Founded in 1903, Albany State University is a historically black institution situated in Albany in southwest Georgia. It lies on the banks of the Flint River on a 204-acre plot. The state university was started as Albany Bible and Manual Training Institution by Joseph Winthrop Holley, to offer religious and industrial education for African-American youth. The university aims at the growth and development of the region, state, and nation through teaching, research, creative expression, and public service. After its establishment in 1903, the institution became a state-supported, two-year college known as Georgia Normal and Agricultural College with a board of trustees, in 1917. In 1932, the college became a part of the University System of Georgia which later became Albany State College, in 1943. It became Albany State University, in 1996. The university offers more than 30 undergraduate and masters degree programs. Its various programs include Bachelors, Masters, and Education Specialist degrees in addition to the other non-degree educational programs. Other courses offered include professional degree programs and a wide range of outreach programs to the community. ASU mainly emphasizes the liberal arts such as the humanities, fine arts, and social sciences. The university also offers the Board of Regent's engineering transfer program and a dual degree program in engineering. The university is a leader in teacher education, nursing, criminal justice, business, public administration, and the sciences. It also offers research programs.