Comedian Rodney Dangerfield first became popular for his classic bit "What's in a name?" before hitting superstar status in the 1980s. The premise of the joke: He goes to see a shyster who tells him he has a great personality, but he needs a new name; his real name was Jacob Cohen. For $500, he offers him "Rodney Dangerfield." Dangerfield doesn't like his new name at first and tries to return it, but he can't find the man he bought it from -- because the other man changed his name.
Trying to pick a perfect name for this new consolodated university between Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University is not an easy chore. And kudos to the hard work put in by the different groups trying to select a suitable name. There's many different factions at both schools (students, alumni, faculty and staff) who want this New U. to have a certain name appeal. Nothing will be perfect, and someone's going to end up unhappy. That's just the way it is.
The way the name game works: On August 8, the Georgia Board of Regents will be given a list of three names to choose for the new school. The regents, though, can order off the menu and select another name. Confused yet? The Consolidation Working Group received a new list from the Branding Work Team for six names (some of them the same as the original, some are new additions). In total, 17 names have been thrown out. Let's go through the list (in no particular order) of most of the names:
1) Augusta University: Has two names people want "Augusta" and "University." It's simple. People know what it's about, but does it have the nationwide people everyone wants?
2) University of Augusta: Of all the names, this appears to be the safest pick. It's not sexy, but it's not going to get arrested at 2 in the morning, either -- in other words, it's not going to embarrass anyone. Some of my friends tell me there's already too many "U of A" schools. OK, there's Alabama, Arkansas and Arizona (of the schools that matter). Yes, there's University of Akron as well, but it is labeled UA (slight difference). Another "U of A" school hurts nothing.
3) Bartram U: So this new school is going to be named after a walking trail? Seriously, we're going to name the new university after William Bartram, a man who only passed through Augusta? No.
4) George Walton U.: Walton has a solid resume - signed the Declaration of Independence, served as Governor of Georgia and served as a U.S. Senator. But is this name forward-looking? Would've been a solid pick 50 years ago.
5) Georgia National U: Oh, I see what you're trying to do here. Everything in this town has to have an Augusta National tie-in. So we're going to add the state name and the famous golf course and voila! This name gets a double bogey.
6) Georgia Regents U: This sounds like something originated from the people who gave us the clunky "Georgia Health Sciences U." This name makes Georgia National U. sounds like a winner. Triple bogey.
7) Georgia A&M U: Great. A name choice everyone will have to explain. No really, we're not an agricultural and mechanical school. We're an arts and medicine school. Seriously.....And there's already Alabama A&M, Texas A&M, Florida A&M and Prairie View A&M. With this name, the new school will be original -- just like everyone else.
8) Arsenal U/Augusta Arsenal U: Historical name based on ASU being a former arsenal, but it sounds like a soccer school, and ironically neither ASU or GHSU has soccer.
9) Georgia Southeastern U: Dumb.
10) William Few U: All this name needs is a 'T' word between "William" and "Few" to really have an acronym. Yes, William Few was an important man, who did a lot of great things. But like George Walton U., is this the name you want for the future?
11) University of Georgia-Augusta: So this new school is going to be UGA's little brother or sister? I thought the point of this new university was to have a name to stand on its own.
12) Georgia Arts & Sciences U: GAS U. See No. 6.
13) Noble U: Had lunch last week with a former ASU golfer who owns two national championship rings. He said he never would've gone to ASU if it had been called "Noble U." This may be, hands down, the worst of the bunch.
14) Augusta International U: Sounds like a diploma mill.
15) James Brown Downtown College of Knowledge: The JBDCK Jaguars. It's got a ring to it. Unfortunately, the university personnel don't have enough of a sense of humor to add this one to the list.
As for new name choices, how about I throw out a few (some from me, some from my friends):
1) Augusta National U: Instead of beating around the bush with Georgia National U. and Augusta International U., let's go all in with a golf name. And the school can change its colors to green. What are the chances of getting sued by the fine establishment off Washington Road anyway????
2) Oklahoma State University at Augusta: Jaguar golf team has owned Oklahoma State on the national scene.
3) Jessye Norman U: All the opera fans will finally have a name to be proud of -- both of them.
4) Hogan U: Named after one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, Hulk Hogan, who was born in Augusta.
5) Antebellum U/Lady Antebellum U.: Lady Antebellum already has a pavillion named after it. Why not a university?
6) Grant U: Covers two native Augustans - Amy (singer) and Deon (football).
7) Fish U: Named after actor Laurence Fishburne. The initials for the new school probably wouldn't work, though.
8) Felon U: Named after three politicians -- Linda Schrenko, Charles Walker and Robin Williams -- known for their efforts in helping education and helping themselves.
9) Call Me Maybe U: Not a real name. Just a song stuck in my head.
10) University University: Named after University Hospital, this name represents our medical community. And if we can't come up with a decent name, this Catch-22 name sounds perfect.
If you have any name suggestions, and I'm sure you do, feel free to comment below.