This does not mean the many comments expressing our community’s disappointment over the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents’ initial decision were not justified. Fortunately, that controversial decision prompted strong and good leaders of our community to create and pursue a great campaign to “Save the A.” Not only did these leaders – all of whom I personally know and highly respect – volunteer tremendous time, energy and funds to the campaign, but they did so in the face of an unwavering and steadfast refusal on the part of the board to reconsider their decision.
From the beginning, reality dictated the “Save the A” campaign had little to no chance of changing the board’s decision. That reality remains. To include “Augusta” in the name at all, in any form, required unique compromise. I commend all involved for doing just that.
We as a community also must remember this compromise was not just about the name. We have received a $100 million commitment from Gov. Nathan Deal of state funds dedicated to improve and expand Georgia Regent University Augusta. With almost every school within the university system waiting to pounce on those funds, GRU Augusta stands first in that line.
Is having a brand name that includes “Augusta” as part of it as good as having “Augusta” in the official name? No. Is having “Augusta” as part of the brand name an excellent compromise considering an all or nothing approach likely would have ended with no funding or name change at all? Absolutely. So, I personally thank Nick Evans and others who led the “Save the A” campaign, as well as Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz, Gov. Deal and University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby for their willingness to discuss and reach a compromise and financially commit to a better GRU Augusta.