As a recent retiree from the University of Cincinnati, I find Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz’s perceptions of the urban university, named for its city, rather insulting, but also quite pathetic.
Being named for the city which gave it its start, contributing to a long and impressive history – and growing a large group of alumni who continue to contribute to its growth and development – has not in any way harmed the University of Cincinnati. But that may not be the case for a newly named university with the consequent erasure of its long and excellent history, along with the snubbing of its many benefactors and donors who come from generations of graduates from the former Medical College of Georgia and Augusta State University.
As a Ph.D. graduate from Michigan State University, I remember when people called us the “cow college” because of our agricultural origins. But instead of changing our name, we built upon our humble beginnings, taking immense pride in our ancestors who fought hard for funding, and built a small campus into the huge enterprise it is now.
The University of Augusta should be allowed to do the same – to claim its roots, own its story and its history, and to see the potential that Azziz has been hard-pressed to recognize, or he would not be as determined as he is to erase our past instead of glorying in it, and drawing our support from its solid foundations.
If he cannot continue to build our reputation on our prior foundation, it is unlikely he will ever build it on no foundation at all.
Marcia Ribble, Ph.D.