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A draft mission statement and proposed names have been released for the university to be formed by the consolidation of Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University.
The names University of North Georgia, The University of North Georgia, University of Northern Georgia, and North Georgia University were submitted to the Board of Regents, which will make the final decision.
“The name is the most emotional part of this decision,” said Bonita Jacobs, North Georgia president. “I think they’re fairly similar for a reason. We have so much in common between our two institutions, so for the committee to take all those commonalities and create a name made it so much easier.”
Those close to the situation feel the proposed names represent both institutions well.
“The names we went down, most of them, really represent the fact that this will be (a) truly regional university and represent the North Georgia area,” said Martha Nesbitt, Gainesville State president.
Students at Gainesville State seem to be attracted to the name North Georgia University.
“North Georgia University is my favorite because it’s the easiest to say, but honestly, all the names are probably going to be used interchangeably,” said Brittany Norman, a junior at Gainesville State.
Her classmates agreed with her, but haven’t really been following the consolidation process closely.
“I’ve heard about the consolidation because some of my friends had told be about it,” said Vicente Soldevilla, a sophomore at Gainesville State. “The administration has posted some things online about it, but I haven’t had time to read them yet.”
He said North Georgia University would be his choice.
The implementation committee was required to submit at least three names for Board of Regents consideration.
According to Jacobs, the names were chosen from recommendations of small working groups and student, staff and faculty surveys.
Also submitted for approval by the Board of Regents was the draft mission statement.
“I am very impressed with what that committee was able to do with creating a mission statement that seems to resonate with so many people,” said Jacobs.
That mission statement is as follows: “The x University, a regional multi-campus institution, provides a culture of academic excellence in a student-focused environment that includes quality education, service, inquiry and creativity. This is accomplished through broad access to comprehensive academic and co-curricular programs that develop students into leaders for a diverse and global society. X University is a University System of Georgia leadership institution and The Military College of Georgia.”
The statement went through a slew of editing stages and the implementation committee took all the recommendations and approved the statement for the Board of Regents.
“It was surprisingly consensual,” said Nesbitt on the approval of the statement. “Everybody really agreed on this. It was remarkable, truly.”
The team identified traits on both campuses that are crucial to their independent structure and attempted to blend the two symbiotically.
“I believe it resonates really with the large majority of our stakeholders,” said Jacobs.
The consolidation implementation committee submitted those items to the regents, and they are set to be decided in the regents’ May meeting, according to a letter from Jacobs, who will lead the consolidated school.
Currently, working groups are hashing out details of the consolidation efforts at the campus level. Those groups will report back to the executive committee, which will make recommendations to the implementation committee.
“This is not easy work,” Jacobs wrote. “It is complex, and there are many, many questions still to be addressed. I truly appreciate the positive attitudes and collaborative spirit that I have seen in various groups across our campuses. I know this high level of teamwork will carry us forward successfully.”
The consolidated university will go into effect in January 2013.
Shannan Finke contributed to this report.