The answer is there

University's new name must not abandon 'Augusta'

It’s been the name most consistently mentioned. Out of some 1,200 proposals, through round after round of deliberation and market study and debate, it’s the one name that has percolated through it all to the top.

The University of Augusta.

We urge the state Board of Regents to approve that next month as the new name for the soon-to-be-combined Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University.

It is among three names recommended by a committee overseeing the merger. The others are Georgia Regents University and Georgia Arts and Sciences University.

Let’s look at that.

Georgia Regents University might appeal to any regrettable narcissistic tendencies on the state Board of Regents, but in truth the name says next to nothing and is as dynamic as a flat tire.

Georgia Arts and Sciences University has significantly more appeal, but notably more syllables as well. Oddly enough, it has the potential for sports fans of the current Augusta State University to continue chanting “ASU!” at games. But it also invites opponents to shorten the name to the unflattering GAS.

Nor does the name help pinpoint the campus on the map.

In contrast, there is absolutely no downside to the more popular University of Augusta – and a ton of upside.

First, of course, it identifies the location.

Second, it’s less of a sea change, and provides less of a learning curve, from the current Augusta State University.

Third, there’s a certain sameness in calling so many of the state’s universities “Georgia” this or that. Frankly, it dilutes and even trivializes the brand.

Most importantly, “The University of Augusta” would capitalize on this city’s international name recognition that is owing to the Masters tournament – arguably the most prestigious sporting event in the world.

How many states, or companies for that matter, have such a positive and widespread brand recognition just fall into their laps like that?

And as we’ve suggested previously, students, alumni and fans could improve upon that brand recognition by emphasizing the “The” in the name – proudly calling it “The University of Augusta,” or shorten it to “The Augusta University,” as do students and alums of “The” Ohio State University.

In addition to the brand recognition and geographic orientation the name brings, “The University of Augusta” carries with it a simple elegance, an erudition that an institution of higher learning should aspire to.

Some have suggested the name bespeaks a “local” university. That might be so in the case of some municipalities, but not for the home of the Masters. It is a name that transcends state lines and country borders.

We would also simply let the Board of Regents know that folks around these parts feel very strongly about keeping “Augusta” in the name. It would feel close to an insult to many to leave it out, and would feed the perception that some in the state would like to diminish the prestige of the state’s second-largest city.

Moreover, one would hope that Augusta’s quick and enthusiastic embrace of the merger – not all communities have been as obliging – would count for something.

The practical reality is, this community and officials from both universities have gone through an exhaustive process of proposing, mulling and culling potential names. The one name that has survived the entire duration of this thorough and meticulous procedure is The University of Augusta.

It’s compact, informative, and evokes a name that, thanks to the Masters, has become synonymous around the world with excellence and prestige.

You can’t buy that kind of reputation. All you can do is try to live up to it.

Especially when it’s handed to you.

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