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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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Riverman1
93431
Points
Riverman1 08/07/12 - 01:33 pm
7
1
Question for all of you

ALL public colleges in the state are managed by the Georgia Regents. Why not just call them all Georgia Regents University?

eltomoisblessed
25
Points
eltomoisblessed 08/07/12 - 01:33 pm
13
0
Bad Idea

I currently attend Regent University in Virginia and I think that the Regents making this decision to rename the school using the "Regents" name are sadly mistaken if they do not think Regent University will not take corrective action based on this current situation. They asked you kindly in a letter. That was the first step.

Riverman1
93431
Points
Riverman1 08/07/12 - 01:36 pm
9
1
Shouldn't there be a

Shouldn't there be a possession mark behind the s in Regents? Georgia Regents' University? I can't believe I'm actually trying to figure out the grammar of this stupid name.

Riverman1
93431
Points
Riverman1 08/07/12 - 01:38 pm
5
1
The college should give back

The college should give back the two NCAA National Championship Golf trophies since they have a totally unrelated name on them.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 08/07/12 - 01:38 pm
6
0
Augustans that work at and

Augustans that work at and support these 2 Universities were not worth inclusion. Appreciate the confidence and being so predictable BoR. Congratulation on seizing our school and renaming it after yourselves. Good ole Pretentious Univ, err, Regents University.

Riverman1
93431
Points
Riverman1 08/07/12 - 01:39 pm
2
1
Georgia Regents University

Georgia Regents University Medical School? How's that going to work?

ARC fan
187
Points
ARC fan 08/07/12 - 01:41 pm
9
0
Donations

Take me off your alumni donor list asap! I've supported AC and ASU in the past but I didn't graduate from GRU so I feel no attachment or reason to continue to support.

Riverman1
93431
Points
Riverman1 08/07/12 - 01:43 pm
8
1
Someone find Countyman and

Someone find Countyman and offer grief counseling. Then have them come by my house.

Dnice
34
Points
Dnice 08/07/12 - 01:44 pm
8
0
Well

Maybe Doc can do something with Regents-y Mall.

KSL
143451
Points
KSL 08/07/12 - 01:44 pm
7
1
I hope there are all kinds of

I hope there are all kinds of political ramifications to this incredible egotistical decision.

Someone ought to start a fund in Augusta for Regents U of VA's lawsuit.

Shaky Main
50
Points
Shaky Main 08/07/12 - 01:47 pm
10
0
Lawsuit

If the administration of the Regent University in Virginia decides to sue the Georgia Board of Regents for this trademark infringement, I will seriously consider contributing to the lawsuit. At this point, it seems that only legal action can force the BOR to consider another name. Not "cool!"

Little Lamb
48919
Points
Little Lamb 08/07/12 - 01:50 pm
11
0
Power

From the story above, Dr. Azziz said, “The word ‘regent’ is defined as having great power. . . .”

Well, then, let's just call it Georgia Power University!

catfish20
294
Points
catfish20 08/07/12 - 01:51 pm
11
0
The Board of Regents just

The Board of Regents just spit in the face of Augusta.

mchastainga
152
Points
mchastainga 08/07/12 - 02:01 pm
11
0
GRADUATED - OR recently COMMITED?

SORRY - not to offend anyone but GA Regents?
apply for a job...GA Regents... GA Regional...hmm...did you do time or did you graduate...not sure...next resume...really did this get thought out? Come on people - obviously it was not up to the "people" to choose only the big money and big goverment. So sad this could have been a positive change for everyone involved.

HighSociety
1841
Points
HighSociety 08/07/12 - 02:07 pm
6
0
RM, Maybe we can get a group

RM, Maybe we can get a group discount.

Little Lamb
48919
Points
Little Lamb 08/07/12 - 02:07 pm
8
1
Georgia Regional

Good post, mchastain.

HighSociety
1841
Points
HighSociety 08/07/12 - 02:08 pm
14
0
You know it's bad when we ALL

You know it's bad when we ALL agree.

Little Lamb
48919
Points
Little Lamb 08/07/12 - 02:08 pm
8
0
Retaliation

The Board of Regents is going to get back at you students who criticise the new name. They're going to raise your tuition next year!

Cricket Seranade
20
Points
Cricket Seranade 08/07/12 - 02:09 pm
10
0
Somehow I've lost my school spirit...

Never thought Phoenix or Strayer would sound pretty good.

Riverman1
93431
Points
Riverman1 08/07/12 - 02:09 pm
6
1
As the Church Lady Says Isn't that Special

• College of Coastal Georgia, Brunswick
• East Georgia College, Swainsboro
• Georgia College, Milledgeville
• Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville
• Georgia Highlands College, Rome
• Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
• Georgia Perimeter College, Decatur
• Georgia State University, Atlanta
• Georgia Southern University, Statesboro
• Georgia Southwestern State University, Americus
• Middle Georgia College, Cochran
• North Georgia College and State University, Dahlonega
• South Georgia College, Douglas
• University of Georgia, Athens
• University of West Georgia, Carrollton
• Central Georgia Technical College, Macon
• Georgia Northwestern Technical College, Rome
• Heart of Georgia Technical College
• Middle Georgia Technical College, Warner Robins
• North Georgia Technical College, Clarkesville
• South Georgia Technical College, Americus
• Southwest Georgia Technical College, Thomasville
• West Georgia Technical College, Waco
• Georgia Military College
• Christian College of Georgia

Newsflash
1925
Points
Newsflash 08/07/12 - 02:11 pm
12
0
While acknowledging ......................................

While acknowledging opposition to the choice, board chairman Benjamin J. Tarbutton III urged people in Augusta to get behind President Ricardo Azziz and the new name.....ONLY if he is loaded up in his car and we are pushing him out of the state of Georgia will i get behind him.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/07/12 - 02:11 pm
8
0
At least he is honest

Azziz said "regent" means "power."

Exactly, it's all about power with this guy.

He is soooo cool.

404Law
226
Points
404Law 08/07/12 - 02:12 pm
8
0
As an ASU alumn

...and a tenured professor at a major research institution, this is a horrible day for other alumni. Trust me, students who apply with a degree from Georgia Regents University will be at a HUGE disadvantage. It signals very poor academic pedigree, due in large part to its association with Regents University in Virginia. Student enrollment at Georgia Regents University (especially in its medical and graduate programs) will take a huge hit. And, the university is going to experience a tough time recruiting top scholars in their respective fields. This is what happens when uninformed people make these kinds of decisions. Pathetic.

Paintbrush365
12
Points
Paintbrush365 08/07/12 - 02:13 pm
9
0
Poor Choice

High Society makes a great point - When all posters agree, the name is BAD.

Fiat_Lux
16419
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/07/12 - 02:17 pm
11
0
You should see people's faces here

at good old MCG.

If the new stupidity is mentioned, people look dejected.

Little Lamb
48919
Points
Little Lamb 08/07/12 - 02:16 pm
6
0
Georgia Military College

Hey, we have a Georgia Military College campus at 115 Davis Road in Martinez. Why don't they just go ahead and merge that with GRU, too?

Hey, while I was typing that I had a brainstorm. First, go ahead with the merger and name change as planned. Then, about a year from now, Georgia Military College, Martinez Campus, petititions to be merged into GRU. That, of course, would require a name change! Bye, bye, GRU. Out with the old and in with the new.

gaptomom
143
Points
gaptomom 08/07/12 - 02:17 pm
7
0
Diluted brand

An online university thinks that if we use the name GRU it is going to dilute it's bran. Just imagine the reality of how this is going to dilute the prestiege that all of the MCG/GHSU/ASU staff and students have worked to bring about over the years when people think that we are an online college from VA. Rumor had it that Azziz came here to "uncool" Augusta only because he was told at the institution where he wanted to be hired that he needed to make a name for himself....well, he is sure doing that, isn't he?

KSL
143451
Points
KSL 08/07/12 - 02:17 pm
6
1
I say boycott the name.

I say boycott the name. Refuse to purchase anything you can with the new name on it.

404Law
226
Points
404Law 08/07/12 - 02:18 pm
9
0
To add...

I am so frustrated by this...what an ignorant thing to do! Ugh. I will NOT continue to send annual contributions to this school. No disrespect to Bloodworth (and the ASU family) who are responsible, in part, for my academic and career successes. But, this is the only way I know how to constructively send a message about my discontent.

Ok. I have vented. I'm done. Please, no negative comments about my post today. I'm hurting already.

kkk2234
16
Points
kkk2234 08/07/12 - 02:19 pm
9
0
BARF!

I have worked hard to get where I am within the Physician Assistant program at Georgia Health Sciences University (Medical College of Georgia as we STILL call it). When on rotations (out of the Augusta area), I tell my patients and fellow colleagues what school I attend, and they all know of it and the reputable reputation which makes them know they are in good hands. When I tell them I'm a student at Georgia Regents University, I fear for what they will do.

When patients hear their doctor or dentist or physical therapist or nurse graduated from Georgia Regents University (as GRUesome as it is), patients will shudder thinking DIPLOMA MILL and I don't want this fella treating me.

How do we go about protesting this? Who do we write to get this changed?

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