Merger questions linger

It is possible to draw a circle around two very disparate entities and call it unity. Former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter tried it with state offices and failed. Now in its wisdom, the Board of Regents would draw a noose around two units of the University System – Georgia Health Sciences University and Augusta State University – waiting for a name and a mission.

There are numerous barriers to a successful union. Presidents think of the university as a monarchy. Professors think of a university as a confederacy. Parents think of a university as a place they can lodge their offspring for four to eight years at the price of three to five Cadillacs for their children to own a Buick. Students think of a university as a necessary evil to career success.

To everyone, it is bad medicine. The universal question is: “Do I have to take this?”

Maybe the solution is to draw a bigger circle and draw Augusta Tech into the mix. If that, why not also the magnet high schools?

Finally, to really make a university, one must add a school of law and a school of theology. Then, of course, the University of Georgia would have to offer a school of medicine, which even now is in an embryonic stage.

It takes more than a stroke of a pen to create a university out of a commuter college, and even more to fuse a health-sciences collection of professionals’ schools into a regional university.

Thus the questions remain: What are the cost benefits? What are the intellectual advantages? What do the citizens of Georgia get for their investment they don’t already receive?

But closer to home – who gets to divide up the allocation of funds?

Without a doubt, a strong foundation in the liberal arts is essential to the production of an intelligent, emphatic health provider. One must study health to recognize and treat disease. Therefore, the power of reason and logic are critical to any learned profession.

But do they have to be dispensed from the same pool? Let us praise diversity. It is the king of maturity.

Thomas J. Zwemer

Augusta

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