Editorial: What's in a name? Everything!

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Seldom does The Augusta Chronicle run a front-page editorial. It does so only when the subject is of utmost importance to our nation, state or community.

This editorial speaks to a matter of critical importance to our state and to Augusta.

The Board of Regents of the state of Georgia has made a colossal error this week in choosing a new name for the combined Augusta State University and Medical College of Georgia (recently named by the regents, at President Ricardo Azziz’s recommendation, “Georgia Health Sciences University”).

The new name does not include “Augusta.” Instead, the state Board of Regents has decided to name it “Georgia Regents University.”

What a tragic mistake.

The suggested new name means nothing. It gives no recognition, or appreciation, to our city for its inseparable bond with the two institutions involved, which reaches back to the founding of the medical college in the 1820s. It’s a relationship that includes incredible support in every possible way over all those years.

What a slap in the face. And to a community that quickly embraced the state’s desire to consolidate the two schools.

There are numerous other reasons the “Georgia Regents University” name is a horrid choice, including:

– It doesn’t honor or invoke any special person, place or thing. It is, in short, completely devoid of meaning.

– Because of that, the name cannot possibly inspire the least amount of affection from students and alumni, or from the community at large.

That attachment means more than feelings; in the case of a university, it can affect the bottom line, if alumni feel alienated or simply unexcited about giving to the alma mater.

Indeed, it will alienate generations of sons and daughters who would have potentially applied to a university that was attended by their parents, grandparents and siblings. With this new naming convention, the regents completely erase the association that has motivated those very important family conversations on “where do you intend to go to school?” Alumni will have lost that connection to a university that has become of part of their DNA, and will likely not inspire their children to consider that institution as an option. More importantly, the prospect of gaining alumni contributions in the future will likely be diminished.

– Perhaps worst of all, the “Georgia Regents” name – which is wholly disembodied from its host community – completely severs a nearly 200-year bond between our community and its beloved institutions of higher learning.

Gen. Sherman would have been hard-put to do such damage.

Why go so far out of the way to avoid using the “Augusta” brand? Why would the regents not want to use the most well-known and positive name in all of Georgia: Augusta? This name is far better known than any other city or place in the state because of the wonderful and enormously successful Masters golf tournament. That event has brought positive international recognition to not only our city but also our state.

Why not incorporate it into our new school name? It brings instant good will and recognition from the beginning.

If the board’s idea was to broaden the combined school’s potential reputation, that’s a contrived and misguided concern. For one thing, putting “Georgia” in the name only serves to muddle things: There are some 16 such institutions out there already!

And, as astutely noted by The Chronicle’s Chris Gay, an alumnus of ASU, having a city’s name in the title of a university doesn’t limit its reach: think Auburn, Clemson, Syracuse, Houston, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Boise State, Miami.

The Board of Regents’ decision to cut rhetorical ties with Augusta, and to bizarrely name the school for themselves, is such an insult to Georgia’s second-largest city that Billy Morris, publisher of The Augusta Chronicle and chairman of Morris Communications Inc., has on this page announced his resignation from the Georgia Health Sciences University Board of Visitors – citing the insensitivity and ignorance the name change shows to our community, its history and its long, storied and treasured relationship with these two universities.

It’s clear Dr. Azziz, a relative newcomer, has not come to grips with where he is and the important history he has inherited. He must do so, and soon. A good start would be for him to lead a movement to rename the school to include the name “Augusta” in its title.

We urge Augustans – all Augustans – to not support or accept the Georgia Regents University name. Augusta must be included in whatever name is ultimately chosen.

Comments (28) Add comment
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galaxygrl
1350
Points
galaxygrl 08/11/12 - 11:57 pm
9
1
Change the name

hear, hear!

specsta
7137
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specsta 08/12/12 - 01:12 am
4
20
Priorities

Please grow up, Chronicle Editorial Staff.

Augusta has bigger fish to fry than to be worried about a name change.

People are homeless and hungry, the city looks like a disaster area with crumbling buildings everywhere, the streets flood, potholes everywhere, no major tourist attractions, and schools need materials. Young people are being lost to the streets.

But...

Let's write a front-page column to express our displeasure with...a name change. God help us.

PKRichmond
68
Points
PKRichmond 08/12/12 - 01:51 am
3
20
attacking the wrong persion (with hidden agenda to control him )

everyones so keen to attack azziz. C'mon guys when you had 3 choices , GAS-U , GRU and UOA .. no one protested.. everyone was wishing it would be their favorite not the other. And you guys never complained .. ( yeah always hoping its going to be your choice ) never throught its 2/3rd chance to get one of those horrible names. Azziz did his best.. he gave the 3 names suggested by the community to the Regents.. well if you want to complain go direct to the Regents who chose the GRU!!! oh by the way , BOR are the best buddies of your most clean governor , pride of the republican party .. Its wery cowardly to make Azziz the piñata, while real decision makers are kept out of the attack.. I guess everyone wants to show their power and wants to bring down this man ... c'mon guys , be sensible !

RoadkiII
6807
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RoadkiII 08/12/12 - 04:24 am
14
0
Something to think about...

My ex-wife, who grew up in Iowa, is an alumnus of the Medical College of Georgia. 30 years ago when she was looking for an institution to complete her BSN she decided to enroll in one of the most prestigious medical schools in the nation. And she even knew about MCG in Iowa. Seems the medical school had a national brand then.

Makes you wonder why Dr. Azziz wants to fix what isn't broken. Why not just leave things az iz?

seenitB4
97594
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seenitB4 08/12/12 - 05:48 am
5
1
The name

Just ain't "fittin".....just ain't "fittin"...

Let's birth another name....Scarlett says Lordy lordy.....what are yall thinking ........ Even Sherman wouldn't mess up like that.

auggaguy
50
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auggaguy 08/12/12 - 06:21 am
8
0
From a life long resident

I have live in Augusta all of my life, as did my father, grandfather and great-grandfather before me. I call only imagine how disappointed (a nice word for "mad") they would have been over this name.

Riverman1
93727
Points
Riverman1 08/12/12 - 06:23 am
9
0
Thanks, Chronicle

Maybe some don't understand about Dr. Azziz's role, but he privately campaigned with every regent by having his representatives go out over the state to convince them to choose the Ga Regents U. name.

For the one or two who are convinced Augusta is a provincial name, does the word "Georgia" represent Shrangri la to you with all ITS problems?

Since the issue is not going away, I propose we keep ASU and GHSU under the umbrella name of Ga Regents U. That makes perfect sense and respects the wishes of all concerned.

prov227
3468
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prov227 08/12/12 - 07:25 am
4
0
What about ...

Using the new name, but identifying the link to the institutions' history on entrance signs, such as ...

Georgia Regents University - Medical College of Georgia Campus - 1832
Georgia Regents University - Augusta Arsenal Campus - 1963

Then we're linking the past with the future.

tinytuna
74
Points
tinytuna 08/12/12 - 09:17 am
3
0
The Future Past and Present

It would serve Azziz well to read Dr. Cashin's Story of Augusta, or better yet take a course in our local history. The aspirations we have for our city exceed his for the universities alone. He's missing OUR big vision!

Why not apply a typical business model. Augusta State can help here. Combining administrations as a cost saving measure is not new in the business world. It doesn't necessitate changing names of the combined entities. Coca Cola Corp., for instance, owns Minute Maid Co., but it would be just as silly to rebrand Minute Maid to Coca Cola as it would Augusta State and MCG to GRU. They're entirely different products!

Another model for us is found in the renown schools Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Georgia. Just as GT wouldn't lose its proud reputation as a distinguished engineering school by combining with an equally proud UGA neither should we. Make no mistake though, this is the first volley shot for doing just that! This is a renewed effort by different tactic of the Board of Regents and Azziz to make our proud institutions satellites of the University System. What better way by the strategists in Athens and Atlanta than by divorcing the city name from the school (and thereby the funding) from the community? Cunning but transparent!

Look instead, I say, to the very successful Augusta Technical Institute model. It is based in Augusta by name and fact, yet maintains excellent satellite operations whose focus is tailored toward the needs of the individual communities it serves. There one sees the same streamlined business operations model we are now seeking without the name change! Millions in administrative savings and millions more saved by not marketing the name changes.

Is Azziz even right for this kind of decision? Is he a Doctor of Philosophy or just a medical doctor? The Doctor of Philosophy studies critical thinking whereas the medical doctor's studies (no offense they just can't fix your car or business) is limited to technical understanding of medicine alone. Big distinction, and a critical one. [Thanks to my beloved Dr. Creighton Peden, Ph.D for sharing his stories!]

Keep the $$$$ here!

soapy_725
44121
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soapy_725 08/12/12 - 08:43 am
0
1
This will work.....
Unpublished

Azziz Institute of Dysfunctional Services. AIDS. Global name recognition.

seabiscuit
14
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seabiscuit 08/12/12 - 09:19 am
6
0
What's in a name?

I had decided to go to ASU to pursue a Ph.D. With the new name and with all its resulting confusion, I will now look at UGA or Georgia Southern. I hold a Bachelor's Degree in English from Augusta College aka Augusta State University aka Georgia Regents University. How insane is that? AC, well known and respected nationwide for its English department, is now known for its split personality.

thauch12
7076
Points
thauch12 08/12/12 - 10:41 am
0
8
This whole debate is becoming very circular...

This whole debate is becoming very circular...

You ask why the AC would publish this editorial on the front page? Simple, to fan the fire. The longer this debate (if you can still call it a debate considering the decision has been made), the more newspapers they sell and the more money they make. But I'm all for it. Hooray capitalism!

Second of all, a name change does not in any way dilute the quality of the education. ASU and GHSU will have the same exact faculty and facilities as before and the funding will be coming from the same exact source...the state of Georgia. For now, the GRU name is not going to make the former ASU any less of a local commuter school or GHSU any better of a center for medical education. All that changes is the letterhead on the press releases and a couple of job titles. Let's move on.

libraryguy
6
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libraryguy 08/12/12 - 10:46 am
4
0
Does this mean you are the Georgia satellite

for the Regents University, founded by none other than Pat Robertson? Sure sounds like it. Does it mean that only Regents can attend the University? It sounds that way too. To ignore the people, and decide unilaterally to name this school with such a ridiculous name, is to undermine its mission, which is to serve the people of Augusta by providing quality education. This attempt at self-aggrandizement is the epitome of hubris. Mr. Morris was correct to disassociate himself from it. The University of Augusta would have been a perfect name. It is unique (in Augusta, Maine they call theirs the University of Maine at Augusta), it is recognizable, and it is what the majority of people wanted.

gcap
290
Points
gcap 08/12/12 - 11:06 am
4
0
It's OUR name

What's in an institution's name? Increased academic prestige? No. More donations from alums? No. An increase in research dollars? No. A university's name belongs to the community and alumni as a source of pride. Making a mockery of the community and alumni by renaming these good schools at what has become over $2 million in cost suggests a lack of intelligence by university officials. Now THAT might affect academic research and alumni donations.

charles6780
203
Points
charles6780 08/12/12 - 11:35 am
6
0
Azziz lacked leadership in name decision

The story in the Augusta Chronicle yesterday clearly implicates Dr. Azziz or a representative in the name selection process of the new university. Dr. Azziz stated publically that he would not be involved in the name selection, after having espoused his criteria. Unfortunately that does not seem the case. The controversy regarding the name change is not so much that the name changed; but the process. After hiring a firm to poll, with regards to various names, the top vote getter, University of Augusta was not selected. Forty five thousand dollars down the drain, along with the wishes of the populace. The arrogance in which this transpired is the crux of the matter. It seems to have been lip service all along, without regard to students, faculty, state and national opinion. Today we see a rebuke by Mr. Morris, and rightfully so, but what will Dr. Azziz do? This has created a firestorm that could have far reaching effects. I hope that Dr. Azziz takes the time to reflect on his inadequate leadership on this matter and right a wrong quickly, so that the students, community and schools can move forward; thus creating a great university.

hockeymann
226
Points
hockeymann 08/12/12 - 11:49 am
6
0
I've supported Augusta

I've supported Augusta College since attending there in the later 50's & early 60's. Been at every basketball game since 1967, numerous baseball
games, benefit barbecues, busses to road basketball games. I feel very bad
for former & current students, our great Coach Dip Metress & his players.
I will not be able or wanting to support anything for the new GRU. I hope
Emporor Azziz will be sitting by himself in these events. If we wanted to name it for something other than Augusta, it should have been for former president Christenberry. I hope my grandson elects not to attend GRU. He needs better than a "university" named after a security company. I'm going out to buy a paper now. Hope I can find one left. Is
there any recourse that would get rid of Azziz (lawful)??

Bizkit
35569
Points
Bizkit 08/12/12 - 12:31 pm
6
0
I think Paine College is

I think Paine College is celebrating 130 years or something like that and I don't see a sudden desire to change the name for the sake of progress or to be cool. I have a sister who was a graduate of Augusta State and her son was thinking of attending there till she realized it was losing its identity. I come from a long line of MCG graduates including nephews, my wife and I, father and uncles, grandfathers, great grandfathers. There are all just sick (the dead one's would be too) their alma mater is just a vague memory and you can bet donations will be a thing of the past. What a great way to destroy school spirit. Gee, why not just go and rip the heart out of all the schools while we are at it-killin yellow jackets and bulldogs and just make it all some generic brand. Why should anyone graduate from a university and have an identity with the institution in any Georgia school- wouldn't that be discriminatory. You can't be a Bulldong no moe' so don't even start the barkin'.

MadeinAmerica
88
Points
MadeinAmerica 08/12/12 - 12:42 pm
2
5
I don't love the name, but I

I don't love the name, but I believe it provides more immediate stature than Univ of Augusta. Just like if a new comprehensive research university was being established in Sacremento, CA, I believe a name like California Regents University would provide more immediate stature, and relay a grander vision, than University of Sacramento. But more importantly, to me and I hope the people of Augusta and the state, is the potential for making improvements to what is currently ASU. Please keep in mind that ASU only graduates 3-4 out of 50 students in 4yrs (look it up on the USG By the Numbers Website)! What a diservice to the students who attend that institution and get caught up in the haze of low expectations. Also be aware that ASU ranks at the bottom in faculty and administration productivity when judged by grant funding brought in (they actually brought in less than 9 out of 10 of the 2-yr schools in GA a few years ago when data was last published). This is another diservice to students, since this includes grant funding for student academic programs. It is because of this that ASU does not have many of the things that other state schools have, such as Columbus State. For example, wonder why Augusta does not have a world-class planetarium like Columbus, Milledgeville, etc? There are many other things ASU, and thus Augusta, does not have (but of course ASU will not tell you this). I trust Azziz will work to make these improvements and will build a University that will bring state-wide, national and international prominence to our city, and this will help drive improvements across our communities. PS, I'm an Augusta native and ASU alum.

Shellman
623
Points
Shellman 08/12/12 - 01:23 pm
0
8
Google Augusta
Unpublished

Did some Googling of Augusta and this is the sort of stuff that comes up. Not exactly flattering. So I think you can understand why some people did not want to brand the new university with the name Augusta. http://disgustaga.blogspot.com/

burninater
9941
Points
burninater 08/12/12 - 01:35 pm
4
0
Oof Shellman, that's rough,

Oof Shellman, that's rough, but I think you're being a little disingenuous. I Googled both "augusta ga" and "augusta", and didn't see this search result after scrolling through ten pages of results and eventually losing interest in trying to find it.

And to nip any speculation in the bud, the blogger calls his/herself "disgustinator" -- but is in no way related to me or mine ...

Riverman1
93727
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Riverman1 08/12/12 - 01:40 pm
5
0
Shellman

The site you posted has five members and averages about a post a year for the past five years.

KSL
143858
Points
KSL 08/12/12 - 02:05 pm
1
1
LOL, RM.

LOL, RM.

Riverman1
93727
Points
Riverman1 08/12/12 - 02:21 pm
1
1
One More Time About An Umbrella Name

Forgive me, but let me go over this once again about using Georgia Regents as an umbrella name. This seems to be the solution. Let's use that name since we've been ordered to, yet let the two schools keep their individual names. Doesn't that give us the best of everything, including not stepping on anyone's toes?

If the name Georgia Regents University gives us some kind of mystique, then put it above the names of the individual schools, but keep the actual names. ASU stays ASU and MCG-GHSU stays what it wants to be. ASU still competes in athletics as ASU. Medical students still go to GHSU. The hospital can be whatever it wants to be.

ASU and GHSU will be divisions of Georgia Regents University. The regents didn't say we had to do differently.

peggyandrick
169
Points
peggyandrick 08/12/12 - 06:22 pm
3
0
Support Augusta

At a time when government financial support for colleges and universities is falling, tuition is rising and republicans are beating each other to death trying to show that they can cut more support for schools than their opponent, it seems to be over the top arrogant for the Board of Regents and Dr. Azziz to simply ignore the wishes and demands of the people of Augusta and the alumni and alumnae of Augusta's two great public schools. Both ASU and MCG (sic) supporter have spoken loudly and clearly. Azziz and the "Bored" have stopped their ears and said, "We don't care. We will name it what we want 'irregardless' (sic) of what you want. We want our great research institution to get mistaken for an online diploma mill."

As an AC/ASU alumnus, I have supported the school for over forty years through the Alumni Association, Jaguar Club, A Day for Augusta and most every other way the school has asked for help.

I will continue to support Augusta, but I will let the Board of Regents support Georgia Regents U.

agrit
180
Points
agrit 08/12/12 - 07:34 pm
0
0
posted by RM "If the name

posted by RM "If the name Georgia Regents University gives us some kind of mystique, then put it above the names of the individual schools, but keep the actual names. ASU stays ASU and MCG-GHSU stays what it wants to be. ASU still competes in athletics as ASU. Medical students still go to GHSU. The hospital can be whatever it wants to be.

ASU and GHSU will be divisions of Georgia Regents University. The regents didn't say we had to do differently."

RM, the only problem with what you are proposing is this: All the individual colleges at the 2 institutions will stay their respective names. So you would have Hull Business College at Augusta State University at Georgia Regents University and the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University at Georgia Regents University and College of Dental Medicine at GHSU at GRU ... see where this headed?

I don't see how the GRU can be an umbrella names for 2 "merged" unversities and everyone retain their individual names. But who knows, by the time all this is said and done with, everything may have new names all the way around.

Bizkit
35569
Points
Bizkit 08/12/12 - 07:51 pm
1
0
Well it seems the plan it to

Well it seems the plan it to fuse all the schools into larger conglomerates so one day it will be the University of Georgia System-geee how circular. Why not just call em by the alphabet or by number. University of Georgia school 1 or A, the UGA B or 2. Makes about as much sense.

Riverman1
93727
Points
Riverman1 08/13/12 - 03:25 am
0
0
Agrit, I'm not saying it's an

Agrit, I'm not saying it's an ideal solution, but it's an expedient one.

I know you would know, but does the Medical College use its name? Do they say Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University? Dang, that's a lot of typing.

agrit
180
Points
agrit 08/13/12 - 06:42 am
0
0
Yes

Yes RM. The colleges at Georgia Health Sciences University say whatever college name at ...

At this point in time, I don't know if there is an "ideal" solution anymore. But I do see where you are coming from. There again, a lot of typing. :-)

raycar
2
Points
raycar 08/13/12 - 08:25 am
0
0
What's In A Name? Politics!

Great Editorial! Kudos to Billy Morris for standing up for Augusta! Since Azziz's arrival to Augusta he hasn't learned much. First with his land fiasco, and now the pathetic name he's railroaded on our schools. I think Azziz just may find himself on the fast track out of Augusta. He has proven that the community cannot trust him. His bully tactics by overriding the majority of citizens who believe his "Georgia Regents" name makes two great institutions sound like a joke, and more in line with every wanna be college out there. I think Azziz is more interested in playing politics with the ASU and GHSU names and playing kissy-butt with the board who certainly never wanted "Augusta" anything in the schools name. The possibility of ASU & MCG overshadowing the boards two pet schools, UGA and Georgia Tech is too much for them to swallow. We all know what Atlanta thinks of Augusta. Azziz claims to be pro-Augusta, but his record so far is anything but. He's a talker not a listener, and his friend list here is shrinking. No one likes a bully. Augusta is not afraid of change, as long as you don't sail us down the river in the process. This is not California, or any other place Azziz has served. It is obvious he's better suited for places like those. Some say Azziz may be the fall guy for the board in all this. That could may very be the case, but the egg is cooking on his face. Azziz should think twice before under estimating the citizens and supporters. With Morris at the head of the pack against is a major sign of things to come.

OnTheHill1
347
Points
OnTheHill1 08/13/12 - 01:48 pm
0
0
Azziz Blog Response

This was published this morning: http://azziz.georgiahealth.edu/. I've read it a couple times, and you can draw your own conclusions but what I take away is (see the bold faced paragraph titles):

1. Fact #2 - He says, "On the same day the USG BOR approved the new name for our new university, demonstrating their confidence in our future they also approved submitting to the Governor’s office a $45 Million request for General Obligation (GO) bonds to be sold in FY14 for the construction of a new $100 Million Cancer Research Building." He goes on saying, "And the funding and construction of our new $112 Million College of Dental Medicine clinical training building opened last year, ensuring we remain the center for dental medicine training for the state."

Comment - Azziz infers if the name were different the BOR and the state would not have invested the money.

2. What's in a name? - He says, "And noting that I do not, and do not pretend to, know what the BOR's thoughts were behind their decision."

Comment - Explain then what your June 28th visit was to the BOR, and do you really believe that GRU was not your brainchild?

3. What's in a name? - He says, "It also created the impression that ASU took over GHSU, rather than it being a consolidation of equals."

Comment - This statement is a stretch but absolutely untrue. Azziz firmly believes and has said that his GHSU is far, far superior to little ASU.

4. What's in a name? - He says, "The cons include the fact that in national and state-wide testing it (GRU) is relatively neutral ..."

Comment - And where in math is a 1/3 acceptance neutral? Azziz continues to ignore the $45,500 survey because the results did not match his "vision".

5. Why is a name that we can brand important? - He says in the 2nd paragraph, "And so let me tell you a story about a university name. A few years ago, I received a letter from a student at a university called ‘Florida International’ seeking a research position. However, as we rarely dealt with offshore colleges, I ignored the request. And oddly, shortly thereafter (which is why I remember) I received a call from a former mentor telling me that he was going to ‘Florida International’ to set up a new medical school and did I want to join his team. I demurred and feigned pressing obligations. I certainly was not interested in moving to a for-profit offshore enterprise!" In the 3rd paragraph he says, "I learned that Florida International University was one of Florida’s public state-supported comprehensive universities… with over 50,000 students… in the middle of Miami. Who knew!

Comment - Azziz's little story really exposes his bias and prejudice that he apparently applies to decision making. If all felt like him, "Florida International" would never have grown to 50,000 students!

With evidence like this, from the horses's mouth, who needs others to question his leadership? He is his own worst enemy.

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