In Atlanta, Elene Jamarjashvili met Kenneth A. Cutshaw, a prominent lawyer in the United States and Europe. Mr. Cutshaw was sincerely interested in the establishment of the university and agreed to help the university establish a partnership with one of the leading American Law Schools – American University's Washington College of Law (Washington, DC).
At the beginning of 2002, Elene Jamarjashvili returned to Tbilisi and began to refine the business plan and look for the suitable investor(s). At that time she met R. Michael Cowgill, the US funded consultant to the Georgian Government for implementing the Baku-Ceyhan (BTC) and South Caucasus (SCP) pipeline projects. Mr. Cowgill agreed to advise Ms. Jamarjashvili and then become the University President.
Establishment of the Georgian American University
The demand in Tbilisi for a truly western University was so pronounced that despite the fact that at that time there were already two international business schools in operation, the interest in a program offering joint programs in Business and Law was substantial enough to move forward with the opening of a Business School and Law School at the Georgian American University in 2005.
In February 2005, a joint limited liability company of American and Georgian investors was formed. This dedicated group and its Board of Directors established financial and operational management standards which aligned with the strict international, ethical and educational standards necessary. This group of investors possessed a wide array of knowledge and experience such as:
- Experience with the United States, Georgian and International Law;
- Experience with the United States, Georgian and International Business, Banking, Finance and Management sectors;
- Public relations in Georgia and Internationally;
- Experience with the United States, Georgian and International education systems; and
- Experience with the United States government.
Development of the University
From its origin, GAU has experienced many changes, challenges and successes. Where the market so demands, new programs have been introduced, further developing and improving existing programs. The drive for perfection of the educational process as well as the management of the University is instilled in each Founder, Board Member, Faculty and Staff member.
GAU has one of, if not the highest placement rates of its students and graduates in Georgia due in part to the exceptional professional and practical skills developed as well as the concentration of professional English.
In the 2011/2012 academic year, GAU added the International Relations and Diplomacy Program to its Law School, resulting in the name change to the Law and Social Sciences School. In the 2012/2013 academic year, due to the successful performances of both its Business and Law Schools and considering state priorities and market demand, GAU opened the Natural Sciences and Engineering School. In the 2013-14 academic year, GAU added the Liberal Education and Humanitarian Sciences School.
On a regular basis, GAU students are given unique opportunities through internships to work with local organizations. GAU students are also able to participate in foreign university exchange programs.
For the 2012/2013 academic year, GAU moved to a new campus location (10 Merab Aleksidze St.) which was more in line with its high university standards. The 6,000 sqm building contains large classrooms, a modern library/computer center, café, gym, auditoriums and a theater. This, together with expansive grounds creates a pleasant and productive academic environment.