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Augusta State officials downplay name controversy at annual fall convocation

Tuesday, Aug 14, 2012 11:29 AM
Last updated Wednesday, Aug 15, 2012 12:15 PM
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 At the kickoff of its fall semester, Augusta State University’s interim president and other college officials made a point to look ahead to its impending merger and move away from the controversy surrounding the selection of the consolidated university’s name.

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Augusta State University cheerleaders perform at the closing of the 19th annual Fall Convocation at Maxwell Theatre.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Augusta State University cheerleaders perform at the closing of the 19th annual Fall Convocation at Maxwell Theatre.

Interim President Shirley Strum Kenny said at the school’s convocation Tuesday that there is much work to be done and the university must focus not only on what it aspires to be in the next two decades but also on what it can improve in the immediate future.

“It is vital that ASU shape the future in both areas because the consolidation simply will not work unless ASU prospers and grows, building on its strengths and charting – and heading for – what lies ahead,” Kenny told an enthusiastic crowd gathered in Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre.

The new name selected for the merged Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities – Georgia Regents University – has drawn heavy criticism. David Alalof, a co-chairman of Augusta State foundation’s annual fundraising campaign, downplayed the controversy at the convocation.

“I’ll tell you what’s in a name,” Alalof said. “We are and we will always be the Jaguar Nation.”

The event also served as a kickoff for the annual “A Day for ASU” campaign, which assists the university by providing money for such things as scholarships, faculty development and some academic support programs, said Augusta State spokeswoman Danielle Harris.

The goal for this year is $555,000, about $10,000 more than last year. Raising that much money is tricky in the current economy, especially coming on the heels of another fundraising effort to create an endowment for recently retired ASU President William A. Bloodworth Jr., Alalof said.

Some observers have worried that the widely criticized new name might hamper such fundraising.

Alalof dismissed that idea.

“I’ve already reached out to 50 or 60 folks who have been instrumental in the past,” he said. “I have gotten no indication that anyone will withhold donations because of the name.”

Not all benefactors, however, feel the same about that, said J. Fleming Norvell, a longtime Augusta State supporter and the man instrumental in raising about $1 million for the university’s golf program.

Norvell said he and other ASU supporters aren’t excited about writing checks for an institution that seems to have little connection to the history and traditions of Augusta.

“I think with the loss of the name you are going to lose the support of a lot of people who have given in the past,” Norvell said.

He said that he thinks the name controversy isn’t over and that something can still be done to change it.

Norvell said the local community was “lulled asleep” with assurances from GHSU President Ricardo Azziz that Augusta would be included in the new school’s name when, in his opinion, there was no real intention to do so.

“The new doctor in town has bulldozed his way into acceptance for something that nobody wants,” Norvell said. “He will be gone in three years, and we will be left with this thing nobody likes.”

Comments (36)

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townsends
185
Points
townsends 08/14/12 - 11:37 am
6
1

FUGETABOUTIT

Not my penny you will get. Should it be named a day for GRU now?

showboat
268
Points
showboat 08/14/12 - 11:40 am
0
0

People are not going to give

Unpublished

People are not going to give until the name is change. I will not for sure your fund will be $3200.00 less thanks to AZZZZZ.

grinder48
1403
Points
grinder48 08/14/12 - 11:41 am
0
0

Nope

Unpublished

Get all the money you can from the board of regents. Individuals, please do not contribute.

zippy
210
Points
zippy 08/14/12 - 11:45 am
6
1

Agreed. No money for gru. I

Agreed. No money for gru. I would rather give to a student instead of to the administration. At least the student hasn't lied to me!

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/14/12 - 11:49 am
5
1

GRU you!

Hit them in the pockets. They don't listen to our opinions, but they do listen to our money.

csrareader
1200
Points
csrareader 08/14/12 - 11:58 am
2
0

This will be a tough sell.

This will be a tough sell.

kkirk007
19
Points
kkirk007 08/14/12 - 12:23 pm
6
1

kickstarter

Let's do a kickstarter-style fundraiser: We commit to donate the money, but only if the name is changed to something better than GRU (read: pretty much *anything* other than GRU)

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/14/12 - 12:41 pm
5
1

How cool is that?

Can we put our donations into escrow pending Dr. Cool's resignation?

rmwhitley
5107
Points
rmwhitley 08/14/12 - 01:56 pm
0
0

First thing I'd

Unpublished

do his hire some more high priced left-winged professors.

zippy
210
Points
zippy 08/14/12 - 02:26 pm
2
1

I say we try

I say we try

thauch12
4437
Points
thauch12 08/14/12 - 02:42 pm
2
11

Yeah right...

I'm detecting a lot of pointless saber rattling...

For starters, this fundraising goal isn't any sort of ambitious fundraising goal, nor is it one where 10 people withholding their $10 contribution is really going to make a difference. Moreover, I highly doubt any of these people saying they weren't going to donate were huge donors to start off with, assuming they were donors at all...

Second of all, think about who this will hurt. You're not hurting Azziz or the Board of Regents. They don't need your money unless you're sending a kid to school, which I gather most of you are not. You're hurting the students. You're hurting the faculty and staff. You're hurting Augusta State University.

So please, go ahead and keep your supposed "contributions" and see where that gets you...

townsends
185
Points
townsends 08/14/12 - 03:15 pm
4
1

I don't own a saber

@thauch12,

It gets me a pizza and a movie with my family. Seriously, you are right it doesn't make one bit of difference to anyone, including the students as you pointed out. So why bother?

Principle.

csrareader
1200
Points
csrareader 08/14/12 - 03:17 pm
4
1

OK thauch12, you convinced

OK thauch12, you convinced me. I will keep my money. Thanks for the suggestion.

zippy
210
Points
zippy 08/14/12 - 04:36 pm
4
0

small always adds up

I totally disagree. you are correct that everyone's $10 will not bring the institution to its knees, however if you look at the entire fundraising campaign, thier overall goal is only $550,000. So if we withould even $20,000 it will be enough to get their attention. that is what we are after, to make a difference, not force them to close up shop.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 08/14/12 - 08:58 pm
4
0

Norvell is awesome

Unpublished

Norvell is awesome

Willow Bailey
20255
Points
Willow Bailey 08/14/12 - 10:06 pm
3
0

Kudos to Fleming Norvell.

Kudos to Fleming Norvell.

Little Lamb
40309
Points
Little Lamb 08/14/12 - 11:42 pm
3
0

I Also Salute

this J. Fleming Norvell for his urging alumni to withhold donations until the name change is reversed.

Gage Creed
12732
Points
Gage Creed 08/15/12 - 12:24 am
3
0

thauch....did you miss this

thauch....did you miss this part? "Not all benefactors, however, feel the same about that, said J. Fleming Norvell, a longtime Augusta State supporter and the man instrumental in raising about $1 million for the university’s golf program." Somehow this doesn't seem to equate to ten donations of $10...ya think?

Gage Creed
12732
Points
Gage Creed 08/15/12 - 12:28 am
2
0

Witness the JaGRUar Nation!

Witness the JaGRUar Nation!

KSL
106513
Points
KSL 08/15/12 - 12:37 am
2
0

I am certain that there are

I am certain that there are plenty of other significant donors who feel the same way and who will quietly withhold their donations.

Assiz, the Regents, and who knows who else have really stepped in it. There are snakes in the woodpile who are behind this fiasco.

Just My Opinion
4712
Points
Just My Opinion 08/15/12 - 04:58 am
2
0

Bumped into a friend of mine

Bumped into a friend of mine the other day who has worked at Augusta State for a couple of decades. I asked her about the name change and this usually very chatty person just CLAMMED up! I asked her what was wrong and she said she couldn't say what she thought because it could cost her her job! Wow!! So the schools are trying to muzzle their employees from thinking?? Just shows you how bad this thing is.

Riverman1
70966
Points
Riverman1 08/15/12 - 06:34 am
3
0

Some Have to Downplay It

Some have to downplay the name change. That's their role. Ours is to to get it reversed.

prov227
2337
Points
prov227 08/15/12 - 09:05 am
2
0

Depends on the money ...

One would have to downplay their own feelings about the naming matter if their sustenance comes from the State of Georgia. That's why they are statesmen, er, persons.

From the people I have talked to, the main crux of this matter seems to be the deceitfulness of the process. For this, the community is owed an apology before we can move on. I wonder who will offer this apology. Maybe a statesmanlike person. Otherwise, this matter may continue to fester. The community has been wounded and it is an open wound.

David Parker
7919
Points
David Parker 08/15/12 - 09:26 am
0
0

Compromise = Augusta Regents

Compromise = Augusta Regents University

or we can just setup a snowball fight and last person standing chooses the name?

Riverman1
70966
Points
Riverman1 08/15/12 - 10:42 am
3
0

If I never heard the word

If I never heard the word regents again unless it was associated with the Virginia college I'd be okay. Now I not only want Augusta in the name, I want Columbia County, Aiken, Burke, McDuffie, Clarks Hill, gnat line and anything else that pertains to the CSRA in there.

Little Lamb
40309
Points
Little Lamb 08/15/12 - 10:58 am
1
0

Surrender

Mayor Copenhaver has thrown in the towel and bid his subjects (i.e., us citizens) to accept the gru name. However, the Augusta Commission should put on the agenda next week the same thing that Charles Allen did for the Columbia County Commission — a resolution asking the Board of Regents to rescind the new name and choose another one that includes Augusta.

Little Lamb
40309
Points
Little Lamb 08/15/12 - 11:12 am
3
0

Hoot

Hey, I just thought about this: If the Augusta Commission passes a resolution to request the Board of Regents to change the name to Augusta University (or maybe even back to Augusta State University), the letter to the Board of Regents would have to be signed by the mayor. Wouldn't that be a hoot?

Dixieman
10462
Points
Dixieman 08/15/12 - 11:42 am
3
0

Easy fix

Just get House and Senate in Atlanta to pass a bill naming it University of Augusta. This easily overrides whatever the regents do. Local delegation will introduce, legislators from other parts of the state will support in return for support of their pet projects. Cheap, easy, sure fix. Why are people fooling around with any other approach??

Little Lamb
40309
Points
Little Lamb 08/15/12 - 11:59 am
3
0

Local Legislative Delegation

You would think it would be easy, Dixieman, and efforts hopefully are already underway behind the scenes. In the 2012 session, our local delegation split on several issues (re-drawing the district lines, controversy over commission election dates, etc.). You would think this gru thing would unite the delegation again. Let's hope so.

Still, there's nothing wrong with putting citizen pressure on the Board of Regents here in the summer and fall.

David Parker
7919
Points
David Parker 08/15/12 - 12:22 pm
0
0

i've no clue why i'm posting it

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deke_(ice_hockey)

deke is an ice hockey technique which a player uses to get past an opponent or "fake out" an opposing player

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