Forget the census and follow the senses

If it makes sense to expand GRU in Augusta - and it does - they'll find us

State officials are at least taking a skeptical look at having Georgia Regents University expand into the
stately old mills beside the Augusta Canal. But it appears they’re looking more eagerly to establish an Atlanta campus of the GRU medical school.

We think expansion here makes a ton more sense.

GRU President Ricardo Azziz’s logic is that Atlanta is where the people are – though, in making that argument, he also used faulty population statistics that unfairly and inaccurately portray Augusta as shrinking.

More importantly, we don’t agree with his follow-me-to-the-big-city logic, and neither do the purveyors of many of the world’s best institutions of higher learning. People don’t just follow crowds; they also flock to quality. Great schools – like great barbecue or any other stellar product – are worth seeking out, wherever they are.

Then there’s the question of quality of life. Maybe bigger isn’t always better; maybe sometimes it’s just more crowded. It’s no
secret that Atlanta struggles with such issues. Attending a great university is more than location, more than numbers, more than even science. It’s about an overall experience.

Many of the world’s greatest colleges and universities are located in anything but a huge metropolis. They seem to be doing just fine. And, again, they provide their students with a unique, approachable, comfortable setting.

We do hope the Georgia Board of Regents is serious about including the consideration of a mills campus in their long-range master planning now under way.

The potential for expanding GRU along the canal – and providing students with both a pastoral setting and an urban experience – is unlimited and exciting. And, as any business knows, opportunities to expand are often best in your own back yard.

We’re disappointed, though not surprised, that Dr. Azziz would seemingly go out of his way to downplay Augusta’s
dynamism and potential.

Let’s concentrate on making the consolidated Georgia Regents University work – and making the most of it by shoring up the foundation already laid.

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