Boos and a few cheers met the announcement that Augusta State University is now officially Georgia Regents University during the first quarter of the Jaguars’ basketball game Saturday.
On the mezzanine during the men’s game and the women’s game that preceded it, volunteers handed out free cups and T-shirts bearing the GRU logo. Reactions to the logo and the merger were varied.
Bobby Wells didn’t know what the “GRU” splashed across the front of the shirt meant. He turned it down only because they didn’t have his size.
“What does it mean?” he asked. “I thought I was at Augusta State. Where did (GRU) come from?”
Wells was at the game to support two of his nieces – one plays for Armstrong Atlantic State and the other performs on the dance team for the Jaguars.
After receiving an explanation about the merger of Georgia Health Sciences and Augusta State universities, he said he thought the new logo was nice.
“It’s sort of got a catch to it,” he said.
GRU freshman Nichole Lyday said she likes the logo. She came to Augusta in the fall from Auburn, Ga., and said she had no attachments to the Augusta State name.
Alumnus Charlie Jones has very strong attachments to the name and the merger leaves a bad taste in his mouth.
“(GRU President Ricardo) Azziz is a thug. He needs to go back where he came from,” he said.
Jones earned three degrees from Augusta College, which Augusta State was once known as. He will continue to support his alma mater.
“I just love my school. Always have and always will,” he said.
Peggy Patterson didn’t like the new logo at all. She attended the game to watch her grandson, Ridge Underwood, perform as the Jaguar mascot.
Patterson, of McDonough, Ga., didn’t follow the events leading to the merger, but that didn’t stop her from forming her own opinions.
“This is Augusta, and I like the Augusta University (or) other names they had,” she said. “Everything that I’ve heard around me today, nobody likes this name.”