There may be an opportunity for a compromise regarding the name change of the merged academic institutions in Augusta.
The Board of Regents merged Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University to save money. There are several ways the merger saves money, but one way money is saved is by having one president for both institutions. The compromise that I would suggest is to allow Augusta State to retain one of three names: Augusta State University, Augusta State College or Augusta College. Georgia Health Sciences University could retain the name it currently has, or the name mandated by the Board of Regents – Georgia Regents University. The president of GHSU would act as the CEO of both institutions. Many corporations have “companies” that operate under a common corporate entity. There probably are other academic institutions with a similar corporate structure.
The regents could define whether each dean at Augusta State would answer to the GHSU president, or whether only the dean of the liberal arts college would answer to the GHSU president, and the other deans would answer to the dean of the liberal arts college.
When the Augusta State men’s golf team won back-to-back National golf championships against schools such as Oklahoma State and Florida State, it propelled them to national prominence. There is much more room for both institutions to gain national prominence, but the institution on Walton Way clearly wants to have “Augusta” in its name. Official documents could refer to the liberal arts institution as “Augusta (so-and-so), an academic division of Georgia (so-and-so).”
In the 1972-73 academic school year, I was the president of the Student Government Association at the Medical College of Georgia. I was the student representative on a committee to change the name of MCG. The 1972 committee recognized that the name did not reflect the reality that there were five schools at the institution, not just the School of Medicine. The committee decided that it would be too controversial to change the name, so we left the name MCG.
I think that, in 2012, it simply is too controversial remove “Augusta” from our liberal arts institution.
Douglas P. Clepper, D.M.D.