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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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Newsflash
1881
Points
Newsflash 08/07/12 - 07:50 pm
4
0
How long..........tell me how long ?

When the good Dr. arrives at OZ.........I hope they have not run out of brains ! Thumbs up if your'e happy your'e last name isnt Azziz . How long will it take the A C to delete this post ?

blues550
368
Points
blues550 08/07/12 - 07:58 pm
0
1
ignor Azziz
Unpublished

Just osdtrsasize the guy. Make him feel unwelcome. He needs to go.

countyman
19527
Points
countyman 08/07/12 - 08:09 pm
4
6
I find it hilarious somebody

I find it hilarious somebody who bashes Richmond County constantly would actually think the people living in RC would band together with him... Especially when you're falling into the category of which people in RC don't like.. The people who live in CC who act like they're so much better even though West Augusta, Summerville, Forest Hills, CBD, etc are richer than the majority of areas in CC.. There's people in Richmond County who try and make it seem the people living in CC are snobs, but the city limits of Grovetown(not the Gateway, Columbia rd, etc), and Harlem are very far from being upper middle class... So there's ignorance all the way around, and sometimes Aiken residents might feel they have to take sides..

If you continue to have the same people bring up the TEE center which got approved by voters, but not the exhibition hall in their own county who didn't have an vote... How can you expect metro Augusta to actually come together? There's a problem sometimes in terms of working together mostly between Richmond/Columbia, and the local media plays right into the divide... They try to put Columbia County together with Richmond County like it's not a suburb, but that's similar to comparing Mcduffie/Columbia in terms of population..

The last time I checked the most successful cities usually have great regional leadership.. I didn't see the mayors of North Augusta/Aiken, or Ron Cross in CC make their name suggestions publicly to the regents/media...

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 08/07/12 - 08:08 pm
2
7
KUDOS to Dr. Azziz...

for withstanding the vociferous, provincially-minded hordes who're less interested in the long term potential afforded "our new U" by the selected name than they are in chastising a bold, creative leader for promoting it.

walrus4ever
354
Points
walrus4ever 08/07/12 - 08:12 pm
4
0
This will last only about 20

This will last only about 20 years. Then it will have a Chinese name thanks to the hacks who showed these arrogant blue bloods the way to do business. It gives a new level of meaning to "pompous" and "indifferent". Now all that remains is to reengineer the mascot for ASU. It must reflect "coolness" and the PC of academia to be appropriate. My suggestions:

The Tofus

The Ivory Towers

The Marie Antoinettes

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/07/12 - 08:13 pm
5
1
countyman
Unpublished

Countryman, I'm not so sure I understand the point of your post except for assertion that socio-economic status determines a person's "worth" or one's "betterment" standing. You want to rethink and clarify that??

KSL
124790
Points
KSL 08/07/12 - 08:33 pm
2
2
Last time I checked, the

Last time I checked, the mayor of Richmond County, or whatever he is called mayor of, doesn't meddle in Aiken affairs. I have a right to voice my opinion because there has not been a year since 1965 that we didn't pay Georgia income taxes. Don't need to pay much in Georgia sales taxes any more, thankfully.

KSL
124790
Points
KSL 08/07/12 - 08:31 pm
2
1
Oh, and I thought they spent

Oh, and I thought they spent several thousand dollars buying up possible edu names. Wasn't that reported?

cops140
25
Points
cops140 08/07/12 - 08:36 pm
4
0
How about an interview?

How about one of the news outlets get an interview with Azizz and ask him the really hard questions as to why he didnt go with any of the choices of the students or employees? Or why he did the backdoor runaround to get all the board members to vote on HIS selected name that HE wanted. Lets get someone to sit down with him and ask him why he even went through this whole charade. Someone needs to make him answer for all of this.

Dixieman
13861
Points
Dixieman 08/07/12 - 08:52 pm
2
0
Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 08/07/12 - 09:08 pm
3
2
If county man is truly the

If county man is truly the official unofficial spokesperson of RC, they certainly need to appoint a new one.

River, you feeling the love yet?

Georgialina
7441
Points
Georgialina 08/07/12 - 09:12 pm
4
0
Horrible Name

The name GRU has got to be one of the worst things to happen to two fine schools. I am a grad of the old Augusta College, ASU was hard to accept at first but at least it carried respect. Georgia Regents only showcases a blowhard's ego. I heard the name Georgia Rejects University used today while I was at GHSU. I think the name should be "The James Brown Downtown College of Knowledge" At least we could laugh at that instead of being a laughing stock!!!

paperwren
24
Points
paperwren 08/07/12 - 09:16 pm
3
0
Ridiculous name.

I figured they'd come up with a name that actually meant something. This name is ridiculous. It should have remained the Medical College of Georgia. Did Georgia Tech (Georgia Institute of Technology) feel the need to add University to its name at any point? Did they feel that they needed to list all of their non-technology related degrees in their name? What about Cal Tech, MIT, etc. ? No, because they realize that people are intelligent enough to know that schools contain multiple degree programs and that a good name is worth holding onto.

countyman
19527
Points
countyman 08/07/12 - 09:27 pm
2
4
Not working together is only

Not working together is only hurting the MSA/CSRA, and nobody else... The metro area could be experiencing tons of additional developments similar to Bridgestone, Starbucks, and Rockwood,.. The only problem is each county mainly works on their own, but not together collectively to create an regional brand...

I would hope the mayor of Augusta would get involved in certain issues related to Aiken(SRS affects everybody in the CSRA)...

KSL
124790
Points
KSL 08/07/12 - 09:43 pm
2
2
You just want the benefit of

You just want the benefit of the surrounding counties' efforts, countyman, because the politics of Richmond County are such that they are. Richmond County has a serious racial divide that other surrounding counties don't seem to have.

Skooter
64
Points
Skooter 08/07/12 - 09:44 pm
2
1
changes can be good...

new name/new buildings, etc., but it is important for readers to know that there have been no pay raises for any GA state employee for the last 5 years and there has been no moratorium on hiring or building new buildings during that same time! campus spending increased 30% over the year before. jeez!!

countyman
19527
Points
countyman 08/07/12 - 09:55 pm
2
3
Why would I just want the

Why would I just want the benefit of the surrounding counties? The surrounding counties depend on Richmond more than any other county in the metro by far... I only want the entire area to grow including the smaller counties in the area(Edgefield, Burke, and Mcduffie)...

The media can't make anything race related in CC or AC, because the overwhelmingly majority of the leaders are white republicans males...

A white male got over 60% of the vote in Richmond County during two straight elections... Let's see if a black male can take the job of Ron Cross, or be elected the mayor of Aiken/North Augusta..

KSL
124790
Points
KSL 08/07/12 - 10:17 pm
2
2
Depend on Richmond for what?

Depend on Richmond for what? Trauma treatment? But that's because of the Feds. Which citizens of the counties have the buying power per capita, CM? Perhaps, Richmond is dependent on Columbia and Aiken, and other surrounding counties when people come to town.

allhans
23471
Points
allhans 08/07/12 - 10:21 pm
3
0
As the old saying goes, "pick

As the old saying goes, "pick your battles". This one is lost....

mloyd9312
7
Points
mloyd9312 08/07/12 - 10:31 pm
5
0
this is the worst name

this is the worst name ever...thank you political hack jobs

KSL
124790
Points
KSL 08/07/12 - 10:36 pm
2
2
Which battle, allhans? There

Which battle, allhans? There seem to be several going on.

wmcgee
5
Points
wmcgee 08/07/12 - 11:47 pm
3
0
new name

Does the mean the campus in Athens will also be called GRU?

crossyourarms
211
Points
crossyourarms 08/08/12 - 12:05 am
4
0
"We need a name that donors

"We need a name that donors from throughout Georgia can support and not feel they are abandoning their local colleges and universities."

What?? ::scratches head::

crossyourarms
211
Points
crossyourarms 08/08/12 - 12:13 am
3
1
The National Cancer Institute

The National Cancer Institute is currently funding about 5% of research proposals. And we're going to build ANOTHER cancer research BUILDING? Didn't we just finish one about 3 years ago? Isn't there still empty space within? Didn't the highly sought-after director of said cancer institute jump ship after less than 2 years in Augusta?

crossyourarms
211
Points
crossyourarms 08/08/12 - 12:17 am
3
0
By the way, the late Pat

By the way, the late Pat Robertson will be suing for stealing his U's name.

bentman
455
Points
bentman 08/08/12 - 12:35 am
3
1
Sounds like . . .

Georgia Regents . . . sounds a little like Georgia Regional

...point to ponder
743
Points
...point to ponder 08/08/12 - 12:44 am
4
0
poor decision...very costly

Bad decision by poorly informed Board of Regents. By Augusta not having representation on the Board we got the worse possible choice in a new name! We didn't need new names. The decisions made over the past 2 years by the Board of Regents have hurt more than helped 'our' institutions of higher learning located in Augusta! **so far nothing good has happened under the new leadership of MCG....and the current Board of Regents.

One Board member was against it....and the majority of us who live here 'never' supported this name change. (*especially this totally ridiculous string of words that has no meaning to Augusta...to Georgia...or anyone in the world!) Regent Chairman Tarbutton has no clue as to what he has done or undone. I believe the entire Board of Regents have failed in this matter. A big waste of money and energy...a disgusting choice...*supported by only those who want to keep their jobs working at either of the schools.

vary sad day in history.....many millions of dollars will now need to spent to fight potential lawsuits with the other school with a similar name...to get this name out there///to create a brand...

Changing these schools names the way they did is like like coca cola/coke changing their name to Regent soda...or McDonald's changing its' name to Regent burgers....***does not make sense and never will.

This will be a marketing case study on the failures of having presumed smart people in leadership roles...making decisions and affecting history when they don't have the common sense to not touch it!

....the Commission of Colleges needs to inundated with letters requesting this name change be rejected.

prov227
3087
Points
prov227 08/08/12 - 12:46 am
4
0
Cancer Research Bldg: Loss of classrooms at ASU

“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.

It doesn't seem to be very good PR to state that ASU has lost new classroom space as a result of the planned cancer research center at GHSU. Is this a result of the merger? Will the education and business students use classes at the new cancer center now?

gmoonit
6
Points
gmoonit 08/08/12 - 01:59 am
4
0
Terrible Idea

So wait, Azziz said everyone in Augusta hated the name, but went with it anyway?

Everyone who posts a comment here should try a more direct method of voicing their opinion. I don't think any of the mighty Regents will take the time to read what 'the people' think here in the comments.

Please call them at the numbers listed here ( http://www.usg.edu/regents/members ) and let them know directly.

I will do the same.

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