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Dr. Noah N. Langdale

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Dr. Noah N. Langdale, who took Georgia State University from a two-building college to a major university as its president from 1957 to 1988, died Saturday.

Dr. Langdale, 87, of Atlanta, died of cardiac arrest at Piedmont Hospital. Memorial service plans will be announced by H.M. Patterson & Son, Spring Hill. The body was cremated.

A one-time University of Alabama football star, he is credited with building a major urban university in the heart of Atlanta. He earned his bachelor's degree at Alabama and his law degree and a master of business administration degree at Harvard University.

An erudite man, Dr. Langdale could quote great thinkers from Spinozo to Walter Lippmann or discuss such concepts as "The Equity of the Universality" as glibly as he could quote dialogue from Marx Brothers movies.

He is the scion of one of South Georgia's most powerful and wealthy families, a clan of timber barons and businessmen whose clout has reached far beyond their headquarters in his native Valdosta in Lowndes County, according to a 1986 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.

Dr. Langdale was 37 when he left his law practice in Valdosta to head up Georgia State, then a college with two buildings, 5,200 students, a $1.9 million budget and offered only one degree, in business.

When he retired, the university had more than 22,000 students and 20 buildings, a budget of $118.6 million and offered 50 degrees in more than 200 fields.

Survivors include a son, Mike Langdale, of Atlanta.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Feb. 24, 2008
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