I have lived in Aiken, S.C., since 1951, and have been reading with interest in The Augusta Chronicle about the renaming of the merged Georgia Health Sciences University and Augusta State University to Georgia Regents University.
My initial thought at reading the new name was that it had as much distinction as a bowl of cold oatmeal – bland and tasteless. The people immediately reacted to the name. Students, professors, past graduates and the community at large, for the most part, couldn’t stand the sight of it, much less swallow it.
It seems the Board of Regents and GHSU President Ricardo Azziz assumed the role of parents dealing with unruly children by telling the complainers, “Swallow it. It’s good for you, and you’ll learn to love it!” Being a mother, grandmother and retired teacher, I know by experience that those words are the ultimate challenge to slam shut the ears, dig in the heels and cause an immediate end to communication! When that happens, no one wins, and no progress is made.
That said, and realizing my opinion carries zero weight, I find it amazing that the name “Augusta” does not appear prominently in the name given to these fine, combined institutions. It seems the people given the responsibility to establish the new mega university decided unilaterally to give it a name with no meaning and no ties to the history of the schools – and with no consideration of the feelings of the majority of the citizens of Augusta.
With the accomplishments of both colleges being tremendous, and with the potential they have to move forward to even higher levels of academic prominence, it is a mystery to me that the banner will read like an ad for an online correspondence course. How can that impress the worldwide attention they crave? It would be like calling Oxford University “Old College of Peers.”
All the bickering is bringing the wrong kind of attention to the schools, and bickering causes boredom in the extreme. The whole thing has lowered supposedly brilliant people to the level of, “Oh yeah? My dad can beat your dad. So there!” It is hard to imagine things can move forward until rational thought prevails, and until Azziz and the regents open their minds to reason (translate: listen), and reconsider their position on the name.
The school needs to have familiar place association, not a moniker to honor a group of people.