I am writing regarding the uproar over the recent naming of the merged institutions of Georgia Health Sciences University and Augusta State University.
I am an alumnus of the Medical College of Georgia, and practiced surgery in Augusta for almost 30 years, and feel I am entitled to an opinion.
I am not a fan of GHSU President Ricardo Azziz, having never met him. I also do not particularly care for the name Georgia Regents University for the merged schools. I also do not think the merged schools should be named Augusts State University.
These institutions never should have been merged. They have different academic histories, functions and goals. The former Medical College of Georgia is one of the larger medical schools in the country. It is almost 200 years old.
It has national and international recognition, with a history of outstanding faculty such as William Moretz (vascular surgery), Virgil Sydensticker (internal medicine) and Raymond Alquist (pharmacology). Dr. Alquist was the first to identify and classify adrenergic receptors into alpha and beta classes. This led to the introduction of many medications used today, and has revolutionized the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Many of his contemporaries feel he should have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work in this field.
Augusta State University is much younger – its Augusta College name dating from the 1950s. It initially was a commuter college, deriving most of its students locally. I don’t think it has a national reputation for academic excellence. It does have national recognition in athletics, for its golf and basketball teams.
When two institutions merge, one must dominate. It is foolhardy to think ASU will be the dominant one. It is a local institution. The medical college is a state institution with alumni from all over the nation.
This new institution is not a local university, but it is the flagstaff medical school and research institution for all of Georgia, and for this reason should have “Georgia” in its name.
Charles R. Veazey, M.D.