I am a proud graduate of the former Medical College of Georgia, and I worked there for 30 years. I grieved over its name change to Georgia Health Sciences University but tried to be accepting of it for the original reasons given for its renaming.
I accepted GHSU President Ricardo Azziz’s arrival with an open heart and eventually came to believe that combining Augusta State University and GHSU could be a positive strategic move for these important Augusta universities. I wholeheartedly support the development of a comprehensive research university.
I am not disappointed to hear that Regent University of Virginia has forewarned the Georgia Board of Regents of its intent to sue based on trademark infringement. Unfortunately, neither the arrogant Azziz nor the apparently tuned-out regents have cared to listen to the students; the faculty and alumni; the people of Augusta; or even the results of their own research regarding naming of the newly combined university. Perhaps this will allow these individuals to rethink their decision.
In the past few weeks, I have become increasingly disappointed with Azziz’s deceit and disrespect, and the regents’ unwillingness to reconsider the name selection for the combined university. As I see it, we already have spent many thousands of dollars on logo development, advertisements, signs, printed materials, etc., for the new GHSU. The “name change” damage already is done for MCG.
With this in mind, the most appropriate name for the combined universities should be Augusta State University. From its roots established in 1783, ASU has demonstrated itself as a quality academic institution well-known across the state and nation. What’s more, ASU also has generated its national brand in its golf and basketball programs.
With this name, we don’t have to wait, as Azziz estimates, 10 to 20 years for name-branding and recognition. With the appropriate leadership and marketing, ASU would grow even stronger, and, combined with GHSU, would be well-prepared to take on the mantle of Georgia’s premier research university.
Why this was not considered from the beginning eludes me. Changing the name of both universities effectively wipes both schools off the map and out of people’s minds. The people of Augusta want and need their schools to have name recognition. Why can’t we give them that in a way that preserves at least some of our history? In addition to maintaining the name of ASU, perhaps we might establish a way to commemorate the history of MCG. I am pleased that the medical school has been able to retain “Medical College of Georgia” in its name. I would like to see creative strategies and marketing dollars spent on naming the professional schools within the new university to retain MCG and ASU roots.
Let us hope the outcome of this current fiasco will be to retain the illustrious name Augusta State University.
Kathleen B. Anderson