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Augusta State University alumni fear the end of annual A Day barbecue

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A big blue “A” on his baseball cap said it all for Bill Joplin: he loves Augusta and wants to keep it in the university name.

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The annual A Day barbecue hosted by the Augusta State University alumni association was held at the Barnard Amphitheater.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
The annual A Day barbecue hosted by the Augusta State University alumni association was held at the Barnard Amphitheater.

The Augusta State University Alumni Association celebrated A Day — its annual fundraising campaign – on Friday night with barbecue and music. Many proud graduates and longtime supporters feared that it could be the very last of the big A.

“It could be like ‘R’ day next time for Regents University,” said former Augusta mayor Bob Young.

Young said he’s not a fan of Georgia Regents University – the new name chosen by the Georgia Board of Regents for the merged Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities.

The university consolidation will complicate things for next year’s A Day, Young said. Leaders need to figure out how to merge or retain separate alumni associations, foundations and support groups, he said.

At the celebration, young and old graduates said alumni pride will suffer with the name change.

“It doesn’t surprise me they would want to give it a name they think would have more national appeal, but my emotions tell me I love Augusta,” said Joplin, a 1968 graduate of Augusta College.

Former Augusta State president Bill Bloodworth said A Day has become an event associated with a university where everyone is like family.

“That’ll be passing away,” Bloodworth said. “This is reflective of the kind of small university we are. I hope we can keep that.”

Young applauded the community members who have objected to the name, but doesn’t think a local campaign to “Save the A” by replacing the name Georgia Regents University with University of Augusta will change anything.

“The concrete on the new name has dried. The decision has been made,” Young said. “I don’t think we should sit here and be preoccupied with the name. We have too much other stuff to do.”

Class of 2005 graduate Angela Smith said Augusta State will always be her alma mater. Smith and her husband, Levi Smith, a 2011 graduate, have donated money to the Save the A campaign and signed the petition.

“Where’s GRU? It doesn’t have an identity,” Levi Smith said.

Amber Davis, a 2012 graduate, signed the Save the A petition on Friday before coming to her first alumni association A Day celebration.

“It may be the last one,” Davis said. “If I can support the school in any way, I’ll do it.”

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palmetto1008 10/12/12 - 08:38 pm
Bob Young has the guts to

Bob Young has the guts to call it the way it is. I'm sorry that Augusta could not have benefited more from his leadership.

just an opinion
just an opinion 10/12/12 - 09:19 pm
Years from now, we will switch it back.

The 2012 arrogant Board of Regents will be known as the egomaniacs who felt like they deserved to have a college named after them. It will be viewed as a classless act that will be ridiculed for many years to come. What an example these CLOWNS set!

Techfan 10/13/12 - 04:47 am
Just change it to G-Day. You

Just change it to G-Day. You could pronounce it like an Aussie.

Riverman1 10/13/12 - 06:23 am


Observations, I've seen nothing positive about reversing the decision to name it GRU. Bob Young could be right that the concrete has dried. Secondly, I do believe GRU will be a transitional name and it will be changed to......drum roll..... ASU in about a decade.

Riverman1 10/13/12 - 06:21 am
One Person Could Have Stopped GRU

There's only one person who could have brought enough pressure locally and politically to have saved the A. Deke Copenhaver. And, classically, he took off for the beach. See why it's so important to have a strong personality in that weakly legislated Mayor's office? When you put a weak person in a weakly designed position, you are....well, weak.

Riverman1 10/13/12 - 07:02 am
Techfan said, "Just change it

Techfan said, "Just change it to G-Day. You could pronounce it like an Aussie."

Ha, and for more Aussie humor...and if Mitt Romney visited and asked what the excitement was all about, we could tell him, "G-Day, Mitt."

SemperParatus 10/13/12 - 06:06 pm
Sound off

If you would like to write, email or call the chairman of the Georgia Board of Regents expressing your views, here's his contact information:

Ben J. Tarbutton, III
Sandersville Railroad
P.O. Box 269
Sandersville, GA 31082
478-552-5151 ext. 208
Fax 478-552-1118

scamp1 10/13/12 - 06:56 pm
A Funeral

This was not an A-Day Celebration, it was an A-Day Funeral. It will be remembered as Sad-Day.

Old Timmer
Old Timmer 10/13/12 - 07:47 pm
Several Points

1. As of Jan 1 there is no Augusta State University.
2. If you give up the fight now, this name will never be changed in the future.
3. As to foundations, etc. it depends on how they are incorporated. MCG found out when Pres. Rahn tried to force the existing foundation out by starting another new one, that the existing MCG Foundation could continue. He still started another one so now there are two. Keep the "A" in the existing foundation or cave like all the rest.

Conservative Man
Conservative Man 10/13/12 - 09:03 pm
Riverman's 6:21..

...nailed it. Leadership from our "hider in Chief" has been sorely lacking on this issue...

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