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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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404Law
226
Points
404Law 08/07/12 - 03:22 pm
5
0
kkk2234

...i never thought i would agree with someone with the initials kkk....but i am in total agreement with you. u should be worried

specsta
6592
Points
specsta 08/07/12 - 03:25 pm
1
16
Spoiled

This is really interesting. People are up-in-arms about a name change. Folks are ready to protest and commit acts of civil disobedience. People are angry and depressed.

Over a name change.

Americans truly are one spoiled bunch of people. There are people around the world trying to eat a meal, clothe themselves or get medical help for their dying child. No one is depressed about that. But a name change? Bring on the pitchforks and torches!

Jake
32872
Points
Jake 08/07/12 - 03:27 pm
9
0
Hmmm....It does have a ring to it

Kind of like the old joke, "What is brown and sounds like a bell?"
"Dung!"
The name sounds like some sort of punishment, you know, like "Your punishment is twenty licks with the Board of Regents".

404Law
226
Points
404Law 08/07/12 - 03:27 pm
6
0
Classic example...

...of a University president thinking that they know better than the students, faculty, and staff...Thinking that the only people they need to appease are the board and the regents. When you lose the buy-in of the students, the faculty, and the faculty senate, where will that leave you? If they are questioning your judgement about the 'brand' of the university, you know they will begin to question your judgement about other thinngs not as important. University brand is VERY important. And right now, your brand is about as good as Cat batteries - ugh, I am so frustrated I can't even think of a bad brand. UGH! Trust me, you will be in a lonely place my friend.

KSL
134450
Points
KSL 08/07/12 - 03:28 pm
4
1
Hit them in the pocketbook.

Hit them in the pocketbook.

404Law
226
Points
404Law 08/07/12 - 03:31 pm
6
0
specta...

i will just say that brand is important...it's the first thing a prospective student or parent or faculty sees or hears or touches. if people are not wearing your university sweatshirts; not putting the bumper sticker on their cars; not expressing school pride; then you are losing money...and universities these days use a business model...this is how they stay open

Just My Opinion
5866
Points
Just My Opinion 08/07/12 - 03:32 pm
9
0
Hope they don't start

Hope they don't start changing any of the signs or letterheads just yet...wait until the lawsuit is decided! You know, Dr.Azziz really reminds me of the megalomaniac president over at UGA. Forget everyone else's opinions...it's HIS way or the highway! This was obviously Azziz's choice from the beginning. It'll be interesting.

KSL
134450
Points
KSL 08/07/12 - 03:34 pm
3
1
I wonder if the underlying

I wonder if the underlying thinking behind all this is to effect the ultimate move of the health sciences to Athens?

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 08/07/12 - 03:34 pm
7
0
I understand athletic

I understand athletic recruiters at ASU are cringing about the new name pick. However they were asked to remove their objections from social media sites. Oooh. The chilling effect. If employees are not allowed to speak their mind on a University campus then we may as well throw in the towel and bring the troops on home. Freedom of speech, not guaranteed if you want a job.

404Law
226
Points
404Law 08/07/12 - 03:35 pm
5
0
specta...to clarify

i don't mean that bumper stickers, sweatshirts, et cetera contribute much to a universities budget...what i am saying is that marketing will suffer...and so goes the tuition dollars; can't attract top faculty and so goes the federal research dollars; and alumni upset and there goes the university development fund. that's what i mean

Riverman1
86917
Points
Riverman1 08/07/12 - 03:36 pm
4
1
Strange Feeling

I get the feeling that when we tell someone it's Georgia Regents University, they'll say, yeah, but what's the name? Know what I mean? It's like we all know about the regents, but what's the school's name? Strange feeling. I mean I possibly could have tolerated one of those other names with Georgia. Anything but regents.

agrit
178
Points
agrit 08/07/12 - 03:35 pm
11
0
It has never been about the

It has never been about the university, the colleges, the faculty, staff, or students .. it has always been about Azziz. He wasn't going to be president of an overgrown medical school in an uncool town. He changed the name once and he outgrew that quickly with the takeover of ASU. So with this new name, he certainly wasn't going to insert the name of the town that he finds uncool.

Georgia Regents University - can't you feel it? It exerts the power that the little man so desperately feeds off of. After all, he was able to get the name voted in with all this adversity ....

Oh please ... I think I'm beginning myself sick ...

downthecrapper
63
Points
downthecrapper 08/07/12 - 03:35 pm
4
0
It's not just the name

SPECTA: It's not just about the name. It's about the future of Georgia that people are concerned with. The Medical College of Georgia is the state's ONLY public academic medical school. It's where future Georgia physicians should be trained. The Medical College of Georgia was the answer for the state's nursing shortage. Augusta State University was a place for local students to get a great "home grown" education. A place for many first generation college graduates to pursue their dreams.

The name change was symbolic of a new day in Georgia. The crisis in identity will deter some of the brightest Georgia college students from pursuing their medical education in their home state. These students will go to our neighbors UAB, MUSC and Vanderbilt for their education and as MCG often points out--will be a factor in their long term decision about where eventually set up practice.

Riverman1
86917
Points
Riverman1 08/07/12 - 03:39 pm
6
1
My friend Agrit said, "It

My friend Agrit said, "It exerts the power that the little man so desperately feeds off of." Anyone who has to work that hard to exert his dominance is a wannabe.

agrit
178
Points
agrit 08/07/12 - 03:41 pm
6
0
Agree

100% RM ... it's really pathetic.

Fools_and_sages
360
Points
Fools_and_sages 08/07/12 - 03:51 pm
6
1
The meaning of regent
Unpublished

The primary meaning of "regent" has nothing to do with a supervising body for a university. The primary meaning of "regent" is "leader" as in "monarch."

kiwiinamerica
950
Points
kiwiinamerica 08/07/12 - 03:53 pm
1
0
Will a former televangelist please pick up the courtesy phone!
Unpublished

Pat Robertson.......come on down!!!

You are our only hope!! Only YOU can save us!

Did I just say that?

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/07/12 - 03:53 pm
5
0
Jealousy

I bet the other schools run by the Board of Regents overlords are jealous.

Riverman1
86917
Points
Riverman1 08/07/12 - 03:59 pm
5
1
Insider, Funny

The key point I get is it's not a done deal until Jan. Or is this just wishful thinking on my part? I told y'all Friday we had to get EVERYONE involved.

Remember what I said about getting Bob Young and Larry Sconyers on this like a drunk Mayor Boris Yeltsin jumping on the tanks trying to come into Moscow.

Deke's automatic car starter is fixed to go off at the word "controversy" and had his little BMW half way to Hilton Head before Deke could find his Speedos and catch up.

abeecee
147
Points
abeecee 08/07/12 - 04:07 pm
5
0
GRUesome.

Now I know how they felt at the Boston Tea party! Vexation without representation! A high-handed, imperial... dare I say, Regal decision. Who are these Regents dudes, anyway? (And I do mean dudes. Of the 17, 16 are male, and 16 are white. So very representative of our state.) PS not a one from the Augusta area.

Little Lamb
46920
Points
Little Lamb 08/07/12 - 04:12 pm
3
0
Welcome Back

It was great to hear from you, Agrit.

skeptical
84
Points
skeptical 08/07/12 - 04:12 pm
1
0
New U Mascot

I believe this is why the BoR chose Ga Regents Univ as the new name - we don't have to come up with a new mascot for the school and can just use this outstanding character: http://despicableme.wikia.com/wiki/Gru

Somehow he reminds me of Ricky A.

Sweet son
10736
Points
Sweet son 08/07/12 - 04:13 pm
3
0
Man You Last Few who posted are good!!!!!!!!!!!!

You have that little man Clark Kent look alike pegged!!! I had the same thoughts as many of you but Cricket said it best. I just hope his comment stays up. AC police I agree with Cricket!!! I also realized that Dr. Cool didn't know the definition of regent. He laid his pitiful hand on the table when he mentioned power! And power is all that he is interested in. He is a sad little piece of you know what! The person who is the president of a universtiy should be interested in only one thing and that is teaching students. I can't say the things that I want to in this forum but you better believe his ears should be burning. But he doesn't care! Damn!

kiwiinamerica
950
Points
kiwiinamerica 08/07/12 - 04:13 pm
1
0
Fiasco
Unpublished

Looking ahead, I don't see any upside to this.

Let's assume that the gang in Virginia sue us and we have to ditch the word "Regents". That would mean yet another name change. Three name changes, all in the space of 2-3 years. What are we? A cheap motel that gets bought out and changes its sign every 12 months? At this point, we're into the realm of the farcical, the utterly ridiculous.

What academic institution of any gravitas changes its name in such a haphazard and improvised manner?

At this point heads MUST roll. There's no other option.

agrit
178
Points
agrit 08/07/12 - 04:19 pm
3
0
Little Lamb08/07/12 - 04:12 pm

Welcome Back

It was great to hear from you, Agrit

Thank you LL. :-)

Cricket ... I tried to say it, but you said it much better than me. :-)

Fiat_Lux
15912
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/07/12 - 04:24 pm
4
0
I told you guys,

It's like Iran over here. No protesting or even dissension will be tolerated.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/07/12 - 04:26 pm
4
1
All hail the Regents!

When I was scoping out colleges back in the day, I didn't care about academics, athletics or any of that silly stuff.

My one criteria for choosing a place of higher learning was "power."

Riverman1
86917
Points
Riverman1 08/07/12 - 04:34 pm
4
0
I described a certain local official as Caspar Milquetoast

I used to describe a certain local official as Caspar Milquetoast some may remember, but I was told if I didn't stop doing that I would be banned. I wonder if the Chronicle would reconsider after these recent events?

CryoCyberTronics
392
Points
CryoCyberTronics 08/07/12 - 04:33 pm
3
0
GBOR And God"s Will Georgia Regents University Really

Augusta Georgia Home of The Universal Government Kimgdom of GOD...!!! One thing do sure Mr Azzie dose not have a say in it. He better hope he never is call upon to go through "Gods Will"...!!! I personal would like to see him have to go through "Gods Will" or the "Devil's Will" as it"'s sometimes called. Just to see how really smart he is.

cops140
25
Points
cops140 08/07/12 - 04:35 pm
4
0
Do Like I Did

Do like I did and go to this site and call every one of the regents and let them know how you feel. Tell their secretaries you want them to call you back and voice your opinions about the matter. Leave voicemails. Ask questions about how we can change this decision. Don’t just sit idly by and let Azizz and the BOR walk over us the students, the employees, the faculty and the city. Stand up and be heard on this. Oh don’t be shocked when you get a disconnect notice from at least one of the numbers on there… http://www.usg.edu/regents/members

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