News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- After months of protests and lawsuits, it's official. Local and state leaders reached a compromise on naming Augusta's "New U" on Thursday morning.
News 12 talked to all the players involved after the decision to change the name to Georgia Regents University Augusta was announced.
"We are ready to rally behind Dr. Azziz, the chancellor and bring our community together this is a great day," said Nick Evans of the "Save the A" campaign.
Evans mobilized the community to try to get Augusta in the name of the soon-to-be merged Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University. Now, he's standing with school leaders on the compromise.
"After weeks of negotiation, we finally have found a way to agree on including Augusta in the official logo and brand name and marketing efforts for the new consolidated university," said President Dr. Ricardo Azziz.
It was the "Save the A" signs lining the streets of Augusta that got the attention of local and state leaders.
The new name for the "New U" will be "used in everything you see."
"Which is T-shirts and the polos and the caps and the cups and all the good stuff that we are supposed to buy," Azziz said.
Prospective student Briana Henson was pleased with the result.
"It really is a big deal and I'm happy they finally bought in," she said.
To ASU alum Mayor Deke Copenhaver, there seems to be a collective sigh of relief.
"I think Georgia Regents University has a nice ring. Georgia Regents University Augusta, you can't get any better than that," he said.
University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby says he is "very pleased" with the outcome.
"I think it will allow our community to move forward together, which we need to do," he said.
The compromise option has supposedly been in the works for weeks. The school says it does not need approval from the Regents to include Augusta in the logo and branding. The focus now turns to drafting the logo, which goes before the board in January.
The two universities will start operating as one starting in January. There are talks of building a new recreation area and freshman dorms on ASU's campus. If approved, the recreation area and dorms could be open by 2014.
School leaders sent out surveys last month to get feedback on those ideas. Building parking decks at ASU was also on the list.
Gov. Nathan Deal previously signed over the old Golf and Gardens property to GHSU, so there are talks of a research building and more student dorms for that land along the river.
Georgia Regents University Augusta will be the brand name used in the official logo and in marketing efforts of Augusta's new consolidated university.
Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz and Save the A campaign members Nick Evans and Barry Storey announced today that an agreement has been reached regarding the name that would be included in the official logo and all branding materials used for the new university moving forward. The announcement follows discussions between the parties. The new university is being created through the consolidation of GHSU and Augusta State University.
"We are pleased to have reached an agreement that enables us to prominently incorporate 'Augusta' in the official logo and branding of our new university," said Azziz, who will head the consolidated university. "The agreement allows us to highlight the importance of the city in our academic, clinical, research and athletic programs, while ensuring the people of Georgia recognize our state-wide role."
The new $1.3 billion university will include nine colleges, nearly 10,000 students, more than 650 acres of campus, nearly 150 buildings, more than 1,000 full-time faculty, approximately 5,600 staff, an integrated health system and a growing intercollegiate athletics program.
"Throughout this process, ensuring the recognition of this community in the name used for this new university has been our top priority," Evans said. "Augusta's new university now will have an official logo and look that recognizes our city, which will do much to ensure its national and global appeal."
"I am very supportive of this agreement which not only highlights the broad state-wide mission that the consolidated university will have, but also allows us to recognize the value of the Augusta community in the new university. A university which will focus on ensuring the best academic programs and student success possible for the benefit of all of Georgia," said University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby.
"Augustans can take pride in their new university," Storey said. "With this agreement it is my hope and expectation that the community will rally around the consolidation to ensure the success of our students and the state of Georgia."
The new university will adopt the use of the name Georgia Regents University Augusta in its official logo and its branding efforts following approval of the consolidation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, which could be as soon as January 2013.
For information on future developments and consolidation activities, visit asughsu.org.