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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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AugustaProf
138
Points
AugustaProf 08/08/12 - 01:00 am
4
0
The bigger story

prov227 hit the nail on the head. We'll likely move past this ridiculous name and the sucker punch in the face given to this city. But the bigger story--and one that is news to the faculty at ASU at least--is the loss of the building.

Azziz stated numerous that the vast majority of the growth in the consolidated university would come outside of the medical arena. And the first actual areas of growth after the merger--$100 million for a cancer research building and $76.2 million for a "medical commons." The first cut--a $22 million academic building on the ASU campus. Yes, GHSU's campus will now host ASU's what, 100 nursing students. But the building was 2/3'rds dedicated to the business school which is already battling for office and classroom space. And a rooftop for the astronomy program. And ASU applications are up 15% and there are numerous open but blocked (due to financial constraints) teaching positions. Positions needed to handle our current student load and perhaps even one day open up some (gasp!) upper-level electives.

Yeah, perhaps the commons building is truly needed and the cancer center may well result in significant ROI, but if we are truly to be a "comprehensive" research university, our limited fiscal and political capital really needs to focus on building up the traditional programs at the former ASU. We need major investment in new research-focused faculty and graduate programs to support research. We need residential facilities badly. We need...well we need a lot. Perhaps this is in the works, but this is NOT a good start. Certainly not confidence inspiring.

To borrow and mangle one of my favorite quotes from The Princess Bride: "Comprehensive! -- You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Dixieman
16580
Points
Dixieman 08/08/12 - 04:49 am
4
1
This can easily be stopped

How? General Assembly passes a law naming the school "University of Augusta" which neatly and legally overrides the Board of Regents. Augusta area legislative delegation, please get on it!!!

Little Lamb
47950
Points
Little Lamb 08/08/12 - 07:08 am
2
0
GRU

KSL posted:

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

I wonder if they purchased gru.edu ?

Little Lamb
47950
Points
Little Lamb 08/08/12 - 07:11 am
2
0
Pawns

The faculty and staff members who comprised the initial committee to recommend the names must feel like chopped liver. They were totally blown off by Azziz.

(Of course, some of their recommendations were really stupid. Does anyone remember that they actually recommended Noble University ?)

curly123053
5141
Points
curly123053 08/08/12 - 07:29 am
1
2
It sounds like there are a

It sounds like there are a bunch of Liberal Democrats running things as far as the name of the university. Sounds like Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid when they stated the knew the majority of the citizens were against Obamacare, we had to learn to get used to it.....Kinda what Azziz is saying too......hmmmmm

townsends
185
Points
townsends 08/08/12 - 07:43 am
3
0
Azziz just booked his flight out

This is a reprint from another report-

The name is a self-serving joke; everyone can see that, including the regents. Just as Just My Opinion mentioned the name will probably remain unless a lawsuit is brought from the Regents University in Virginia.

What seems obvious to me is how Azziz just booked his flight out of here, not only has he managed to alienate the student body, and the faculty, but also the Alumni. It seems that Regents University in Augusta, I mean Georgia Regents University in Augusta, would be better served with someone else at the helm.

allhans
24513
Points
allhans 08/08/12 - 08:21 am
2
0
If they had decided on a name

If they had decided on a name tying it to Augusta, then they would be stuck with this location....?

KSL
140232
Points
KSL 08/08/12 - 08:36 am
2
1
Exactly, allhans.

Exactly, allhans.

Rustytig
4
Points
Rustytig 08/08/12 - 09:00 am
2
1
Flabbergasted!!!

My incoming freshman signed up for Augusta State not GRU!!! Guess he will be transferring out very quickly since I refuse to send my money to a system that could not care less what it's student body thinks. I thought this was supposed to be higher education.

JitSingh
17
Points
JitSingh 08/08/12 - 09:05 am
4
0
Name change politics

This smacks of a prelude to granting UGA a medical school by diminishing MCG/GHSU's role in Georgia's medical science research, teaching and health-care. They smartly realized that recognition is attached to the name, hence by deflecting and reducing our role in health science teaching, research and treatment, they have created the path to UGA getting its own medical school. As for Ricardo Azziz, he keeps spinning it and sucking it up to his bosses - the Regents. Time he takes his MBA with a pinch of salt and focuses more on his MD. Your predecessors achieved great things Azziz, the only thing of any significance you have presided over are two name changes. How about positioning MCG/GHSU for a greater role in translational research? Sorry, that is a serious issue for which you do not have the time given that you have to churn out your next 'vision' spiel.

JitSingh
17
Points
JitSingh 08/08/12 - 09:23 am
3
0
Send Dr. Carolus Linnaeus

Send Dr. Carolus Linnaeus back to Hollywood.

skeptical
84
Points
skeptical 08/08/12 - 09:43 am
2
0
Facebook presence

Didn't take long for Ga Regents Univ to show up on Facebook, though I'm not sure this is what Ricky had in mind: http://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaRegentsUniversity?ref=ts

Riverman1
90455
Points
Riverman1 08/08/12 - 09:48 am
3
0
Let's Get Our Local Delegation Involved NOW

Dixie Man said this is how to override the name.

"General Assembly passes a law naming the school "University of Augusta" which neatly and legally overrides the Board of Regents. Augusta area legislative delegation, please get on it!!!"

Riverman1
90455
Points
Riverman1 08/08/12 - 09:56 am
3
0
DixieMan

Dixie Man, that is the logical next move. I hope you can prod folks to get this thing going. The Chronicle has taken on various causes in certain channels in the past. This is definitely a necessary cause. Prod.

batya
280
Points
batya 08/08/12 - 10:08 am
3
0
@Riverman1...maybe Georgia

@Riverman1...maybe Georgia Regents University School of Medicine...GRUSOM! Haha..that pretty much sums it up!

countyman
21299
Points
countyman 08/08/12 - 10:48 am
0
2
Continuing to not work

Continuing to not work together, is only hurting our area... Other metros want the individual counties to keep being divided, because that's more industry for them in the long run... Somebody mentioned North Augusta shouldn't work together, and that's exactly why jobs/industry aren't flocking to North Augusta... When's the last time a large employer moved to North Augusta?

The surrounding counties depend on Richmond for alot of different things including healthcare.. Entertainment, shopping, jobs, higher education, airport, etc...

Bizkit
34338
Points
Bizkit 08/08/12 - 10:45 am
4
0
You get the impression of

You get the impression of intentional sabotage with the intent to minimize the Medical College so Azziz can move the school to Athens and take over the as President of UGA when Adams retires. That way he will take over UGA and the Medical School and leave Georgia Regents as just another state university. Something to ponder.

KasparHauser
368
Points
KasparHauser 08/08/12 - 10:59 am
1
0
It's About Attention
Unpublished

If the name change gives the Augusta area a crowbar to embarrass the Regents to support these otherwise fine institutions, then good deal. There certainly isn't any real existing leverage given the pitiful lack of any real Augusta representative on the Board, IS there? The Regents also seem to be a clique that won't really respond to academic arguments, so loss of face is probably the best weapon the Fluffy Bunny Augusta Power Bloc has at its disposal!

Just thank your lucky (and feckless) stars it wasn't renamed Georgia Regent University of ATHENS.

If your wanna play power politics you first need some Power.

KasparHauser
368
Points
KasparHauser 08/08/12 - 11:04 am
1
0
It's About Attention 2
Unpublished

(Double post coverup)

So, what Augusta personage has committed themselves to getting named to the Board of Regents?

Seems strange that the state's second largest city has no such representation.

KSL
140232
Points
KSL 08/08/12 - 11:30 am
1
1
Azziz and Adams seem like

Azziz and Adams seem like they are cut from the same mold (mole).

gadawg4483
14
Points
gadawg4483 08/08/12 - 10:36 pm
0
0
Reply to Just My Opinion & Bizkit

The reason the Michael Adams is leaving UGA is because Azziz is King now. He felt left out and powerless so he decided to move on. The BOR forgot all about him.

Perdue wanted MCG to be in Athens so bad maybe Azziz will make it happen as a belated birthday present. Bizkit that sounds like a plan that Azziz put together for himself.

citizen7
49
Points
citizen7 08/09/12 - 07:27 am
0
0
What reason does Tommy

What reason does Tommy Hopkins give for not keeping the name 'Augusta' .... "“This university is more and bigger than Augusta". So in other words, "we're not that proud of the great city of Augusta, Georgia. But, being a 'Regent' myself, it only makes sense to put that in the name". Ya think perhaps some ego's are involved in this decision?

bdouglas
5588
Points
bdouglas 08/09/12 - 07:55 am
1
0
Countyman has obviously been

Countyman has obviously been too busy cruising websites and public records about Richmond County to bother looking at a map of the North Augusta city limits. If he had, he'd realize the the city limits of NA are probably 95% residential areas. If there were actually room for industry to come to NA, I'm sure it wouldn't be much of an issue. Aside from annexing into areas near I-20, it's not even feasible in most of the open areas around NA because of rolling hills or deep basins in the real estate.

mgfam
4
Points
mgfam 08/12/12 - 01:43 pm
0
0
Why not University of Georgia

Why not University of Georgia at Augusta? In California, we set all research universities in The name of UC, and other public universities in a name of State. As one of four research universities in Georgia, the merged university should deserve a well known name to represent its reputation. Do not tell me UGA does not agree with that. Berkeley did not agree with the advent of UCLA too. However, the result is there are ten UCs now.

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