In 1907, the name changed to Gordon College. In 1916 the U.S. Department of War named Gordon College a junior military unit. In 1928, Gordon added the first two years of college to its program. In 1933 the state offered the former Georgia Industrial College campus to Gordon College. The high school and junior college departments moved to the new campus, while the elementary school moved into the former high school building. Gordon College was known as Gordon Military College from the mid-1930s until 1972.
In the 1950s, ownership of the school passed to the city of Barnesville, which consolidated its government-funded public schools for whites in grades 8-12, while continuing to bus black students to racially segregated Lamar County schools. City girls were enrolled as regular students. City boys were permitted to opt out of military participation, but almost all were organized into a corps of cadets under military discipline. Military cadets from other places were permitted to enroll by paying tuition; many attracted by low tuition rates came from Latin America, including Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican migration to New York.
Gordon State experienced financial problems in the 1960s, and in 1970 the trustees approached the state about making the college part of the university system. The secondary school was separated and the cadet corps disbanded, and on July 2, 1972, Gordon Military College officially became part of the University System of Georgia as Gordon Junior College, an associate-level college. In 1986 “junior” was dropped from the school’s name