Come January 2013, students, faculty and staff at North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College will be under one name.
And they know what it will be now.
On Tuesday, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved the name “University of North Georgia” for the institution to be created from the consolidation of North Georgia and Gainesville State.
The regents also approved the mission statement for the university.
“We’re very excited to be another step along in the process,” said Bonita Jacobs, North Georgia’s president.
“(The board’s decisions) are certainly things we can support wholeheartedly.”
University of North Georgia was chosen from a list of four, including The University of North Georgia, University of Northern Georgia and North Georgia University.
Faculty and students at both institutions seemed to favor the name.
“I think the name is an excellent choice for a consolidated institution with four campuses that will be serving the North Georgia region with a lot of educational opportunities and a lot of varied programs,” said Mark Spraker, North Georgia’s faculty senate CEO.
“I think most of the faculty, if not all of the faculty, is very pleased with the name. It was, I think, by far the most popular among the faculty and staff.”
The consolidation implementation committee, charged with making sure the merger goes smoothly, submitted its four name recommendations to the regents, along with its final draft of the mission statement.
It was completely up to the board, however, on the final decision.
“I am very pleased with the board’s approval of University of North Georgia,” said Chris Stenander, Gainesville State’s Alumni Association president and a graduate of both schools. “I feel this represents both colleges well and gives us a name which symbolizes the access to greater educational opportunities across North Georgia. This does not diminish the long history and heritage of both institutions, (and) it does provide for a strong identity that will continue to serve this area for many years to come.”
The student reaction, however, was varied, according to Patrick Pickens, North Georgia’s Student Government Association president.
“It’s the most emotional thing that is attached to a school,” said Pickens. “I knew going into the whole process that no matter what name we were given, not everyone would be happy.”
He said some students approved of the name while others didn’t want to see it change to begin with.
“You get some students that want to keep the same name and are upset that it’s changing in general,” Pickens said. “There is a wide spectrum of feelings to it.”
Along with the name, the board approved the mission statement, which went through a slew of drafts before approval.
The University of North Georgia mission reads:
“The University of North Georgia, a premier senior military college and 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. University of North Georgia is a University System of Georgia leadership institution and is The Military College of Georgia.”
“I am especially pleased about the mission and what it means for our students, (both) present and future, and what it means for our community,” said Susan Daniell, the Gainesville State staff representative for the implementation committee.
Working groups will be charged with working out the details of the merger over the summer, and Jacobs says they will work on the mascot and colors in the fall.
The two schools will be officially University of North Georgia in January of 2013.