With new university under an assumed name, what's next?

Ricardo Azziz knocked on the office door of Georgia Board of Regents Chairman Benjamin J. Tarbutton III.

“You wanted to see me?”

“Hi, come on in,” Tarbutton said, motioning him to sit down among floor-to-ceiling stacks of papers. “You’re looking well. I didn’t realize that you could remove tar and feathers that quickly.”

“I’ve got a great dry-cleaner,” Azziz said. “What’s up?”

TARBUTTON LEANED back in his chair. “We’ve been fleshing out the details on the merger of Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University, and since you’re going to be president of this merged institution, you’ve got to stay in the loop. Like you, we’ve been catching tremendous heat over the new school name we approved – ‘Georgia Regents University.’”

“Catchy,” Azziz grinned.

Tarbutton pointed. “You see where you’re sitting? It’s not a chair – it’s one of the piles of hate mail we’ve received that unanimously disapprove of the combined university’s new name.”

“Wow,” Azziz said, moving to an actual chair. “I had no idea.”

“This letter is typical of what we’ve received,” Tarbutton said, selecting a piece of paper from the top of a huge stack on his desk. “It just says, ‘Dear Ben: GRU? Really? Drop dead.’”

Azziz frowned. “That sounds rather personal.”

“It’s from my mother,” Tarbutton said, tossing the letter aside. “But you see what we’re up against. You and I and just about every regent in the University System of Georgia has every citizen in Augusta hopping mad. And a couple folks in Lincolnton aren’t too pleased, either.”

“So what are we going to do?” Azziz asked.

“Well,” Tarbutton said, “the other regents and I have been tossing a few ideas around, and the bottom line is this: We need a name change.”

AZZIZ BLANCHED. “But Georgia Regents University is a wonderful name!”

“No, no,” Tarbutton said. “We’re not changing the university’s name. We’re going to change your name.”

My name!?”

“The other regents and I feel that a name such as ‘Ricardo Azziz’ just doesn’t have the broad-based appeal we need in the name of a president who’s going to lead a new university that – how did you put it – will have its ‘sights set on the larger state, nation and the globe,’ ” Tarbutton said. “Besides, the name ‘Azziz’ really fell flat with our focus groups. Having three Zs in the name just put people right to sleep.”

“But, but – I’ve had this name my whole life!”

“And Augusta State had ‘Augusta’ in its name since 1925, blah blah blah,” Tarbutton shot back. “Has your name been ‘Ricardo Azziz’ since 1925? No it has not. Don’t get sentimental on me now, Ric – I mean, Dirk.”

“Dirk?”

“Start getting used to it, because that’s the new name we picked out for you for 2013 – Dirk Presidential!” Tarbutton smiled, handing Azziz a new set of business cards. “Catchy, huh? We think it projects power and authority. It even sounds presidential. And best of all? It’s cool! You’re the one who’s been talking about Augusta needing to ramp up its ‘cool’ factor, right?”

“But that’s a preposterous name!” Azziz spluttered. “Everyone in my family is going to hate it!”

“Well, if they really want to complain, they can write us letters,” Tarbutton said, waving his hand. “We’ll just put them in one of those stacks in the corner.”

“But you can’t do this!” Azziz shouted. “You can’t just make half-baked decisions on my behalf while ignoring my input! That’s insane! That would be like ... like ... ”

“Like renaming a university?” Tarbutton asked.

Azziz sighed.

“AW, NOW, don’t take it so hard,” Tarbutton said, throwing his arm around Azziz’s shoulders. “Your new name will grow on you. Besides, the whole point of all this is to guide a vastly improved academic mission at GRU. It doesn’t matter what your name is.”

Azziz grimaced. “But if it doesn’t matter what my name is, why did you need to radically change it?”

“Shut up,” Tarbutton explained.

Comments (9) Add comment
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moderate123
11
Points
moderate123 08/12/12 - 07:02 am
1
0
Great Idea

I prefer the name "Dash Riprock" or maybe "Bolt Upright". Those are names that just sound like a handsome man!

Seriously, this is a great article and uses humor to emphasize the importance of names. Would "Harvard" be the same university if it were named after a fellow named "Orville Snerdley?"

The legal section of this paper recently ran a column where a fellow with the name "Red Hillbilly Heckerson" was legally changing his name to "Christopher James Havens". I can't say I blame him.

I also can't say that "Georgia Regents University" is much different.

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 08/12/12 - 09:56 am
0
0
GRU UP people
Unpublished

Just GRU UP and stop playing games. You have chosen to live in a world of "the perpetual political circus". Clowns, entertainment and parking decks suspending in air are what a circus is all about.

cheapster505
566
Points
cheapster505 08/12/12 - 01:08 pm
0
0
hang around

hang around a marina sometime now those people know how to pick a name" Goose U 2" Up'er urz" "" Waz HIS" "" KNOT Mine"
Whatits name"Lost n found" Uranis" just add university and you got a name
"

KSL
125893
Points
KSL 08/12/12 - 04:17 pm
0
0
Too funny!

Too funny!

Fiat_Lux
15011
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/12/12 - 04:20 pm
1
0
Great article!

I laughed so loud it startled my poor sleeping hound awake, making him add his howls to mine.

I can hardly wait to see what gets passed around at work tomorrow.

KSL
125893
Points
KSL 08/12/12 - 07:22 pm
0
0
Fiat

Your comment is almost as funny as the article. Got to love hounds! Had a beagle when I was in high school and college, a basset hound when my boys were growing up.

Fiat_Lux
15011
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/12/12 - 07:57 pm
0
0
Just one problem with them, though

They smell as bad as Georgia Regents University does.

KSL
125893
Points
KSL 08/12/12 - 08:30 pm
0
0
You got that right. And they

You got that right. And they can look so sad when you are bathing them.

falconjag
7
Points
falconjag 08/12/12 - 09:08 pm
1
0
LOVE IT! Journalism &

LOVE IT! Journalism & satire, who knew it be done by anyone at the Chronicle except for Sylvia!

Little Lamb
45146
Points
Little Lamb 08/12/12 - 10:10 pm
1
0
Good Column

by Joe Hotchkiss. I think Dirk Presidential needs to get used to his new name.

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