At the time in which the subject of naming the newly combined university in Augusta was broached, I think I was among the first to suggest the name “University of Augusta.” I envisioned that we could take our place among schools such as the University of Miami, University of Chicago, University of Pittsburgh and University of Houston.
However, the more I considered the matter from an objective standpoint, I began to see another side of the issue. Had the Medical College of Georgia (former name) been at one of the other major cities in Georgia such as Macon, Savannah, Columbus or Atlanta, I would have objected strenuously to a new name such as “University of Savannah” being used. Our only state-owned medical and dental schools (and primary state allied health, nursing and human science graduate schools) in the state need to reflect in their name the concept that they are statewide.
Similarly, we expect Augusta State University to expand and serve more people throughout the state. Limiting the name to one city would not serve a good purpose for either of these institutions at this time of change and expansion.
As for the name “Georgia Regents University,” it does not particularly excite me, but then, I have not heard of another that is better. I certainly was not supportive of the suggestion of naming the school “George Walton University,” in spite of what his name means to the history of the state. The other “university” names reflecting statewide service already are in use.
Attempting to look positively at the newly proposed name of Georgia Regents University, I hope it will bring us closer to the Board of Regents, which governs the University System’s 30-plus schools. Since Augusta has not had a regent member from here in a number of years, we could benefit by having a closer connection with that governing body.
So let’s be realistic with the new name as we remember that the entire state needs to be considered in naming the newly consolidated institution, which gets most of its funding from the state. We just happen to be extremely fortunate that Augusta has both of these fine merging institutions. Having spent most all of my professional career with the then-Medical College of Georgia, I look forward to seeing what the future brings.