Including “Augusta” in the name of the newly merged university would be of little to zero positive impact.
If Augusta were widely associated, historically, with some inspirational ideal such as a noble cause (as are Boston and Philadelphia in the nation’s founding), a well-respected figure (Washington), relentless progress (Atlanta, Los Angeles, et al.), high academic pursuit (Cambridge, Mass.) or grand enterprise (New York City, Chicago), then including “Augusta” would make sense.
There is nothing of the sort. Intransigence comes to mind, if anything. The stupefying complaints about GHSU President Ricardo Azziz, a forward thinker, are a good example of the mentality accompanying this history. He must feel like a “stranger in a strange land” sometimes.
The new university, from day one, will be competing with leading universities that already have history and opinion working in their favor. The new name should primarily inspire those who are directly involved with academia and its output. Those would be academic opinion leaders, academic organizations, media, researchers, research grantors, professors, patrons, underwriting officials, officers of industry (the talent market) and students.
The stature of the new university will depend on these, not sentimental locals who have little stake in what goes on there. Most of the movers and shakers who will have an impact on the university’s stature will have no emotional tie to Augusta. They will not be impressed by seeing “Augusta” in the new name because of the golf tournament. Golf is a second-tier sport, anyway.
Some who read this undoubtedly will hit the ceiling like Yosemite Sam. My words, irrespective of rationale, will be perceived as an insult. Pride, that most godless and destructive of human emotions, will rear its ugly head. Someone, though, has to be objective. Deeper thought is required here. After all, a goldfish in a bowl, if it could speak, would speak proudly of its bowl, oblivious to the estate in which the bowl is housed.
The city name is best left to grade-schools, businesses and civic organizations, not a university looking to take a leading role in academia. Surely, there are more substantial names that will better suit this objective.
I hope that the decision-makers can resist this watery-eyed sentimentality, and that the natural impulse to name the school after our town will not prevail.