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ASU golf backer quits GHSU board over name issue

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 10:57 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 12:16 AM
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While hundreds were making noise Monday about the new school name at Augusta State University’s campus, Nick Evans Jr. quietly voiced his protest at Georgia Health Sciences University by resigning from its hospital board.

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Jim Hull talks about the Kroc Center fundraising campaign May 11, 2009 at the site of where it will be built along Broad and Pearl St.    Annette M. Drowlette/staff                ANNETTE M. DROWLETTE
ANNETTE M. DROWLETTE
Jim Hull talks about the Kroc Center fundraising campaign May 11, 2009 at the site of where it will be built along Broad and Pearl St. Annette M. Drowlette/staff

The Augusta College graduate and longtime supporter of the ASU golf program said he resigned from the GHS Medical Center board of directors because he was unhappy with the new name and the process from which it resulted.

“I think it is a huge mistake to take away the name of Augusta,” Evans said. “I simply do not understand it.”

Evans, an Augusta National Golf Club member and the chairman of ECP Benefits, said leaving out Augusta from the new school’s name was casting aside a name associated with prestige and excellence around the world.

“It is a global brand second only to Coca-Cola,” he said.

Despite his resignation, Evans said he is fully behind the consolidation of the two universities and very appreciative of the commitment to Augusta made by Gov. Nathan Deal and the Board of Regents.

“I don’t want to work against the ‘new U’ in any way because I believe in it,” he said. “I just find it hard to believe that they didn’t anticipate this type of reaction from 90 percent of the people in Augusta.”

There are others who, although they dislike the name, are ready to accept the decision and move on with the process of making a major university here in Augusta.

“Nobody loves the name of Augusta more than I do,” said Jim Hull, who serves on the ASU board of trustees. “I think that many of the people protesting the name are following their conscience and have every right to do so.”

But Hull and some other area business leaders think the name is a fight that won’t be won, and would rather the community focus its energy on taking advantage of the opportunity ahead.

“I think we should move on and think in terms of being the state’s fourth comprehensive university and what that means,” Hull said.

Hull said the state is prepared to put Augusta “in the front of the line” for millions of dollars in investment to build a research university on par with Georgia State and Georgia Tech.

Phil Wahl, Augusta market president at Savannah River Banking Co., agrees. He said the battle over the name is blinding residents to the tremendous change that is about to occur in the next decade.

“This is a lifetime opportunity for Augusta,” Wahl said. “We are going to be a university town.”

Wahl said he and others in the business community want to move past the name issue and look to the future.

“We can sit here and debate this issue all day long, but we have a major entity being created here that is going to be a major economic driver for years to come,” he said.

Wahl said he fears that if the protests over the new name continue, it could damage that plan and the governor and regents could lose faith in Augusta.

“This is a competitive situation,” he said. “It’s creating a stressful situation for everybody.”

Evans said he also understands that continued strife over the school name could be politically damaging to Augusta, but he said that doesn’t make it right.

“This is a forever decision and it needs to be the right one,” he said. “It doesn’t need to be a political decision, but that is what it has become.

“Why not bring everybody together instead of picking a name that divides us?”

Comments (29)

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TruthJusticeFaithHope
205
Points
TruthJusticeFaithHope 08/21/12 - 05:52 am
13
0

Thank you Mr. Evans for demonstrating courage and character.

Thank you Mr. Evans for demonstrating courage and character. The others quoted in this article appear only worried about the money they will rake in, and have no concern for what is right. When our leaders deceive us, lie to us, and work toward their own self interests over the best interests of the community, as Ricardo Azziz has done, good men must stand up and confront that behavior. To "move on" simply condones the unethical behavior that is so common in our society today. Thank you again Mr. Evans... Shame on the others.

csrareader
1200
Points
csrareader 08/21/12 - 06:06 am
14
1

I assume Mr. Wahl understands

I assume Mr. Wahl understands that he just placed Savannah River Banking Company in the category of groups backing Azziz. Right or wrong, SRBC will take a public relations hit on his ill-advised comments.

Riverman1
70402
Points
Riverman1 08/21/12 - 07:38 am
9
1

"Hull said the state is

"Hull said the state is prepared to put Augusta “in the front of the line” for millions of dollars in investment to build a research university on par with Georgia State and Georgia Tech."

So we get money because we accepted a stupid name? Well, heck, let's take it to the extreme and call it Bum-you know what- U and see if we can get even more.

Seriously, we talk about our efforts at historic preservation to save honored structures in the city then we do something like this that does away with a loved and historic name? There's a disconnect with the community.

straightshooter
90
Points
straightshooter 08/21/12 - 07:39 am
5
1

Why?

Why can't we have Augusta in the name and still receive this type of funding? Sounds like Augusta is already on the bottom of the "political totem pole" to me in the way that the name was chosen. So why should we be worried about fighting the name? It seems we can't get any worse politics against our town.

Riverman1
70402
Points
Riverman1 08/21/12 - 08:00 am
6
0
Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/21/12 - 08:05 am
7
0

Dumb and Dumber

Without a doubt, the name GRU is dumb. I save the word "dumb" for special occasions, and this is one now.

The only thing dumber is the belief that consolidating ASU and MCG will create a "comprehensive" university.

I sincerely question the intelligence of anyone who believes this. It's a belief on the level of Elvis working at Wal-Mart, little green men, and honest politicians.

Anyone with half a clue understands that ASU and MCG have absolutely nothing in common and serve distinctly different missions. A majority of local students will no longer be able to attend GRU, a fact that has repeatedly been admitted.

Combining ASU and MCG is analogous to combining Fort Gordon and the Post Office. Just because the federal government runs both doesn't mean they should be merged. The same is true for the Board of Regents.

It's just dumb.

single parent
395
Points
single parent 08/21/12 - 09:07 am
2
0

WOW

Hey what do you expect from a place that thinks a Judicial building, Tcenter and a once a year event supports the city. The same people that were there to loose a whole mall are still in there or a relative of those same people. No wait, where are there voices on this? We cannot even get First Friday right and for that matter cut the grass around the city, GEEZ! When the people speak I think the idea is to listen and respond, if for nothing else but to gain a few votes! You didn't see USC trying to put Mrytle Beach in the name over in Aiken. It is in Augusta so why in sam hill is it being called Regents something or another? Oh lets just call Atlanta, Jacksonville or Washington ,Peoria..The Augusta University, notice the "THE" . I know they did not say the name stands so funding will be gained? So I will just out and out black mail you into accepting my way or the highway? Again WOW! !

rmwhitley
5081
Points
rmwhitley 08/21/12 - 09:21 am
0
0

azziz ain't

Unpublished

from here and when he leaves he won't say nary a word about being an Augustan.

BamaMan
1801
Points
BamaMan 08/21/12 - 09:39 am
4
2

Regents

the Board of Regents is sounding like the Augusta National; they don't care WHAT you think, they are going to do it THEIR way, and we don't answer to ANYBODY.

Course I do applaud the National for admitting 2 women.

KSL
105585
Points
KSL 08/21/12 - 09:41 am
6
2

What is next? Giving in to a

What is next? Giving in to a dictator in Washington because he can threaten to withhold Federal funds slated for our area?

Everyone needs to remember that just because the powers that be promise something, it does not mean they will actually deliver. See Obama promises, for a great example.

Old Timmer
260
Points
Old Timmer 08/21/12 - 10:03 am
6
2

Gentlemen: Get some skin in the game!

Cudos to Mr. Evans. As to Mr. Hull, at least Mr. Wahl had the guts to list his company. Where does Hull work? As to the "other business leaders", please identify them. That way we can NOT use their businesses/services. Just like the rest of the public, there are repercussions to their actions. Side with Azziz against the community & you will have to pay the price. It is just that simple. Money (or the lack of it) talks & .... you know the rest.

KSL
105585
Points
KSL 08/21/12 - 05:52 pm
4
2

There is a lesson to be

There is a lesson to be learned from recent events. Darla Moore has given 70 million dollars to USC, the original one, not that one on the left coast. Private money is begining to be withheld. Many of the top educational institutions in our country are not state supported institutions. They depend on, guess what, money from non government sources. Unless they are so good at what they do they do not get gov. grants.

prov227
2288
Points
prov227 08/21/12 - 10:36 am
6
0

You broke par ...

Good show, Evans.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/21/12 - 10:43 am
7
0

Next protest?

Will the next protest be outside of Savannah River Banking?

KSL
105585
Points
KSL 08/21/12 - 10:47 am
5
2

A fight that won't be won.

A fight that won't be won. Thank goodness there were people who didn't have that attitude in times past.

nnaugusta
533
Points
nnaugusta 08/21/12 - 11:15 am
8
0

" said he fears that if the

" Wahl said he fears that if the protests over the new name continue, it could damage that plan and the governor and regents could lose faith in Augusta."

WHAT? How about Augusta HAS lost faith and trust in them and azizz.

I'm glad this Wahl guy let it be known who he represents......nice PR for your banking business bud. I see a sit down with shareholders in your future!

Next business?

David Parker
7919
Points
David Parker 08/21/12 - 01:04 pm
1
6

You want to play by the same

You want to play by the same rules that the figureheads in Atlanta play by?

Take the higher ground and leave the naming issue alone at this point. As one comment states, promises aren't kept at times anyway. Let the development and "once in a lifetime" chance gain some footing and once they cannot pull out, then have a day in court over the name. I see no gain by killing the consolidation over this. When they announced the merge, it was met with applause, now some of you want to scrap the idea altogether. I'd love to get a leg up on the big A and other second tier cities, so if the State wants to make that happen, let them. Its not selling out, its not folding, its having tact and the sense to know what the bigger picture represents.

Only 2 downers? I figured in much more negatism what with the snowball yall got going. Sorry to bring reasoning and intellect to the hatings.

Cynical old woman
1039
Points
Cynical old woman 08/21/12 - 12:26 pm
5
1

Yeah and boo

Yeah Mr. Evans
Boo Mr. Wahl

Next protest @ SRBC

Need to know Hull's business

showboat
264
Points
showboat 08/21/12 - 01:05 pm
0
0

My money will be taken out

Unpublished

My money will be taken out the SRBC bank today@@ Mr. wahl great move. I mean you just got this job and you are going to sell this bank down the drain!!!!!

GRUBS
7
Points
GRUBS 08/21/12 - 01:48 pm
5
0

"Our students need to have

"Our students need to have value and that means we’re going to have to invest in our name. We’re going to have to spend time and resources of our university to market this nationally, so we’re doing that,” Azziz responded. “The value won’t be immediately after you graduate, by the way. It’ll be 10 to 20 years from now.”

Please, Dr. Azziz, tell us why any of us should continue upon our education at these universities. While value in 10 to 20 years will certainly be peachy, most of us in college at the moment need this value to reflect immediately upon graduation in order to enter our prospective fields with respect. I see no reason that we should not transfer to an accredited college that is well known throughout the world, there are several in Georgia so it's not like our choices are limited.

What's in a name? Well a name is very important, it is the primary way in which we distinguish one thing from another, brands, products, services, and people. Wouldn't it be confusing if tommorrow Sears started calling itself something vague like Appliances and More? In this scenario Sears ceases to exist and a new entity comes out of it which must go through the same type of recognition processes as Sears did originally, even though this is the same store, staff, company etc. A name is important, behind a name you gain or lose recognition and respect in society.

Unfortunately, this topic is not about changing the name of a store. You are changing the name of what has been a major institution and cornerstone of culture here. Our colleges have been nationally recognized for many years. The community has shown its dissapproval on many different forums. There are people that are pulling out in their support for our colleges, there are people protesting, organizations are forming to rally against the name changing to Georgia Regents University, and news outlets nationally are reporting on this issue. Yet you seem to ignore all of this feedback as if it doesn't matter.

Who does the name change affect most? Sadly, the name change really only affects the current students of these institutions; ironic isn't it that the universities, and the entities that control the universities, are here to help the students grow and prosper. How does it affect us? Well we chose to come to Augusta State University or the Medical College of Georgia because they were nationally known and respected institutions and we were confident that after graduation we would be able to find employment. You now put much of that in jepordy, as it turns out a whole lot of people care a whole lot about the NAME that is on their diploma. To top that, when we graduate from GRU we will have to deal with the entire nation knowing that GRU was a product of dishonesty, disloyalty, and that this new institution pressed on even though it did not have the support of the community.

A name is very important. The community has asked you to reconsider the name of this newly merged institution. If the name does not change to something that can be accepted by everyone I fear that there will be many students that will simply not apply here in the future, and that many of the current students will feel forced to transfer to a different school so that they can graduate from accredited schools.

NrthAugustaSam
447
Points
NrthAugustaSam 08/21/12 - 02:37 pm
3
0
OnTheHill1
345
Points
OnTheHill1 08/21/12 - 03:37 pm
3
0

Their Timing is Intriguing

Thank you Mr. Morris and Mr. Evans for letting your displeasure be known. Your counsel to the institution's leadership will be missed, even though your opinions on this renaming were apparently ignored. Were you even asked?

What is intriguing is another influencer in the community has been oddly mute, Augusta National? The National has been quiet on Azziz's attack on Augusta, their city. They have invested millions of dollars and uncounted member and staff hours in making Augusta a destination coveted for, the badge is golden. Azziz has let his opinion known of the city ever since arriving here and even more so with his recent blog. His performance at the forums, his being incommunicado on the dispute has frustrated many in the community.

It wouldn't be the National's style to directly comment. But what if they made news, had hundreds of news outlets take a look at Augusta. Might those news outlets not stumble across the substantial community uproar over the minimization of the "Augusta" brand by this interloper Azziz?

This is not to minimize the acceptance of these highly talented individuals into their ranks, but the National's timing is intriguing.

KSL
105585
Points
KSL 08/21/12 - 04:58 pm
3
1

I got booed for making the

I got booed for making the same interpretation on the timing of the announcement.

I got more boos for a personal anecdote regarding my family connections to BJ.

KSL
105585
Points
KSL 08/21/12 - 05:10 pm
3
2

The fact that a golf

The fact that a golf tournament at a country club, named after the city it was located in, came to such prominence and importance, should not be overlooked. Certainly the likes of Azziz can't understand that. But the locals who are bowing down really ought to reconsider the position they are taking, or should I say "putting themselves in"?

KSL
105585
Points
KSL 08/21/12 - 05:35 pm
2
1

By the way, anecdote, do I

By the way, anecdote, do I start numbering them from today, Palmetto? Bobby Jones considered Atlanta for the location of his course, but decided on Augusta because "Atlanta was too cold." He continued to live in Atlanta

Is this anecdotal or just "insider information"? While he was sick and approaching his end, GT football players took turns visiting with him. It was a wonderful experience for all.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/21/12 - 07:29 pm
0
1

That's insider information,

Unpublished

That's insider information, KSL..at least I had not heard it before ....and truly very interesting.

Jake
30306
Points
Jake 08/21/12 - 08:12 pm
1
0

Bobby Jones

To me he was the best golfer ever. Not just in terms of his "Grand Slam" achievement but in his character. Being known as a "temperamental" golfer (i.e. club thrower) early in his amateur career, he turned himself around through self discipline into the consummate competitive golfer.
Late in his life while confined to his bed because of disease, he did indeed require the assistance of a GT football player to get him out of bed and into his wheelchair like KSL says.
While playing golf today at this small course in McCloud, CA, I saw on the wall an Augusta Journal newspaper from April 1962 which headlined that Palmer had just won his 3rd Green Jacket. What a thrill to read from my old hometown newspaper and see a photo of Arnie giving the ball he played with on that final Sunday to Bobby Jones who was obviously sitting in a wheel chair. Sad but historic nonetheless.

JustLilMe
109
Points
JustLilMe 08/21/12 - 10:14 pm
1
0

One person on the radio

One person on the radio mentioned the hypothesis that GRU is just a "throwaway" name. Perhaps just holding the signage up until the BOR deign the consolidated school as the Augusta campus of UGA??
Dr Azziz needs to learn that here, in the south, it is "cool" to respect and honor our history.

KSL
105585
Points
KSL 08/21/12 - 11:06 pm
0
1

Palmetto, I am sorry that

Palmetto, I am sorry that insider information and anecdotal lines get blurred. I am old. I don't look all that old. I don't feel all that old, but obviously my way of thinking is not on the charts.

soitgoes
654
Points
soitgoes 08/21/12 - 11:11 pm
1
0

I prefer gold

"Augusta University" is clearly a better, globally-recognized name, and the abbreviation is "AU," which happens to be the chemical symbol for GOLD. Additionally, Augusta is the feminine for of Augustus, which is Latin and translates to "August, magnificent, grand." If you can't brand that, on top of Augusta's already positive comnotation, you need to find another job. Augusta University is far better than "Regency Mall University."

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