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Azziz says scholarships, new programs fuel growth at GRU

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 5:19 PM
Last updated Wednesday, May 1, 2013 12:58 AM
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With a program to funnel undergraduates into physicians, new presidential scholarships and funding from a recent $66 million gift, Georgia Regents University and the Medical College of Georgia are positioning themselves to get high-caliber students who might have gone elsewhere, President Ricardo Azziz said Tuesday.

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Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz delivers his annual State of the University address in Lee Auditorium.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz delivers his annual State of the University address in Lee Auditorium.

In his annual State of the University address, Azziz outlined ambitious plans to expand programs, sports and especially student enrollment and research despite challenges.

More than 550 people packed a large auditorium and an overflow room to hear his first address since Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University officially consolidated to become GRU.

“I think all of you would agree we hit the ground running on Jan. 8,” Azziz said. He acknowledged the difficulty of blending two different cultures and took time to honor achievements of both, including ASU’s back-to-back NCAA Division I golf championships.

Although it is important “to honor and maintain the traditions and the histories of our institutions, our colleges, our peoples,” Azziz said, “we also must learn to build new traditions, new stories as we create the GRU community.”

One key to that success will be “strategic student enrollment growth,” Azziz said, which the university plans to mushroom from about 8,800 for spring semester to 18,500. Another is to compete for top-tier students with a combination of new programs and scholarships, he said. For instance, the school plans to begin this fall a bachelor of science to medical doctor program, he said.

“As a benefit of our consolidation, we are able now to offer new joint-degree programs to our students,” Azziz said.

Those programs are popular and become “a game-changer for the quality of the students that you recruit into those programs,” said Dr. Paul M. Wallach, the vice dean of academic affairs at MCG. “This type of a program attracts a top-tier student who comes out of high school academically excellent and knows they want to go into medicine. The advantage for the student coming to GRU, now in a consolidated university, is that the medical school is actually engaged in the program.”

Other undergraduate degree programs are beginning, from computer system information management, such as cybersecurity and app development, to degrees in anthropology and ecology, Azziz said.

“Each of these degree programs provides an exciting academic opportunity for our students and are areas in high demand for employment over the next decade,” he said.

Recruitment will also be enhanced by new presidential scholarships for “high potential” students, and MCG will benefit from the $66 million gift from the estate of Dr. J. Harold Harrison that will create an endowment to fund scholarships for MCG students enrolled in Augusta and endowed faculty chairs in Augusta.

“It would also attract people who tend to go elsewhere because they would get full scholarships from other institutions,” Azziz said. “The best and the brightest would often go elsewhere because they’re not funded.”

In addition to the record-setting gift, MCG and the rest of GRU will benefit from $64 million in special funding approved in the most recent budget, which Gov. Nathan Deal will sign in Augusta on May 7, Azziz said.

That includes $45 million to help fund a new cancer research building, $10 million to fund cancer research and $4.6 million for other initiatives, including expanding the faculty at the College of Dental Medicine to handle increased enrollment, he said.

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countyman
19174
Points
countyman 04/30/13 - 05:43 pm
6
2
Major growth

I'm surprised the article didn't include any of his comments related to the Cultural/Mills campuses. Dr. Azziz and the BOR are clearly impressed with the proposal, and certain people are using the phrase 'Game Changer' which I agree with.

The new campuses, and the $100 million Cancer Center are the two best things IMO.

Gage Creed
15814
Points
Gage Creed 04/30/13 - 08:38 pm
3
1
Soon to be announced shuttle

Soon to be announced shuttle bus initiative and advanced architectural planning adds $(Dixieman's Points Total) to local economy.

willie7
920
Points
willie7 04/30/13 - 09:28 pm
1
4
Great News!!!! We ae going to
Unpublished

Great News!!!! We ae going to have a first tier universary in our city.
Praise God for Dr. Azziz.

Gage Creed
15814
Points
Gage Creed 04/30/13 - 09:37 pm
4
1
I don't care who you

I don't care who you are....that right there.. ↑↑↑↑ is funny!

Riverman1
79770
Points
Riverman1 04/30/13 - 10:25 pm
3
0
Gage, funny stuff. But look at this quote

Gage, funny stuff.

But look at this: "Recruitment will also be enhanced by new presidential scholarships for “high potential” students, and MCG will benefit from the $66 million gift from the estate of Dr. J. Harold Harrison that will create an endowment to fund scholarships for MCG students enrolled in Augusta and endowed faculty chairs in Augusta."

Interesting that Dr. Harrison's gift is specific for Augusta and apparently can't be used at the Athens campus. I would, also, ask his family to talk with Gov. Deal about our problems with Azziz. That family has the respect and thanks of everyone and will be listened to.

OnTheHill1
345
Points
OnTheHill1 04/30/13 - 10:29 pm
4
2
A Different Azziz?

Watched online, and compared his comportment to the meetings I attended on the consolidation:

1. Speech Preparation - He stumbled a lot in reading the prepared text, like maybe he had only read it once, not appropriate for a major speech, State of the University.

2. On His Not Being Liked - He compared his situation to Woodrow Wilson who said any President who encourages change will never be liked, not realizing that the loathing he so well deserves does not come from purely the changes he has implemented, but rather how they were implemented and most recently, from his personal antics.

3. Not Taking Questions - Even though he finished his prepared remarks before the end of the hour, he actually commented on same, he refused to take questions.

4. Overall Demeanor - This was most telling, he seemed visibly nervous, not at all comfortable, this was his first public appearance since Wedding-Gate, Drop-off-at-School-Gate and Garage-Gate, perhaps the pressure of this public scrutiny has got him flummoxed?

He was simply a different Azziz from past performances.

fatboyhog
1825
Points
fatboyhog 04/30/13 - 11:25 pm
2
3
Getting rid of Azizz

would probably fuel growth, too. He has made ASU a laughingstock and has made himself look like a fool. Only he's too "smart" to see that. There has been too much negativity with him at the helm. He needs to crawl back under the rock from which he came. I say we bring back Dr. Shirley Kenny.

KSL
122218
Points
KSL 05/01/13 - 12:06 am
2
4
fatboyhog

That sounds like an excellent idea.

KSL
122218
Points
KSL 05/01/13 - 12:09 am
3
2
The best and the brightest

The best and the brightest tend to go where they are going to be taught by the best and the brightest.

Concerned in CC
5
Points
Concerned in CC 05/01/13 - 06:51 am
3
1
Huffington Post

Maybe Dr. Azziz is too busy writing articles in the Huffington Post on how to retain employees to prepare for his speech. He's got a whole series of bland, generic management articles there. Of all the topics to write about (higher ed, healthcare, Georgia), he is writing these. A sign he is trying to market himself elsewhere?

Red Headed Step Child
4006
Points
Red Headed Step Child 05/01/13 - 05:04 pm
2
2
Nervous

I'm sure his strategy in not taking any questions was so that he wouldn't be lambasted about the "stellar leadership decisions" he has made recently. I wouldn't think he'd be a coward...

Riverman1
79770
Points
Riverman1 05/01/13 - 08:23 am
3
1
Huffington Post Comments

His Huffington Post comments are interesting. With all the problems here and his few words addressing our issues, he has time to write for the Huff? Strange.

It was a monumental mistake that the president of the undergraduate school wasn't chosen to lead the merger. She/he would have had more time and insight to handle the problems of combining institutions. I'm sure we wouldn't have ended up with this Grooo name if ANYONE else had been chosen.

Little Lamb
44027
Points
Little Lamb 05/01/13 - 08:46 am
1
1
Decades

It will take decades to build up the non-medical part of the university. The paucity of non-medical degree offerings is a shame. You have a much better variety of non-medical degree offerings at other Georgia state universities than you do here.

csrareader
1283
Points
csrareader 05/01/13 - 10:10 am
2
1
Mr. Azziz... you can't make

Mr. Azziz... you can't make your shenanigans go away by not answering questions about same shenanigans. You can make them go away by you going away.

Darby
23689
Points
Darby 05/01/13 - 11:39 am
1
1
One thing we all know...

If Azziz says it, it has to be true!

Riverman1
79770
Points
Riverman1 05/01/13 - 01:49 pm
2
0
BS to MD is Good Plan

"For instance, the school plans to begin this fall a bachelor of science to medical doctor program, he said."

Guarantee admission to med school if they complete the program and you will immediately get better students here. THAT program I totally agree with.

Gage Creed
15814
Points
Gage Creed 05/01/13 - 07:30 pm
0
0
Interesting acronyms...BS to

Interesting acronyms...BS to MD

Fools_and_sages
360
Points
Fools_and_sages 05/01/13 - 07:45 pm
0
0
Best and brightest
Unpublished

Did you know that many of the faculty on the ASU side of this consolidation got their Ph.D. at some of the top universities in the nation such as Berkeley, Emory, UNC Chapel Hill, Rutgers, Syracuse, Ohio State, Mercer, Brown, Penn State, St Louis U, University of Chicago, Loyola, Perdue, University of Kentucky, University of Indiana, Washington State, Boston University, Alabama, Iowa, University of Edinburgh, among many others? These people are among the best and brightest in their fields. They may have chosen to be in Augusta, but that doesn't mean they didn't have better offers elsewhere and couldn't go elsewhere if they wanted to. So, saying, "The best and the brightest tend to go where they will be taught by the best and brightest." really just shows how dumb some people are around these parts.

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