Cities offer big recognition

I am a South Carolina resident, so I have no bone to pick with the naming of the new university. But I wanted to respond to the Aug. 19 front-page story in The Augusta Chronicle (“Leader steered naming”) about Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz steering the board to select the new name because of his belief that university names should not be associated with cities of fewer than 1 million people.

I am from New York state, and was a resident there when they established the formal State University of New York structure. In so doing, they renamed all the schools SUNY this and SUNY that, instead of keeping their original names all tied to New York state cities. Thus, colleges such as Albany State and the University of Buffalo were renamed SUNY-Albany and SUNY-Buffalo.

When officials realized state students were more inclined to go outside the state to school, they realized it was because there was no name recognition for the kids to associate with, except “SUNY.”

They subsequently changed back. Now the University of Buffalo has Division I football and basketball; the University of Albany has Division I basketball; and more in-state students who can identify with the school’s names – to say nothing about another “city” school in New York – Syracuse University!

This sounds like the same argument we are hearing from those Augusta residents and students about leaving “Augusta” out of the new school’s name. Seems like the Georgia Board of Regents ought to learn from other states’ mistakes. After all, there are not many cities better known in this country by anyone who has even the slightest knowledge about golf. Get it?

Joel Cote

Aiken, S.C.

Topic Page: University Merger

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