Savannah college merger unlikely, state officials hint

Proposal to unite state colleges in same cities floated earlier this year

Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 9:41 AM
Last updated 9:42 AM
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 SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Forget about merging Savannah State and Armstrong Atlantic universities.

That’s what Buddy Carter, chairman of the state Senate Higher Education Committee, says he’s been told by University System of Georgia Chairman Hank Huckaby.

Even after desegregation, historically black SSU and mostly white AASU have grown, developed respected specialties and built community support bases.

“I can tell you that the chancellor is not looking at merging any of the historically black campuses,” said Carter, a Pooler Republican.

While not confirming Carter’s statement, Huckaby’s office made no attempt to rebut it.

It referred a call to Huckaby to spokesman John Millsaps.

“We’re not going to comment one way or the other,” Millsaps said. “There is just no comment on anything regarding consolidation at this point.”

But supporters of AASU and SSU — two of the schools repeatedly targeted for merger as a way to save the state money — welcomed Carter’s comments.

“We’re fortunate to have two great schools,” said David Paddison, an Armstrong Atlantic State University Foundation trustee.

“One of the things that distinguishes Savannah is our diverse educational offerings. As long as we can afford to do it economically, we should strive to do so.”

Roy Jackson, president of SSU’s national alumni association, also hailed what he called “great news.”

“Both institutions are excellent and are performing well. Their enrollments and campuses are growing. Their missions are different, but both are succeeding. There is no basis for even discussing this idea.”

But it long has been discussed.


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