Education

More News | |

William S. Morris III resigns from GHSU board over Georgia Regents name

  • Follow Education

Protesting the new Geor­gia Regents University name for two combined Augusta universities, Au­gusta Chron­icle Publisher Wil­liam S. Mor­ris III, a former chairman of the state’s Board of Regents, has resigned from a board at Georgia Health Sciences Uni­ver­sity, expressing his disappointment with GHSU Presi­dent Ricardo Azziz and calling for the school to be renamed with Augusta in the title.

William S. Morris III  FILE
FILE
William S. Morris III

In a letter to Azziz, Morris said he regretted the move because of his and his family’s long association with higher education in Georgia. Morris served on the Board of Regents from 1967 to 1974, including a term as chairman, and his father, William S. Morris, served on the board from 1941 to 1951.

Morris said he was resigning from the GHSU Board of Visitors, to which Azziz appointed him in 2011, because of the affront the new name represents to the city of Augusta and its ties to GHSU and Augusta State University.

The regents voted Tuesday to name the combined schools Georgia Regents Uni­ver­sity.

“I object to your ambivalence to the voice of this community,” Morris wrote. “The naming convention you have advocated, and now gained endorsement from the Georgia regents, lacks sensitivity to the enormous community good will that has been cultivated over the years. It also has no regard for the voices of both your alumni and current student body, nor the longstanding relationship with Georgia Health Sciences University (formerly the Medical College of Georgia) and Augusta State University. You seem oblivious to these concerns.”

Citing Azziz’s stated “bold vision” for GHSU, Morris wrote, “It will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for you to carry out your mission and vision without the united support from the city of Augusta and ALL of its citizens.

“I find I am unable to support you in this recent announcement of ‘Georgia Re­gents University’ until you acknowledge, in a profound way, a willingness to listen and accept the broader historical and communal
alignment of the legacy you’ve inherited. This must include a movement by you to rename the school, including the name ‘Augusta’ in its title.”

The resignation from the board, created last year to give state and national leaders a greater advisory role to the university’s leadership, was to take effect immediately.

Comments (69) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Shellman
623
Points
Shellman 08/12/12 - 04:48 pm
3
5
You could do UGAA
Unpublished

but UGA would have to agree to it and they likely wont.. they own that name, and how do we not know that the UGAA name was not considered? It was probably rejected early on because UGA would not go for it. Plus Georgia does not use that naming system for state universities. Each one has a unique name. You are talking about renaming all of the state's public colleges and universities to go in that direction and that would be too costly. I've always believed that Augusta will still be home to most of the clinics associated with the medical school... but I do believe the main campus for the medical college will be moved to UGA in Athens.

liberal
19
Points
liberal 08/12/12 - 05:00 pm
0
1
Shellman

UGA does not own the name. The Board of Regents makes the call. Perhaps you think that the Board of Regents is dominated by alumni of UGA, and that they will not permit this 'shared' name?

Is it too late now for us to enter a more modern age?

specsta
7137
Points
specsta 08/12/12 - 05:32 pm
4
6
Wow, 30 "thumbs-down" on my

Wow, 30 "thumbs-down" on my earlier comment. I think I set a new record. Typical Augusta mindset. I must be doing something right.

Cynical old woman
1111
Points
Cynical old woman 08/12/12 - 06:05 pm
5
1
I'm not a big fan of Mr. Morris

But I applaud his stance on this issue. He's right on the mark with Azziz being totally deaf to the wants and desires of the community. He needs to vision himself out of Augusta. The staff at MCG is totally opposed to the majority of his changes. Supposedly he burns up their emails with his BS on a daily basis. The money he has spent is ridiculous!! As good ol Lewis Grizzard put it.."Deltas ready when you are".

townsends
185
Points
townsends 08/12/12 - 06:15 pm
4
1
specsta

Not really, the thumbs-down measure provides you with an understanding of how others view your ideas. Please do not construe that to mean that you are doing something right simply because you have a different opinion. And on to your opinion…

A man can have vision and be a statesman at the same time; many good men have successfully combined these two traits in the past. Anyone can have vision; it is only one part of a leader, being able to combine that vision with an honest way to make it a reality is what makes a leader successful.

I do not agree with your view that the “Augusta brand” is limiting, in fact I think it is quite the opposite. When asked where did you go to college, what is more intuitive? “I graduated from the University of Augusta, or University of Georgia, Augusta” or I graduated from the Georgia Regents University?

Finally, without your traditions you are without a wealth of wisdom.

Augusta Girl
9
Points
Augusta Girl 08/12/12 - 06:39 pm
0
1
This affects more than Azziz people !

Mr. Morris, I understand and support your opinion & decision! I to, am very upset over the name chosen. I certainly hope that you will NOT take the advice of PWBURT. I am an employee on the MCG/GHSU/Whoever we are campus. I along with more than 6,000 other employees !! Why does everyone think that pulling all financial support or boycotting will make any kind of difference!?!? This generally doesn't hurt the person or organization that you are angry with, it REALLY hurts those in the ranks who work hard everyday to do their best to keep their company alive & well. No Mr. Morris, PLEASE do not pull all your support ! We are MUCH MORE than Azziz himself! Many of us have been here 20 years and more ! We need your support and the support of the WHOLE community more than ever now! Stepping down from the Board, I understand ! We, the File Clerk's, Office Associate's, Admin Asst, Lab Technician's, Associate Dean's, Department Chair's, Office Manager's, Phycisian's Assistant's, Environmental Services Technician's, ALL of us, NEED the support of our community. Our campus is more than just Azziz !! We have our lives invested, not 2 years !!!

Jake
34083
Points
Jake 08/12/12 - 06:56 pm
2
4
Confirmed

I happen to agree with specsta & Shellman, and why are people hating on a very informative post by Brad? He kind of puts this into perspective since the article is supposed to be about this "noble" gesture of WSM III. Seems to me that all of the angst and energy being spent in this name debacle could be put to other more useful purposes. But, hey, I am an outsider since I don't live there anymore but since I pay my dues like the rest of you then I will render an "opinion".

agrit
180
Points
agrit 08/12/12 - 06:57 pm
1
0
Augusta Girl, I certainly

Augusta Girl, I certainly agree with you. But how many changes have you been able to make? How long has it been since you had a raise? How many times have your insurance premiums gone up (to along with that not getting a raise)? The people "in the ranks" are just continuing to be stepped on and over. We need people with some kind of clout to make the statements that many of us have been making for a long time but no one would listen to.

I think there are many people who are all for change when it is to the good ... being lied to, stepped on, and manipulated for one person's ego and arrogance is more than most people can continue to take and take.

There is no way that GRU will bring us "national status" (at least not in my opinion). With this name, "our campus" just became the campus of the BOR and Dr. Azziz.

Augusta Girl
9
Points
Augusta Girl 08/12/12 - 07:03 pm
0
2
Both Sides of the Name Change Issues

OK, so the locals are outraged because the name of their fair city has been removed. The ASU campus is outraged because Augusta has been removed. The GHSU campus is just outraged! We have had our name changed once already, our recent and upcoming graduates are all very concerned about how this will affect their futures. (You went to school where!?!?!) I am a lifelong Augustan. I have lived here all my life. I love Augusta!! Do I think we should jointly be Augusta State?? Absolutely not. When Azziz came to town, he changed us to GHSU, "growing up" the campus to sound and work like a nationally recognized health care campus. Did we like having our name changed ? No, but I do sort of understand the idea of trying to put us on the "national roster". The idea of taking Georgia out of the name and putting Augusta there instead is distressing! So we had our name change so we could fit into the national atmosphere and then take our name back to something specifically regional?? I'll say it again. I have lived in Augusta all my life and love Augusta. I have worked at MCG/GHSU for more than 20 years. Please don't change our name to something that sounds like a junior college compared! There is really no way to win in this. No one will EVER be happy with the changes! My wish !?!?! University of Georgia @ Augusta. The does keep Augusta recognized, it associates us with a nationally recognized, respected name. Believe me people, we would be in good company. University of Alabama @ Birmingham - University of Texas @ San Antonio, and many more !

star
650
Points
star 08/12/12 - 08:06 pm
1
1
Thank you Mr. Morris

for standing up when others of influence will/or have not. I think the Mayor should have made statements similar to yours and showed he does not appreciate our community being lied to, i.e. making us think we had a say in the name game - when all along the name had been selected by Azziz and BOR. Azziz has had some good ideas, but this certainly was not one of them. Watch out folks Laney Walker Blvd. will
be closed.
Mr. Morris, thank you again for your support.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/12/12 - 08:53 pm
5
1
Although I was initially
Unpublished

Although I was initially disappointed that the new name did not include Augusta and was certainly disappointed about the charade that was involved, but after reading all of these whines on this thread about it, I'm not so sure. Dr. Azziz was right from the very beginning when he claimed Augusta is "not cool.". I certainly can understand that hometown people took that as an affront. But maybe this guy has the balls to call it the way it is and has he vision to change things. For goodness sakes, what has been proposed for economic development and progress: golf and gardens, a canal instead of Ellis street, a trolley, and the TEE Center...all tourist sort of ideas...folks, no one wants to tour Augusta. And, it may burst many people's bubble but, outside of the golf subculture, Augusta is not as prominent in the world as you think it is. Take what you got and capitalize on it. I believe Mr. Morris has been a power broker in the city for a long time, where has that gotten you?

specsta
7137
Points
specsta 08/12/12 - 08:49 pm
2
1
Palmetto1008

"And, it may burst many people's bubble but, outside of the golf subculture, Augusta is not as prominent in the world as you think it is."

This. A thousand times.

Shellman
623
Points
Shellman 08/12/12 - 09:15 pm
3
1
Palmetto nailed it
Unpublished

I wish I could give Palmetto's last comment a thousand thumbs up. One thing that the people whining about Augusta not being in the name are not considering here is that the medical school has several satellite branches.. one in Athens, one in Rome with more planned. So imagine how confusing it would be to be going to the campus in Rome and it being called University of Augusta at Rome.. or University of Georgia at Augusta, Rome... or University of Georgia at Augusta, Athens campus. The whole point is that the Augusta school is the flagship medical school for the state with satellite campuses throughout the state.. but naming it University of Augusta would have been very limiting. This is not a local college.. it is a university with a state-wide reach that has multiple satellite campuses, and thus it should have a name that reflects that. Using Augusta in the name was never really an option. They should have just struck those names out of consideration from the very beginning.

specsta
7137
Points
specsta 08/12/12 - 09:22 pm
3
2
Weary of Traditions

Townsends wrote: "Finally, without your traditions you are without a wealth of wisdom."

History, maybe - but not traditions.

Here's a few examples:

Tradition - generations of white families owning slaves.
Tradition - the lynching of black men for a trumped-up "offense" against white women
Tradition - not allowing women or blacks to vote
Tradition - keeping abortion illegal

Across the globe:

Tradition - genital mutilation of females in 28 countries
Tradition - foot-binding of Chinese women
Tradition - the use of child soldiers in 20 countries

There are seriously good reasons why some traditions are banned or dismantled. Just because something is a tradition does not make it a good thing, nor does it make it impart any measure of wisdom.

Augusta has mired itself in tradition and mediocrity for so long, when a different perspective is presented, many citizens are ready to grab pitchforks and torches, to run the monster out of town.

It might be time to try something different.

KSL
143817
Points
KSL 08/12/12 - 09:46 pm
1
3
Good grief!

Good grief!

Augusta Girl
9
Points
Augusta Girl 08/12/12 - 10:06 pm
0
0
Reply to agrit

Agrit, while my voice was ignored (like so many others) on this name change - I DO make a difference, every day !!! I realize this because of the feedback that I get from my supervisor and my students! MY JOB, is to do MY JOB well! With integrity!, I can't control the integrity of others. I can't let someone else's diminished integrity affect my integrity or my determination to do MY JOB to the best of my ability. So many people use these situations as a platform to moan & groan and throw blame. They don't want to lift a finger, only a voice. While everyone else carries on about how horrible this is, I go to work everyday and do my best! I am very proud to say that I had a part, a very minimal part, but a part none-the-less in hundreds of health carfe professionals that now practice across this state and some scattered across the country. Just because I could not affect the name change or insurance rates (insurance company fault) or lack of raises (chalk that up to a crappy economy), none of those things mean that I and 6,000 other people don't make a difference in our community. Bottom line, while we all may be very unhappy about this name change thing, we still have a job to do. And yes, make a difference where it counts!

uga1988
63
Points
uga1988 08/12/12 - 10:08 pm
1
1
Don't blame you a bit, Mr. Morris

I admire your conviction to this issue. It is obvious that Azizz was h e l l -bent on ramming his own agenda down MCG's collective throat. Azizz was and is in way over his head and should make immediate plans to return to the OR.

Riverman1
93691
Points
Riverman1 08/13/12 - 01:49 am
1
0
The UGA at Augusta doesn't

The UGA at Augusta doesn't work because we're not part of UGA. We had just as well be Clemson at Augusta.

Those who want to switch to some version of having Georgia in the name should take into account the value the Augusta State name has already. The school has been given national prominence with athletics. The donations of alumni are growing. It's a relatively new 4 year school that has made great strides. This is the next step, but the name doesn't have to change.

For all those who simply don't like Augusta and point out all the negatives, realize it's the hub of a half million people of the CSRA. We have suburban communities in Columbia County second to none, we have Aiken with its nationally known presence or wealthy residents, we have golf second to none everywhere and the city of Augusta with its medical centers and colleges. There are lots of reasons to keep the historic city in the college name.

Riverman1
93691
Points
Riverman1 08/13/12 - 01:52 am
1
0
Should We Change the State Name?

I read comments about how Augusta doesn't compare to other cities and the name should be dropped. Does it follow because Georgia is ranked low in per capita income, low SAT scores and various other factors the name should be changed to reflect some nebulous idea of the future?

townsends
185
Points
townsends 08/13/12 - 05:42 am
1
0
Doomed to repeat history

Specsta,

I am in full agreement with you; the atrocities mentioned should be banned. However, your argument is without merit and illogical. You are attempting to relate Augustans like Mr. Morris with foot-binding of Chinese women? Let’s try and keep some form of reason.

The point I was attempting to make, and failed miserably at, was that good men who understand the history of something know from where they came. By understanding that past they can then plan a future so that some pasts are repeated (traditions) and some are never again.

Unbelievable
88
Points
Unbelievable 08/13/12 - 07:39 am
1
0
Really?

Are we to believe that the students from GHSU(MCG) would have an issue with the school name containing the city in which it is located? Even though it has always had the states name? Im sure all the past graduates will be rushing to get a new copy of their diploma with 'Georgia Rejects University' or 'Georgia Regional University' so they can hang them up on their wall.

The name is ridiculous. The fact that Azziz didnt even take in to consideration the preference of alumni from both schools makes you wonder why they even put it to a 'vote'.

The Augusta State golf team won back to back National Championships (Div I). So just as our school is making a name for itself nationally, we are going to change the name? Think of the students we are going to lose because of Azziz's pipe dream. I think he is on the pipe.

useful
750
Points
useful 08/13/12 - 08:16 am
2
0
Thank you Mr

Thank you Mr morris.perhaps,Deke will see the light and do the same.

grinder48
2054
Points
grinder48 08/13/12 - 02:38 pm
1
0
Thank You Mr. Morris
Unpublished

Thank You Mr. Morris!

walkedit
34
Points
walkedit 08/15/12 - 09:31 am
1
0
Pull his support

I agree. Then maybe his superiors will notice the huge mistake they've made by moving him to Augusta, and ship him back to wherever it is he originated. I guess he doesn't get the history here, because he is not from here. Supporters, please pull your support so that it hits his books. The only thing that will stop Azziz is cutting the purse strings!
He is taking away years of progress built by generations of people with integrity and character, just to make a name for himself.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Daniel Field removes trees, lights structures in airspace

Daniel Field, managed by operations company Augusta Aviation, has spent more than $30,000 conducting land surveys, removing 30 trees and installing red blinking lights on top of the Newman Tennis ...
Search Augusta jobs