After a fierce public protest, Augusta was added to the name of the consolidated Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities – if not officially..
“Georgia Regents University Augusta” will appear on all materials, shirts, cups and in the logo, said GHSU President Ricardo Azziz, who announced the branding change Thursday morning with University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby and “Save the A” members Nick Evans and Barry Storey.
“I think we got a great compromise,” said Evans, a leader of the group that opposed a name that was first approved by the regents.
The move comes after weeks of negotiation and months of protest when Georgia Regents University was selected Aug. 7 by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.
“We finally have found a way to agree on including Augusta in the official logo and brand name and marketing and communication efforts of the new consolidated university,” Azziz said. “That is something that will allow us to recognize the statewide efforts and the statewide relevance, and recognize our city as we move forward to become the great American university that we all expect to be.”
The name will not go back through the Board of Regents process to be changed, spokeswoman Christen Carter said.
Evans said the new brand name was “wonderful and I think this is the right thing for all in our community.”
“I want to thank everybody from the governor’s office to the chancellor to Dr. Azziz,” he said. “Everybody has been great in reaching this compromise. We are ready to rally our community and move forward.”
Changing the brand name and logo is “within the purview of the university,” Azziz said, and “has received the blessing of the chancellor.”
“That is what is important and that is what is needed,” he said. “What we will see, and what the world will see and what the state will see, will be Georgia Regents University Augusta.”
The Georgia Regents name was chosen despite a $45,000 study commissioned by a GHSU-ASU consolidation group that found University of Augusta was the top choice in all of its national, state and local surveys.
The name Georgia Regents University did not make the top three in the one survey in which it was included.
The Georgia Regents name was picked despite a cease-and-desist letter from Regent University in Virginia days before the Augusta vote . Regent University said the new name would violate the trademark on its name and filed suit in federal court, but the Georgia attorney general’s office is seeking to have the suit dismissed.
The protest took on a larger stage in late September when local business people launched the Save the A campaign, gathering thousands of signatures asking that the University of Augusta become the new name.
Hundreds of yard signs proclaiming “Save the A” dot the landscape across Augusta.
Huckaby said the campaign “played a factor in that but it wasn’t the only factor.”
The university system and all parties went into discussions with an open mind, he said, and he praised the community’s efforts to support the new university.
“I’m delighted we can move on from this point,” Huckaby said. “I have been and continue to be excited about what we are going to do here in Augusta through this university.”