“Georgia Regents University” has been recommended as the name of the consolidated Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities, according to the agenda for Tuesday’s Board of Regents meeting.
The “Recommended” item reads: “That the Board approve ‘Georgia Regents University’ as the new name for the consolidated institution of Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University effective upon receiving both SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) and BOR (Board of Regents) approval of consolidation in January 2013.”
University System spokesman John Millsaps said Friday that the regents will not be bound by the recommendation when they vote Tuesday. In May, they crafted a name for another merged school that was different from what that committee proposed.
“Just because we have a recommendation doesn’t mean that’s the name until the board actually says so,” he said.
Georgia Regents University was one of three final names selected by a committee overseeing the merger. Georgia Arts and Sciences University and University of Augusta are the other finalists.
A committee of faculty, administrators, students, alumni and community leaders have been debating the names since January. Many boosters wanted the name to reflect the city. Readers of The Augusta Chronicle voted overwhelmingly in an online poll for the University of Augusta.
There is already a Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. It was founded in 1978 by the Rev. Pat Robertson, a televangelist. A “regent” is someone who represents an absent king; in Regent’s case, that is Jesus Christ. It has 6,000 students who concentrate on law, education, business and divinity.
Robertson got the name trademarked for education purposes in the United States, according to school spokeswoman Mindy Hughes.
There is a Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, that also focuses on theology. Founded in 1968, it has 600 students.
Though some in Augusta might not like the recommended name, others are not upset.
“I don’t think a name is going to carry a university. I think the university is going to carry a name,” said Rep. Barbara Sims, R-Augusta. “Whatever is going to be beneficial to the university’s growth, I’ll support.”