I read and hear about the latest “Augusta-gate” scandal (“ ‘Augusta’ left off new signs at GRU,” Jan. 14) and wonder, “What?” I see no need for the word “Augusta” to be included on the university’s signage. GRU is here! When I am on Walton Way or 15th Street, I don’t need a sign to remind me what city I am in, and I doubt visitors need that reminder, either. I actually think the name on signs may lessen our “ownership” of GRU. If you put Augusta on everything, what keeps GRU Savannah (or any other city) from sprouting up?
Once upon a time there was a golf tournament named the Augusta Invitational. Now it’s called the Masters Tournament, but when golfers and commentators mention that week in April they say, “I can’t wait for Augusta,” or “He is getting ready for Augusta.”
We – Augusta – are GRU! If You drive through Athens, I doubt you will see “Athens” on every sign. The University of Georgia is in Athens! If you drive through Columbia, you drive past or through the University of South Carolina, but I doubt you see “Columbia” on every sign. Sure, that institution has offspring in other cities that have to carry the city name, but the USC is in Columbia!
What would those two cities be without those institutions? Who knows? Are the cities identified with the institution? Absolutely – but not because the city’s name is on everything. I think it’s because these cities’ citizens, governments and business communities embrace and support the institutions and, in turn, those cities have benefited exponentially!
In decades to come, I hope that when someone mentions GRU they will think about that incredible research university and world-class teaching and children’s hospital in Augusta. On the other hand, if someone mentions Augusta, they not only think about a golf tournament, but also think of one of the finest research universities, health-care facilities and athletic programs in this country.
Let’s not stunt GRU’s growth with petty issues or our own inferiority complex. We have been given a gift. Let’s nurture it, promote it and enjoy it!