Before 4 a.m. today, almost everything will have changed at Georgia Health Sciences University. Electronically, anyway.
The university assumed its new name today as technicians worked to change more than 9,000 e-mail addresses and the university's Web sites. That includes the health system and Physicians Practice Group, which represents the faculty. Beginning in August, it has taken 1,100 hours to get the university to this point, said Walter Ray, the director of the name change IT project. It included 24 teams of about 120 people working together to make it happen, he said. And it's only phase one -- there are two more phases, Ray said.
Just changing various Web sites connected with the university meant buying software to comb through 50,000 to 100,000 pages to change references to Medical College of Georgia to GHSU, he said. Medical College of Georgia will continue as the name of the former School of Medicine and the clinical system. The other four schools also became colleges today.
MCG President Ricardo Azziz has been pushing greater integration between the academic and clinical systems and this conversion helped that, Ray said.
"I think it will be certainly advantageous for integration to have to have such a big and important change that needs to get done thrust upon us," he said. "It will help us build those teams and relationships so I think it will be positive."
Because the university will be allowed to run the mcg.edu Web site until Sept. 30, e-mail and web traffic will be redirected from that site to the new georgiahealth.edu site and addresses. The university would like to run the old site in parallel longer and will petition the domain registrar to do that, Ray said. Changing all of the signs and other vestiges of the old name will likely take two years and cost about $2.9 million, said Deborah Barshafsky, vice president for strategic support.
While it has been a lot of work, it has also kindled an enthusiasm for the new name and the new era, Ray said.
"It's an exciting time and we've tried to build excitement up to this Feb. 1 launch that is going to take place," he said.