Distaste lingered Tuesday afternoon among many in Augusta over the name approved by the Georgia Board of Regents for the city’s new consolidated university despite strong objections to it.
“I don’t know why they would name it this,” Kaitlyn Browning, a student in the College of Allied Health Sciences at Georgia Health Sciences University, said of the new name: Georgia Regents University. “I don’t think I’ve heard a single person that’s liked this at all.”
Browning said she’s “irritated” that GHSU has its second name change in two years.
Chris Nabholz, a junior at Augusta State University, feels the Board of Regents did not consider input from students or the community.
“They’re obviously not in it for us,” Nabholz said.
After watching a live feed of the board meeting at the student activities center, he fears that GHSU President Ricardo Azziz is more concerned with the prospects of a research university than with the student body. Ultimately, Nabholz hopes students can develop pride in the new name.
“We’re still the Jaguars,” he said. “We will come together as Jaguar nation and will slowly, but surely, come together as Georgia Regents University.”
Mayor Deke Copenhaver said he regrets that Augusta was not included in the consolidated university’s new name. While the mayor said he doesn’t prefer Georgia Regents University, he hopes the city, students and alumni can embrace it.
“I’ve got to trust that the committee did their due diligence and the regents did theirs as well,” Copenhaver said.
On the other side of the debate, ASU junior Jamie Lowe was excited about the new name and its acronym, GRU.
“It’s really great. A strong name that’s very reflective of what we’re trying to do and convey,” she said. “Either way, it’s just a name. What we’re trying to do is bigger than a name.”
The Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau said it hopes the new university will develop a branding strategy tied to Augusta.
“Anytime the word Augusta is said or heard, it helps to keep our destination top-of-mind and reinforce our brand,” said Peggy Seigler, the vice president of sales and marketing for the convention and visitors bureau.
Commissioner Jerry Brigham, who wanted Augusta included in the name, said the city must make the best of the situation.
“I guess we don’t really know enough about the inner workings of the Board of Regents to know how they came to their decision,” he said.
ASU Director of Athletics Clint Bryant said in a news release that the school will begin competing as Georgia Regents University in the fall of 2013.