ASU President William Bloodworth admits his feelings have evolved on the merger in just the past few months. (WRDW-TV / Jan. 10, 2012)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It was standing room only as the Georgia Board of Regents voted unanimously in favor of merging Georgia Health Sciences University and Augusta State University.
"The students are studying art, psychology, criminal justice, communications are just going to see things continue to get better," said ASU President Bill Bloodworth. "It is a good thing. You would not want a divided vote on something as important as this."
Bloodworth is stepping down as president at ASU to go back into the classroom.
"I'm committed to developing a course on the literature of medicine," he said. "That is what you are going to see a little more of in the future."
School leaders are calling the new institution a research university.
"This merger allows us to do just that," said GHSU President Dr. Ricardo Azziz. "It allows us to really put together a brand new American research university that will be something that other university around the state and the nation will have watch as we evolve."
"It looks pretty good to me now," said Bloodworth, who admits his feelings have evolved on the merger in just the past few months. "Well, understand that some of what I may have said before could have been [a result] of my own ego ... my own sense of what I had done."
The big question is what to call the university, but it seems clear ASU's mascot is here to stay.
"I kind of like Jaguars," Bloodworth said. "Yes."
"I don't have a sports team, and I like the Jags," Azziz said. "They brought us a national championship two years in a row. Why would I change that great name?"
Azziz would not rule out job cuts.
"Maybe in the short run, there may be some jobs that may have to be reevaluated," Azziz said. "It is hard to say."
The integration will be complete by fall of 2013.
Lawmakers decided to merge Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University in addition to six other colleges across the state.
The other colleges that will be consolidated are: Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University; Middle Georgia College and Macon State College; Waycross College and South Georgia College, according to the University System of Georgia website.
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