Reading The Augusta Chronicle’s Opinion section March 17 really got to me. I have to agree with all the opinions. President Shirley Strum Kenny’s letter to Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz about what is wrong with merging Augusta State University and the former Medical College of Georgia.
Everything that has been written about MCG has not been the whole truth. Back in the early 1950s, the medical college was a teaching/research institution with the Talmadge Memorial Hospital. Dr. Edgar R. Pund was the president (whom I was named after) and all of doctors worked for the college.
You could not get into Talmadge Hospital unless you were referred by another doctor or you had an unusual illness. The doctors were not allowed to have an outside practice – they all taught or did research at the college. They cried “socialized medicine,” but cancer research was going on back in the early 1950s because Dr. Pund wrote many articles and papers about cancer research, and some of the other doctors connected to the college reported about other research.
From that time until the 1990s, all of the presidents of the college were from within the doctors affiliated with the college. The Board of Regents changed all of that when they got the idea, I think, to move the medical college to the University of Georgia in Athens. They brought in outside people who did not know the history of the college or the city of Augusta and really did not care about these things.
Nick Evans did a good job with the Save the A campaign, but he got shot down by a political system he did not understand. The state will give us taxpayers’ money to improve the campus in Augusta, but it also will give some of that money to the Athens campus so it can grow larger and soon will become the main campus. Yes, Augusta will have some things, but I think the main campus and office of the president will be in Athens. Gov. Nathan Deal has really been dealing with the people of this area.
This letter has been too long, but I could go on much longer and name changes that have gone on in this area in the past 70-plus years.