I understand the displeasure and disappointment with the name “Georgia Regents University.” My wife and I are alumni and former athletes of Augusta College. I now proudly serve on the Board of Trustees of Augusta State University. No one wanted “University of Augusta” more than my wife and I.
I hate that all this amazing energy is being used to protest the name, and all of the countless positives, growth and possibilities this affords our community are not the major focus.
I remember the hundreds of calls I received when AC became ASU. I didn’t like the name change one bit. Now I look at the beautiful campus, the national championships, the Final Four/Elite Eight appearances and the campus energy, and wonder: Would all this have happened without the new name and goals?
Then the mighty uproar when Medical College of Georgia became Georgia Health Sciences University. All the discussion about this was prelude to an Athens medical school campus. What it brought was a new focus, and now an opportunity this town hasn’t had since Bobby Jones started a golf tournament here.
Now we have the consolidation of ASU/GHSU, becoming GRU. Do I like the name? Not really. Will it grow on me? Sure. What excites me is: millions in new infrastructure and construction projects for Augusta; a potential billion-dollar economic impact; zero probability of the medical school going to Athens; 6,000 new energetic young people in Augusta; students living on the Summerville campus; the potential of our athletic programs; a new downtown campus that could be the boost our downtown deserves; being one of only four research Universities in Georgia; and, potentially, having the
finest medical research university in the United States.
I wish that, over time, GRU becomes a great source of pride for the Augusta area. I feel confident we will look back in 10-15 years and see how much Augusta grew because of GRU.