NEWS ARTICLES 2010
A Historic Day for Augusta, MCG
Tom Corwin/Staff Writer
The Augusta Chronicle
Calling it a "historic day," Medical College of Georgia and Augusta officials hailed a new name for the school: Georgia Health Sciences University.
The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted Wednesday to change the name while keeping Medical College of Georgia as the name for the School of Medicine. The other four schools will also become colleges -- the College of Dental Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Allied Health Sciences and the College of Graduate Studies.
The name change will become official around Feb. 1 to give the school time to change and use up things such as stationery that have the old name on them, MCG President Ricardo Azziz said.
What began as Medical Academy of Georgia in 1828 and later became MCG grew to be a university that included the other schools, a clinical system and a research program, he said.
"But our name has not recognized that growth," Azziz said. "With this name, Georgia Health Sciences University, we will move forward into the future and continue to build what I believe to be one of the best and most treasured resources of this nation."
The cost of the change will be about $2.9 million, about $1.2 million of which had already been set aside for new signs that was delayed in anticipation of the new name, Azziz said. The rest would be things such as paperwork and uniforms that are routinely replaced anyway, he said.
If it elevates the university's status nationally and internationally, and brings in just one research team with a Program Project Grant, which are typically $10 million or more, it will be worth it, Azziz said.
"We do think that the value of the name change far exceeds our investment," he said.
In fact, it is part of a strategy at the school over the next few years to speak up about its accomplishments, Azziz said.
"We tend to be modest people," he said. "But the truth is that type of modesty in today's world of Internet and today's world of information is not boding well for us."
Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver hailed it as a historic day for both the city and the school.
"This is a day that we will remember for many, many years to come," he said. "It will help not just the university take a major step forward but the city as well. Adding the university title to the name is something that I just think speaks volumes."
In fact, "university" has been part of the school's name before: It was the Medical Department of the University of Georgia and then the University of Georgia School of Medicine from 1873 to 1950, before it reverted to Medical College of Georgia when the school became autonomous again, said Dr. Lois Ellison, the provost emeritus and medical historian in residence at MCG. Other schools were added in the 1950s and 1960s after MCG got its hospital and clinics and really expanded.
"Nobody could disagree, if they really thought about it, that we're now a university," she said.