The IAP was founded in January 1971 with approval from the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Dr. Keith Hartberg was the Institute's first director (1971-1984) and was followed by Dr. James H. Oliver, Jr. (1984-2011).

J.H. Oliver and J. Keirans with the Institute sign

Dr. James Oliver Jr. (on the left) and former USNTC curator James E. Keirans (on the right).