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Regents finalize college consolidation

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 12:12 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 9:23 PM
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It took a year of “enormous effort” to create Geor­gia Regents University, Pres­i­dent Ricardo Azziz said Tuesday, but that was just the beginning.

Georgia Regents University students Arthur Chapman (left) and Bryan Hatcher speak about the consolidation. Both attend classes at the former Augusta State campus.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Georgia Regents University students Arthur Chapman (left) and Bryan Hatcher speak about the consolidation. Both attend classes at the former Augusta State campus.

“This is the first day of this next great university that we have to help build,” he said.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents gave final approval Tuesday to the merger and new name for the former Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities, one of four mergers it voted to begin last year.

That was just the start, Azziz said.

“A lot of work remains to be done,” he said.

The next big steps are finishing a needs assessment that takes into account future research and student growth along with current student, faculty and staff needs. That includes integrating the former Georgia Golf Hall of Fame property on Reynolds Street, which Azziz refers to as the “riverfront campus,” and what programs might be created or shifted there.

“For example, you could consider expanding the presence of arts and music on the riverfront campus, public health, bio-innovation, these kinds of things,” Azziz said. “We need to think it through, but we need to think it through in a coordinated fashion.”

Next steps include updating a master facilities plan that takes into account important new pieces, such as creating the state’s second National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center. The Board of Regents voted last year to include $45 million in bond funding for the project in its fiscal year 2014 budget request.

“That is a very important piece of not just the future of this current university but the future of cancer health care in Georgia,” Azziz said.

He plans to continue a “listening tour” by dropping in on faculty and staff meeting and holding informal chats around campus.

“I’ve found in the past that it just provides an invaluable insight into what’s going on, what’s on people’s minds and what’s really the reality on the ground,” Azziz said.

Consolidation has seen its share of controversy, particularly over the choice of the name Georgia Regents over the much more popular University of Augusta. It prompted a pending lawsuit from Regent University in Virginia that claims the name violates its trademark.

Walking across what is now referred to as the Summerville campus (the former ASU), accounting student Bryan Hatcher said he wasn’t bothered by the consolidation. He is already taking advantage of access to student services at the health sciences campus.

“I’m going to go to the gym later today,” the 21-year-old said.

Communications student and Augusta native Arthur Chapman, 21, said he understands why people wanted Augusta in the name and he fears the Georgia Regents name on his résumé will need further explanation.

“Then you have to go through the task of explaining to them that this is a great university,” he said. “And a real place.”

Azziz said he thinks things are getting better even if some are still upset.

“Not everybody will be happy, but my sense is that people are becoming increasingly excited about the idea of a great comprehensive university in Augusta, a great comprehensive university anchored around the health sciences for the state of Georgia,” he said. “I think that people are seeing the potential ahead.”

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showboat
346
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showboat 01/08/13 - 01:37 pm
0
0
Strong support from Deal,
Unpublished

Strong support from Deal, Deal want be re-elected out the door he will go!!!!! Az will be behind him!!!

BamaMan
2482
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BamaMan 01/08/13 - 02:25 pm
4
1
MCG

has been known as MCG for most of it's 175-year existence? Not so sure about that. I'm no spring chicken, but I do remember when it was (Eugene?) Talmadge hospital. So no way it could've been MCG for most of it's 175-year history.

Sweet son
10729
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Sweet son 01/08/13 - 04:01 pm
4
2
Will look forward to the AC busting Azziz..............

on the price of his new palace at Augusta State!

razordog
195
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razordog 01/08/13 - 04:22 pm
10
1
I LIKE IT

I like the way "listening tour" and "team effort" are in quotation marks! Both of these statements are a load of crap.

countyman
20581
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countyman 01/08/13 - 04:31 pm
2
4
Let's hurry up and build up

Let's hurry up and build up the Medical District, and the CBD. I can't wait for the influx of new students, and faculty. This is the perfect time for Laney Walker and Harrisburg to get their fair share of new life. I'm sure the CBD, Waters Edge, Olde Town, and Summerville will have no problem attracting new people.

I'm glad to hear the plans to expand transit are moving forward, because of the future GHSU/ASU growth. There's no denying young people want to use public transportation in order to get around town.

Edward1968
592
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Edward1968 01/08/13 - 04:39 pm
6
1
Talmadge

BamaMan, The teaching aspect has been MCG for that period of time. Eugene Talmadge Memorial Hospital (AKA the "Jaundice Palace") was the state hospital that was MCG's teaching hospital until expansion resulted in the name change to the MCG Medical Center.

Razordog, you hit the nail on the head!!

Azziz saying ".......But my sense is people are becoming more excited about a great comprehensive university in Augusta.” is ridiculous. I have heard of very few people lauding GRUesome U.
To me, and I believe most others, our two universities will always be MCG and ASU.

Little Lamb
46859
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Little Lamb 01/08/13 - 04:43 pm
4
2
Other People’s Money

countyman posted:

There's no denying young people want to use public transportation in order to get around town.

Yeah, especially since old people are subsidizing the young.

Riverman1
86791
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Riverman1 01/08/13 - 07:13 pm
2
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Serious question. If someone

Serious question. If someone wants to meet someone at the medical school or, for that matter, the old ASU campus, how is it described? GRU Medical School? Is that official? GRU will mean the old ASU? How is the medical school differentiated from the undergrad school? Questions, questions.

Riverman1
86791
Points
Riverman1 01/08/13 - 07:17 pm
3
1
Georgia State University

Georgia State University maintains its own fleet of buses in Atlanta for students to get around. It runs on a regular schedule and is free for students. I believe the public can ride if a fee is paid. That seems like a good way to have the state fund the buses.

thauch12
6848
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thauch12 01/08/13 - 08:26 pm
4
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Never been to a real college?

No Riverman, GSU PantherExpress (and 99.99999% of other college shuttle systems) doesn't work the way you think it does. They have buses that run on loops throughout GSU's small downtown campus and one that goes to Turner Field where some students park. That's it. It isn't some sort of MARTA clone that runs throughout the city. It isn't meant for the public at all. Using this as a loophole to have state sponsored APT isn't going happen.

justputtin
1440
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justputtin 01/08/13 - 09:37 pm
3
1
Listening tour????

Seriously?!? Does anyone believe that junk coming out of his mouth? For someone who is obviously educated he makes some comments that are either extremely stupid or he thinks everyone else is ignorant.

Riverman1
86791
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Riverman1 01/08/13 - 09:59 pm
5
1
Thautch12

Thanks for enlightening me about the Panther express. You are right, I never attended college and don't know much about a college campus. Is it like a big high school? In South Carolina we didn't even have school buses in my county. I used my push scooter that didn't have pedals like the Amish have. I really wish I would have had an experience like you must have had in college. It must have been something.

But I wonder if a college owned bus service connecting MCG, ASU, new riverfront campus and the Wrightsboro Rd complex would be helpful? Heck, that would cover a big part of the city.

Old Timmer
260
Points
Old Timmer 01/09/13 - 12:19 am
6
1
Comical

Most MCG/GHSU students drive. The buses are to get around or now between the various campuses. MCG is in-house, ASU is outsourced. Our two universities are now one with a stupid name and no there is no "A' in it. The official press release says GRU not GRU-A. I hate this move, I hate the people that made it happen, & I hate the local fools that caved in on it. Not a dime, ever again!

countyman
20581
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countyman 01/09/13 - 03:05 am
1
2
My comments were related to

My comments were related to the city's public transportation but GRU will definitely have to expand their public transportation. The construction of student dorms/additional campuses will force the current shuttles to be expanded.

In terms of making the city's system viable over the next few years. Many students, faculty, regular citizens, etc would use public transportation if the system was ran better.

Augusta is behind the times so it may take a while for the rest of the public to catch up. We can definitely count on the people at Fort Gordon and young adults to use the expanded bus system at first.

Demolishing the bus terminal on Broad(sell the land to GRU or private developer), building a transfer station/police precinct in the CBD, and building the main bus depot in South Augusta all sound good too me.

The final product must be the Augusta Greenway and rail connecting the CBD/Medical District/Paine College, and then possibly the ASU Walton Way Campus/North Augusta.

freeradical
1102
Points
freeradical 01/09/13 - 06:59 am
4
1
I love it when the Academic

I love it when the Academic establishment flex their knowledge of what

is best for the whole society and then make it law .

They are so cool.

Riverman1
86791
Points
Riverman1 01/09/13 - 09:11 am
4
0
Summerville?

I see from Corwin's statement that ASU is now to be referred to as Summerville. What the heck is this, another name change? Does everyone around Azziz have orders to never use the word Augusta in ANYTHING? Is it some kind of game where others can punch you on the arm if you say Augusta?

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 01/09/13 - 11:04 am
3
0
Punch, punch.

Punch, punch.

Tom Corwin
9933
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Tom Corwin 01/09/13 - 02:47 pm
1
0
Names

Riverman,

Actually, the medical school retained the name Medical College of Georgia so MCG still exists except that it refers only to the medical school and not to the entire university. So it would be Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. As the story said, the boards that govern the clinical system will have to decide later this month what its new name will be. We have continued to use Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics because I believe that is still its legal name. The clinical system has changed its brand name several times over the last several years so we use MCG to avoid confusing our readers each time a change is made. As far as the campuses, Summerville is just a designation Azziz and other leaders use to refer to that location; it is not the official name of the former ASU campus. All of it is Georgia Regents University.

BamaMan,

Talmadge is actually the name of the oldest of the two hospital buildings that make up the adult hospital. As far as I know that is still the building's name but obviously we refer to the whole thing as Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics. Many of the buildings on campus bear someone's name; for instance, there is the Greenblatt Library and the Sanders Research and Education Building. Some were named after people who were influential in getting them funded and others were named for prominent MCG folks. Hope that helps.

Riverman1
86791
Points
Riverman1 01/09/13 - 08:59 pm
0
0
Thanks, Tom. But you know

Thanks, Tom. But you know that brings up our SATELLITE MCG campus in Athens. It's a branch of MCG at GRU at Athens right?

I wonder how the paper will use the Augusta identification allowed on the end of GRU? I take it the basketball team will be known as GRU Augusta.

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