with 95 percent of freshmen returning as sophomores, and Georgia's HOPE Scholarship keeps in-state student costs among the lowest at major public universities. Long a research leader in such fields as agriculture, biology and biotechnology, UGA is rapidly building strength in human and animal health and biomedicine with its College of Public Health, Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute and Cancer Center. A physician education program developed jointly with Augusta University began in 2010 to offset a severe shortage of doctors in Georgia. A 56-acre Health Sciences Campus houses the Medical Partnership, College of Public Health and other health-related programs. The Eugene P. Odum School of Ecology, opened in 2007, is the world's first stand-alone school devoted to ecological studies and research. UGA's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication is home to the prestigious Peabody Awards, the world's oldest prize in electronic media. In addition, the Peabody Archives in the Richard B. Russell Special Collections Libraries contain some of the best radio, television and cable programs ever produced. The University is home to Georgia's official state botanical garden, state art museum and state museum of natural history, as well as the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.
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