GRU taking shape as final vote looms

It won’t be official until Tuesday but work has long been under way to transform the myriad things that bear the names Georgia Health Sciences and Augusta State universities into the new Georgia Regents University.

The first thing will likely be the Web site, even though it means converting 87,000 pages between the two universities, which the University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted last year to consolidate, one of four university consolidations statewide. The Regents are expected to give final approval at their meeting Tuesday and name GHSU President Ricardo Azziz as president of the new university.

The Web site changeover should come right after, said David L. Brond, the senior vice president for communications and marketing.

“That’s something that should happen very quickly, right after the Jan. 8 announcement,” he said.

Azziz and key personnel will likely be the first to get new business cards, letterhead and other emblems of the university, probably the next day, Brond said.

“They should be representing the new university right out of the box,” he said.

Larger, more tangible symbols, such as new permanent signs, are likely six months away because of the time needed to design, build and install them, Brond said.

Unlike the transition to GHSU, there will not be temporary banners around the campuses advertising the new name in the interim, he said.

“It’s not inexpensive to do that and it takes the resources away from doing the eventual signs,” Brond said.

Even before taking on the new GHSU name, money had been budgeted for new signs to help make it easier for patients and visitors to navigate the campus and, because no permanent GHSU signs were created, roughly $3 million or so remains available, he said.

“We plan on doing it once and doing it right,” Brond said.

The clinical system is headed by Azziz, who chairs two of its governing boards, and those boards will decide on a new name for the hospitals and clinics. Those boards meet later this month. Brond said he would advocate that the new name “keep a level of brand consistency across the entire enterprise. Certainly something reflecting Georgia Regents and Georgia Regents University.”

As Georgia Regents emerges after Tuesday’s vote, it won’t all happen at once, Brond said.

“If people thought that, at the stroke of midnight, all of a sudden things were going to change, it’s not going to happen that way,” he said. “It is going to happen gradually. The things we can control and manage, that we can do quickly, we will do. The things we have to do with partners we will work on a schedule that makes sense for them and for us.”

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Topic Page: University Merger

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