Memo to the Board of Regents: What’s in a name? A lot of things.
A few days ago, the Board of Regents pushed forward with a bold plan; merge eight schools into four and cut administrative costs. The plan makes sense. By merging schools, the Board effectively eliminated a number of administrators while still providing the same services (and perhaps more degree options in some areas.) But some will undoubtedly raise questions about future mergers, if any occur. For example, how do we justify not merging Albany State and Darton?
The Board will have to deal with that subject at a later date. Right now the immediate issue involves the names of these newly merged schools. The Medical College of Georgia spent a great deal of time and money changing it’s name to Georgia Health Sciences University, however the school is now being merged with Augusta State. And what are students of GHSU concerned about? The name. All of that time and money will be for naught now, as the school won’t be able to maintain it’s current name while merging with Augusta State.
But there are other things to be lost. Middle Georgia College was one of the oldest two-year colleges in the country. Just one glance at the Cochran campus will leave one realizing that the school is full of history. Macon State, on the other hand, is a very modern looking school and began it’s life in the 1960s. One has to wonder how the culture and design of these two schools will fit together. The Board made it clear that Macon State would be running the show, or so the President of Middle Georgia believes.
Consider this a plea to the Board of Regents, and these new university administrations; don’t throw away a name. If Macon State is to become the university for central Georgia, then bless it with the name Middle Georgia College. Which name is more fitting? A name that describes the region that the school serves? Or a name that the school will share with a prison? Likewise, and no offense to the folks down in Waycross, why name that school anything other than “South Georgia College?”
I’ve found two constants in my career after undergrad; no matter where I have gone, everyone has been able to figure out where Middle Georgia College and where Georgia Southwestern State University are located. Not the precise cities, but the generalized location. Perhaps those names just make sense.