“What’s in a name?” Perhaps Shakespeare got it right while addressing the supposed differences between the families of Romeo and Juliet. Now, the rhetorical firestorm caused by the name of a newly merged unit of the state university system has achieved dramatic proportions worthy of Shakespeare himself.
Editorial Page Editor Michael Ryan has summed up this situation in the Sept. 9 Opinion section (“In your words: Mountain of mail opposes university name”). The “flood” of conventional and electronic mail probably will continue for some time, but I am afraid that these expressions may prove insufficient to right what many consider a wrong inflicted upon the former Medical College of Georgia/Georgia Health Sciences University and Augusta State University.
Really there are only two possible outcomes: “Georgia Regents University” becomes the name of the new academic institution, or the Board of Regents selects a different name. The student bodies and staffs of both schools, the alumni and the public have been informed repeatedly that the first outcome will be upheld, in spite of the outcry, the national survey results and the name’s failure to acknowledge either university location or mission.
I may not be enthralled with the sound of GRU. However, a school is more than a name or catchy acronym. A school is people, buildings and physical, intellectual and spiritual resources – all intended to fulfill its stated missions. I am an alumnus of another distinguished medical school whose name was changed the year I graduated. In spite of our class’ protestations, our diplomas bore the school’s new name. So what did we do about it? Actually, very little, except to continue to call the school by its previous name, as do most physicians who have graduated from this school during the following 42 years. My wife, an Augusta College alumna, continues to call it AC. I, for one, will continue to call it MCG.