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Board picks Georgia Regents University as name for consolidated school in Augusta

Tuesday, Aug 7, 2012 1:41 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Aug 8, 2012 12:30 AM
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ATLANTA — It’s Georgia Regents University after all.

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Students Brittney Laufer (left) and Jamie Lowe watch a live webcast of the Board of Regents deciding on a name for the consolidated Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities - Georgia Regents University. "I'm not quite sure how I feel about it," Laufer said. "It sounds promising."  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Students Brittney Laufer (left) and Jamie Lowe watch a live webcast of the Board of Regents deciding on a name for the consolidated Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities - Georgia Regents University. "I'm not quite sure how I feel about it," Laufer said. "It sounds promising."

After months of discussion and thousands of suggestions, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved the new name for the consolidated Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities Tuesday afternoon.

The name was one of three finalists, which included University of Augusta and Georgia Arts & Sciences University.

While acknowledging widespread opposition to the choice in Augusta, board chairman Benjamin J. Tarbutton III urged people in Augusta to get behind GHSU President Ricardo Azziz and the new name.

“It’s time to move forward and begin the next steps in the process,” he said.

The only board member to vote against the name was Vice Chairman William NeSmith Jr., who represents the 10th Congressional District, which until recently included part of Augusta.

“To a person, I haven’t found anyone supportive in the 10th Congressional District that supports Georgia Regents University,” NeSmith said. “It is widely unpopular to the people that I’ve talked to.”

Regent Tommy Hopkins, who sits on one of the boards overseeing the university’s clinical system, said he was lobbied heavily to vote for University of Augusta.

“This university is more and bigger than Augusta,” he said. To continue the expected growth, “this university needs to be marketed as more than Augusta. We need a name that donors from throughout Georgia can support and not feel they are abandoning their local colleges and universities.”

The three finalists emerged out of thousands of suggestions that went to work teams and committees, who then put out three successive “waves” of pared down lists that were subjected to statewide and national testing, said Azziz, who will oversee the consolidated university.

“This list is not one that the president came up with,” he said. But the Regents name, which was “relatively neutral” in national testing, will allow the university to continue pursuing national and international ambitions, Azziz said.

“For the university to grow and for the city of Augusta to grow along with the university, we must have our sights set on the larger state, nation and the globe,” he said.

While acknowledging student discontent with the new name, “at the end of the day, regardless of the name, we’re going to be providing a better service to those students, better education, better training and better value,” Azziz said. “And that’s what matters.”

Regents is also appropriate because “this is the first comprehensive research university in Georgia that is actually created under the guidance of the Regents,” he said.

Azziz acknowledged that there would still be a lot of work ahead to get people behind the new name.

“We’re going to have to obviously do a lot of outreach to our alumni, to our students, to our faculty, to the community and to the national community, to the statewide communities,” he said. “This doesn’t create more or less of a problem for us in our communication. We still have do a lot of work, and we will continue to do so.”

The name was approved despite a letter from Regent University in Virginia, which has trademarked the Regent name. The school enrolls 60 percent of its students online, many from Georgia. In a statement Tuesday evening, the school said it was “disappointed that Georgia’s Board of Regents chose a name that so closely resembles our school’s name, a name in which we have invested over many years. The Board’s choice will surely lead to confusion for students seeking higher educational choices. Regent University will review our options at this time and take appropriate action as warranted.”

The Georgia university system’s legal staff looked at the issue and decided it would not be a problem, said Shelley C. Nickel, the associate vice chancellor for planning and implementation.

“(Regents) is a general enough term that we don’t think we’re in any danger of it being a problem,” she said.

The new university must now apply to get an .edu domain name and finish a lengthy application process to have the merger approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. That application is expected to be completed by October, before the accrediting body’s Commission on Colleges meets in December. Final approval would likely come in January, and the name would officially take effect then.

It is the second name change for GHSU in the past two years. The old name, Medical College of Georgia, was retained only for the school of medicine, and the other schools became colleges within GHSU. Officials held off on making any major sign changes, however, when consolidation became a possibility last year.

Azziz said the school had spent about $280,000 of the $2.9 million budgeted for the name change, mainly on temporary signs and things such as letterhead and business cards. Consolidation committees could tackle other details this week, such as choosing a logo, school colors, a university seal and even what date should go on the seal, said David L. Brond, the senior vice president for communication and marketing.

Consolidation committees had already decided to keep ASU’s Jaguar mascot for the new university.

The merged university will have nearly 10,000 students and more than 1,000 full-time faculty, according to the consolidation Web site.

CANCER RESEARCH BUILDING IN BUDGET

Georgia Health Sciences University would be getting a big piece to help it pursue national recognition in cancer care under a budget request approved Tuesday.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents’ Fiscal Year 2014 capital request includes $45 million in bond funding for a new $100 million cancer research building.

“This is a major investment in Augusta,” GHSU President Ricardo Azziz said. The potential funding was made possible in part by forgoing $22 million for a classroom building at Augusta State University that is no longer needed because of the consolidation with GHSU, he said.

The cancer research building will be helpful in the university’s push to get designated as a National Cancer Institute Cancer Center, which would be the second one in Georgia after the one at Emory University.

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Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/07/12 - 01:45 pm
15
0
Bring on the lawsuits.

Bring on the lawsuits.

Dixieman
15999
Points
Dixieman 08/07/12 - 01:47 pm
16
0
Aw no

Let the litigation with Regent University in Virginia commence!
Terrible choice.

Old Timmer
260
Points
Old Timmer 08/07/12 - 01:47 pm
15
0
OMG!

I do not have the words in this forum to express how this really feels. Having been associated for over 30 years, I can now say I am ashamed of this leadership.

A.Patriot
17
Points
A.Patriot 08/07/12 - 01:51 pm
15
0
Self-Serving Garbage

I say that we write every Congressman in our district at the state and national level and demand that the Board of Regents decision is overturned. Azziz may think he is king, but he's gone as are all of the current members of the Board of Regents. The community OVERWHELMING did not want this name and it was shoved down our throats. I say that all alumni and community members ban together and protest this garbage.

Little Lamb
47048
Points
Little Lamb 08/07/12 - 01:52 pm
19
0
Trendsetting

Well, the Board of Regents is a trendsetting bunch. Instead of following tradition and naming Georgia state universities after location (Columbus, Kennesaw, Savannah, Valdosta, Fort Valley, etc.), instead of naming after persons of note (Abraham Baldwin, Armstrong, etc.), instead of naming by geography (West Georgia, Georgia Southern, North Georgia, etc.), they named it after a group of temporary, governor-appointed, political hacks.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/07/12 - 01:58 pm
14
0
No IQ Requirement

Please note that there is no IQ requirement to serve on the Board of Regents.

The only requirement is that you are tight with the Governor. In other words, you scratch his back and he scratches yours.

A name this bad can only come from political appointees.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 08/07/12 - 02:00 pm
1
2
Hey, if it makes it through

Hey, if it makes it through the court, I'll be fine with it. In light of potential litigation, I hesitate to jump on board with this. It has nothing to do with how lame the name is, just that I don't want to have the rug pulled out from under me. Congrats on your win Regents, not that you were ever threatened. Impunity is so boss!!!

MD2013
101
Points
MD2013 08/07/12 - 02:03 pm
8
0
This makes me sad.

This makes me sad.

Dnice
34
Points
Dnice 08/07/12 - 02:03 pm
5
0
Booo!

I'm not feeling this.

Little Lamb
47048
Points
Little Lamb 08/07/12 - 02:04 pm
11
0
Live Feed

During the webcast at Augusta State Ballroom, reporter Meg Mirshak tweeted this during the discussion, before the vote:

Board member: citizens have spoken loud, but in future they should know their voice will be heard

Yeah, that's right. We didn't listen to you this time, but just wait until next time. Then we will listen to you.

cdharrison
23
Points
cdharrison 08/07/12 - 02:05 pm
13
0
Disappointed.

They "listened" alright, and it went in one ear and out the other. I feel like Augusta's being Punk'd right now.

Riverman1
87157
Points
Riverman1 08/07/12 - 02:07 pm
5
2
Why Not This?

Okay, call the conglomerate Georiga Regents University, but keep the individual names of the college and med school?

bigclaude
339
Points
bigclaude 08/07/12 - 02:07 pm
11
0
Oh Great!!!!

Thurmond Lake all over again. Thanks a lot!!

To all of you empty suits at the BOR who voted for this name....GRU YOU!!!!!!!

RoadkiII
6703
Points
RoadkiII 08/07/12 - 02:07 pm
13
0
Since Dr Azizz got his way

Since Dr Azizz got his way let him personally fund the upcoming law suit to be filed by Regents University in Virginia. They even notified the board of regents that the name was trademarked. Not sure whether the board of regents qualify as idiots, imbeciles, or morons.

bdouglas
5398
Points
bdouglas 08/07/12 - 02:08 pm
10
0
Pat Robertson and his Regent

Pat Robertson and his Regent U. are about to go all 700 Club on this! Get your checkbooks ready, MCGHSUGRUTBA!

Fiat_Lux
15913
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/07/12 - 02:15 pm
12
0
Azziz is overjoyed! Gag.

Read what he just sent out while I go throw up.
__________________________________
Dear colleagues,

Today marks an important milestone in the consolidation of Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities.
I am pleased inform you that the University System of Georgia Board of Regents has selected a name that reflects the true breadth and depth of Georgia's new comprehensive university - Georgia Regents University.

It is important that our name reflect not only who we are, but what we hope to become – a leader in quality teaching and education, with a broad array of academic programs ranging from the arts and humanities to sciences and mathematics to medical and allied health education. Consider just a few of our defining characteristics:
• A $1 billion-plus enterprise with statewide and national reach
• One of only four public comprehensive research institutions in the state
• An aligned and integrated health system
• Nine colleges with nearly 10,000 students, 1,000 full-time faculty and 5,000 staff members
• More than 650 acres of campus with nearly 150 buildings
• A growing intercollegiate athletics program

Now that a name has been selected, our real mission continues in earnest –excellence in teaching, research and service - branding ourselves as the next great American university, competing with peers across the nation.

I am confident that our collective investment in the future of Georgia Regents University will be tremendous – a higher-quality university for our community, a greater portfolio of offerings for our students and added collaborative opportunities for our faculty and staff. Georgia Regents University will contribute to the health of the local and state economies like never before.

With the continued support of our campus communities, alumni and local citizens, we will move forward into the future and continue to build one of the best and most treasured resources of this nation.

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Ricardo Azziz, MD, MPH, MBA
President, Georgia Health Sciences University, and
CEO, Georgia Health Sciences Health System

augustarookie
300
Points
augustarookie 08/07/12 - 02:09 pm
11
0
unbelievable

This is so ridiculous and may be the worst name they could pick.

bdouglas
5398
Points
bdouglas 08/07/12 - 02:11 pm
4
0
uofaugusta.com is available

uofaugusta.com is available still, y'all. (c:

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 08/07/12 - 02:15 pm
12
1
Goes to show, like all of it,

Goes to show, like all of it, it was always a back room transaction The top at ASU knew long before the cat was let of the bag. Just as the name was decided prior to all the hoopla of discussion.

Reminds me of someone I knew in business who was known for his policy of "we can negotiate as long as you like, but we will end up in the same place." I did love his honesty.

Stand by and up, Pat Robertson

downthecrapper
63
Points
downthecrapper 08/07/12 - 02:15 pm
15
1
Campaigning against the BOR

I seriously want to move back to Georgia so that I can run for the Georgia State Senate (not the US Senate) with the sole mission of abolishing the BOR. I think that they are the most worthless, arrogant group of individuals. AND THEY ARE UNELECTED. How is that even American?? They control one of the largest budgets in the state and the tax payers have no say in who gets on the board. The board completely lacks diversity (age/gender/university attended/ethnicity) and the only reason the individuals were selected to serve their prospective area is because they have been large donors to previous or current Governors.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 08/07/12 - 02:15 pm
10
1
i would like to call on all

i would like to call on all members of MCG ASU faculty staff students and alumni to reject the foisting of this name through civil disobedience. refuse to use the new moniker

straightshooter
90
Points
straightshooter 08/07/12 - 02:17 pm
12
0
Definition of Regent:

A member of the governing board of a state university... huh? Georgia Member of the Governing Board of a State University University!! It's like the board was tooting their own horn with the name... Sorry, I'll just have to say I'm an ASU alumnus.

KSL
134766
Points
KSL 08/07/12 - 02:18 pm
6
2
Quoting my spouse, "I would

Quoting my spouse, "I would hate to be a Georgia Regents University new teacher.......GRUNT."

grinder48
2019
Points
grinder48 08/07/12 - 02:20 pm
0
1
?! WHAT !?
Unpublished

I wrote numerous times in these comments and will repeat ... who the #@!!% does this azziz person think he is? Who the #@!!% is he to come meddling in our affirs, wanting to close down main arteries of the city, combine ouir schools and name them GRUNT. He needs to be run out of town! Is he kin to Terik Azziz, the sleezeball Deputy Prime Minister under Sadam Hussein? And who the bejezis is Benjamin J. Tarbutton III to tell Augustans they need to "get behind" ricardo azziz? Flip him! I am shocked this utterly ridiculous name passed given the volume and intensity of the opposition raised. This is a travesty!

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/07/12 - 02:20 pm
11
0
Azziz Sign Stimulus...

And the sign makers rejoice yet again!

Paid to change MCG's name.

Paid to change MCG's name again.

Paid to change to ASU's name.

Paid to change everything back after the lawsuit.

downthecrapper
63
Points
downthecrapper 08/07/12 - 02:21 pm
13
0
Call for open records

Augustans should demand open records. Look into how much BOR members donated in previous elections. What are the qualifications Governors look at in who they nominate? What perks do board members get (i.e. travel, hotels, gifts)? How much do Universities spend hosting board members (i.e. President Michael Adams at UGA sky box tailgates, Azziz at parties)? How much do their meetings cost? How many staff members do the BOR members have? How much do the staff members get paid and what is their total benefit package? Let's do a cost benefit analysis to determine if they are REALLY benefitting higher education in Georgia. There are VERY few states that have Board of Regents. Lets look at otehr alternatives.

Fiat_Lux
15913
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/07/12 - 02:26 pm
14
0
The only problem with public protest

is that even though NOBODY at MCG likes GRUnt U, if you don't hide your identity while protesting, Azziz will fire your butt.

It's just like Iran over here.

Trouble
2506
Points
Trouble 08/07/12 - 02:26 pm
10
0
Georgia Regents University

sounds like a fly by night online college, yep, that is gonna draw lots of students, i really hope they plan on dropping the price of tuition to reflect the drop in prestige that the new name will cause.

noway
201
Points
noway 08/07/12 - 02:28 pm
11
0
really?

The Regents should have asked to see the actual national test results. Was GRU really at the top? I bet it wasn't even the top two? This is the name Azziz wanted and it's too bad that he didn't pick the name that came out on top of the test marketing. Now there's an open records request....but obvious from the Regents Board Meeting, this was a done deal. So sad. But hey, it's not a democracy. I hope we do get GRU and the Minions as our mascots...they are cute at least!

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 08/07/12 - 02:30 pm
13
0
It sounds like an online

It sounds like an online diploma mill. Is there anyone out there that wants a diploma on their wall that says "Georgia Regents University?"

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