Those supporting Georgia Regents University will be sporting blue and silver gray next year. But for at least the rest of this academic year, fans will still cheer on the Augusta State University Jaguars.
The colors for the consolidated Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities received 55 percent of the votes in a survey of 46,000 students, faculty, staff and alumni, the university announced Thursday.
A total of 6,357 votes were cast, with 68.7 percent, or 4,372, coming from Georgia. The largest response came from alumni, 36.2 percent, and students made up 29.2 percent.
The response rate, 13.7 percent, was in the 10 percent to 20 percent range that other consolidating University System of Georgia schools saw in their surveys, said David L. Brond, the senior vice president for communications and marketing.
“I felt comfortable that we were hitting a survey response rate of 10 to 20 percent, given the fact that it is the end of the semester, it is the end of the calendar year, it is the holiday season,” he said. “Because we had a good representation of alums and faculty and staff and students, 14 percent is a good number.”
Blue was part of both color combinations in the survey because it was one of Augusta State’s traditional colors.
Because of NCAA rules, the Jaguar teams must finish out the academic year competing as Augusta State, Brond said. The Jaguar will be retained as the mascot, and work has begun on what it will look like for the new university, he said.
“One of the things we’re working on is how to draw the Jaguar icon,” Brond said. “It has been drawn a bunch of different ways by a bunch of different people and (we need) to have some consistency of that mark.”
Those taking the survey also chose a logo and seal for the new university, both of which will include the name Augusta even though it is not part of the official name.
After the new name was chosen in August, Augusta business leaders launched a campaign to get Augusta in the name. In a compromise, university officials agreed to make its brand Georgia Regents University Augusta. That name that will appear on all of its materials, such as letterhead, shirts and caps.
The consolidation was approved Tuesday by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The state Board of Regents is expected to give its final blessing Jan. 8 meeting and will then appoint GHSU President Ricardo Azziz as the new president.
The new university’s brand will not appear in public until after that vote, and then a long process for changing stationery, signs and apparel will begin, Brond said.
It will not be a matter of at “midnight on Jan. 10 all of a sudden the signs are all going to change,” he said. “It’s too costly to do it that way, and it is just not the most efficient way of doing it. This will be a process over time.”
There was a need for new signs, and money was set aside in the budget before GHSU was created in February 2011. Little was spent except for temporary signs with the new name after the possibility of consolidation was raised later that year. Those old plans for GHSU are being “dusted off” and updated to include the Summerville campus, but that process will take time, Brond said.
Noting that at least one of the survey winners was not his personal choice, Brond recalled the university’s promise to abide by the results.
“When we said we were going to survey people, the university community, we did actually take the results and this is what the selection was,” Brond said. “I can tell you that everybody in this organization, from Dr. Azziz to the students, had one vote. This is where we’re going.”
Like many students on both campuses, second-year medical student Harrison Grace was preparing for exams and not focusing on the results of the survey.
“Everyone is kind of busy and not really paying attention to it,” he said. The end results were neither “offensive or “inspiring” but “a little bland,” Grace said.
What they will provide is what the end result of the consolidation should be, he said.
“A clean slate,” Grace said.