Georgia Regents University (GRU) is a public academic health center with its main campus located in Augusta, Georgia, United States. It is one of the four research universities in the University System of Georgia (USG). GRU comprises nine colleges and schools: the College of Allied Health Sciences, College of Arts, Humanities, and Health Sciences, College of Dental Medicine, College of Education, College of Graduate Studies, College of Nursing, College of Science and Mathematics, the Hull College of Business, and the Medical College of Georgia.
On January 8, 2012, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved the merger of Georgia Health Sciences University with Augusta State University. On August 7, 2012, the Georgia Board of Regents named the merged universities "Georgia Regents University". On October 25, 2012, the university added the city's name to the university name for marketing purposes, which is Georgia Regents University Augusta.
In addition to the nine colleges, the university enterprise includes the 478-bed Georgia Regents Medical Center, the Children's Hospital of Georgia, outpatient clinics, classrooms, laboratories, residence halls, a student center, a wellness center and a medical education library. The entire complex has a full-time instructional faculty of 651, a volunteer clinical faculty of 1,795 and a staff of over 3,000, making it the second-largest employer in the region with an annual economic impact of $2 billion.
The university receives over $99 million annually in total sponsored research funding. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which found all 39 Principles of Accreditation to be compliant at the school.
The university was chartered in 1828 by the state of Georgia as the Medical Academy of Georgia to offer a single course of lectures leading to a bachelor's degree. In December 1829, the Georgia General Assembly changed the name to the Medical Institute of Georgia, and again to the Medical College of Georgia in December 1833, which has been the 13th-oldest continuously operating medical school in the United States.
In 1850, the college received national attention when Dr. Paul Eve, a professor of surgery, performed the first hysterectomy in the United States, removing a uterus due to a malignant tumor. Subsequently, he was elected chair of the American Medical Association’s committee on surgery.
The College of Nursing offered its first classes in the 1940s. In the 1960s, Master's and doctoral programs were added. The Colleges of Allied Health Sciences, Dental Medicine and Graduate Studies were added in the next decade.
Two other medical breakthroughs came from Dr. Virgil Sydenstricker, chairmen of the Department of Medicine from 1922-1957. The first, in 1923, was the first documented case of sickle cell disease, with a full autopsy report. The second was a new method of blood transfusion with storied, citrated blood – the precursor to modern blood banks that replaced directly transfusing blood from a donor to a patient.
Dr. William F. Hamilton invented the Hamilton manometer in 1945, which reflected light off a mirror onto photosensitive paper and helped pave the way for Electrocardigram technological advancement. His work also led to Drs. Andre Cournand and Dickenson Richards invented the Cournan catheter, which won the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. In the acceptance speech, Cournand honored Dr. Hamilton by saying in reference to the manometer, “…it is well to recall that most of our early knowledge of pressure pulses was obtained by using this.”
Once more, a teaching professor put MCG on the map, as Dr. Paul McDonough performed the first prenatal in Georiga in 1965. But that wasn’t all – in fact, he discovered a gene protein 23 years later in the adrenal gland that produces too much testosterone, helping a legal mandate for all 50 states be passed to test for congential adrenal hyperplasia, a disorder in newborns.
Recent facilities expansion includes the Cancer Research Building, opened in 2003; the Health Sciences Building in 2006; and a new dental school building in 2011.
On January 8, 2012, the Georgia Board of Regents unanimously approved the merger of Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University. Ricardo Azziz was appointed president of the new institution.
Immediately, discussion turned to what the new name of the consolidated university would be – with suggestions coming from all aspects of the Augusta community. A Consolidation Working Group, composed of leaders from both institutions, worked on market testing submitted names from the community as well as using data generated by local news to whittle down the list of names. Eventually, they had a list of six – two based on geography, two aspirational, and two based on proper names.
The list of revealed names generated mixed public opinion, though the public was asked to vote on the proposed names via social media and a web site set up for the consolidation process. A month later the group whittled the list down to two, with a new name added to the mix for submission to the Board of Regents for their final decision.
The revealed names generated outrage in the entire Augusta area, as none of final three contained the city’s name in it. Furthermore, news outlets reported that a marketing survey showed “University of Augusta” and “Augusta University” were the only two names on the list of six that generated highly positive remarks. But a report by The Augusta Chronicle showed that open-records requests revealed the GHSU President emailed the co-chair of the Consolidation Working Group, encouraging names without Augusta in it. On August 7, the Georgia Board of Regents named the consolidated universities “Georgia Regents University.”. Students and community members alike protested, banding together in a “Save the A” campaign, which ultimately led to the city name being used “for marketing purposes only” but not in the official name.
Regent University (based in Virginia) subsequently filed a lawsuit for a trademark infringement against the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia over the name change in August, 2012. The lawsuit was settled out of court in June, 2013. The Georgia Regents name has created controversy among students and alumni within the two predecessor institutions as well as the Augusta community at-large; those protesting against the name had supported the lawsuit in hopes that it would force the University System to consider a change.
The university also added the city's name to the university name for marketing purposes, which is Georgia Regents University Augusta.
While the name was the hot topic, other issues faced administrators as they sought to combine two university faculties and staffs into one, with the purpose of saving money. TIME magazine wrote that consolidation is “becoming increasingly common…” to help combat needs necessitated by lowering budgets for higher education, and focused on the ASU-GHSU consolidation as the prime example.
In addition, Augusta State had been listed as one of the lowest in the nation in six-year graduation rates, in part because its mission was to be openly accessible to the greatest amount of students. Falling enrollment rates – partially blamed on demographics, which were heavily local students, and partially blamed on HOPE Scholarship cuts – were a primary issue from Augusta State. But the recent consolidation of the health system and medical university at Georgia Health Sciences University, in addition to overlapping nursing courses with undergraduate-level offering at Augusta State, were also issues administrators faced.
GRU offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees through its nine colleges and schools.
The College of Allied Health Sciences offers master’s degree programs in medical illustration; medical laboratory, imaging and radiologic sciences; dental hygiene; health informatics; occupational therapy; physician assistant; physical therapy; and public health. Bachelor of Science programs include medical laboratory, imaging and radiologic sciences; dental hygiene; health informatics; and respiratory therapy. Established in 1968, the college enrolled 516 students in fall 2011.
Named in honor of philanthropist and alumna Katherine Reese Pamplin, the college houses seven departments with 17 undergraduate and one graduate degree programs: Art; Communications; English and Foreign Languages, History, Anthropology, and Philosophy; Music; Political Science; and Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Social Work. The college also boasts a certificate program in European Union Studies.
Accreditations include the Council on Social Work Education, National Association of Schools of Art and Design, National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, and the National Association of Schools of Music.
The University’s Center for Public Service and Research is housed in the department of Political Science, as is Model United Nations. Other extracurriculars include Model Arab League, a partnership with the GRU Cancer Center to offer art and music therapy to patients on the Health Sciences campus, The Bell Ringer, an award-winning student newspaper, among others.
The James M. Hull College of Business is accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), and has been since 1999. It was given its current name in 2006 after James M. Hull, who donated two million dollars to the college and university as a whole - the largest such gift in Augusta State school history. It offers undergraduate degrees in Accounting from the Knox School of Accountancy, Computer Science, Finance, Management, Marketing, and Management Information Systems (MIS), and an MBA program for graduate students.
The College of Dental Medicine offers a four-year program leading to a doctor of dental medicine degree and is fully accredited by the Commission of Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. The curriculum covers oral biology, clinical sciences, behavioral sciences and management. A state-of-the-art building housing 10 departments, faculty and student clinical practice facilities and research laboratories opened in fall 2011. Enrollment is anticipated to increase to 400 by 2016.
A newly opened dental facility will enable the state's only dental college to increase its class size to 100 by 2016. The GRU/University of Georgia partnership campus in Athens will enable the Medical College of Georgia to increase class size to 300 by 2020.
The College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), which found "no improvements needed" upon their last inspection completed in 2012. The college offers undergraduate degrees in Early Childhood Education, Middle Grades Education, Secondary Education, and P-12 Programs. Graduate students may pursue a Masters of Teaching (MAT), Masters of Education (M.Ed.), Education Specialist (Ed.S.), or Master of Science (MS).
The Graduate School offers programs leading to master, specialist in education, and doctoral degrees in the fields of education, business, biomedical science, biostatistics, allied health science, nursing, psychology, and public administration. It also hosts GRU's Graduate Research Day, as well as provides support for the Student Training and Research program, which provides research learning opportunities for students.
The Medical College of Georgia's freshman class of 230 students is among the 10 largest medical school classes in the country and is expected to grow to 300 within 10 years. The college’s expansion plan includes the Medical College of Georgia/University of Georgia Medical Partnership campus in Athens, clinical campuses in Albany, Rome and Savannah, and the Southeast Georgia Health System in Brunswick. Enrollment in 2011-12 totaled 852.
The college first opened in 1943 as the department of nursing education within the University of Georgia College of Education, with an Atlanta-based center to offer graduate courses. It relocated to the then-Medical College of Georgia in 1956 to become the MCG School of Nursing.
The school was renamed the Georgia Health Sciences University College of Nursing in 2011, reflecting MCG’s name change. In 2013, the GHSU College of Nursing and ASU nursing department became the GRU College of Nursing. It produces the most nurses in Georgia on a yearly basis.
It offers BSN, MS, DNP, and Ph.D programs, and was ranked 44th in graduate nursing programs in the 2011 US News and Report.
The college contains many programs, including the 10th Doctor of Nursing program; a Master’s-entry Clinical Nurse Leader Program, as well as Georgia’s only nursing anesthesia program. There are initiatives with East Central Regional Hospital, Good Samaritan House, Healthy Grandparents Program, and Costa-Layman’s Nursery, and well as a partnership with Jjaghan University in China.
The College of Science and Mathematics is made up of five departments: Biology, Chemistry and Physics, Mathematics, Military Science, and Psychology. It offers 15 undergraduate degrees, a minor in Military Science which grants a graduate the rank of Second Lieutenant, and an M.S. Program in Psychology with three tracks.
GRU's main campus in Augusta, Georgia, encompasses more than 200 acres and has four local campuses. It is made up of the former campuses between Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University, with additions from the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.
The Health Sciences campus first began in 1913 as the college moved to the Newton building and expanded from there, with the Dugas Building in 1937 marking the earliest building currently on the campus. The first clinical facility opened as the Eugene Talmadge Memorial Hospital in 1956.
Located in Augusta's Medical District, the Health Sciences campus features all medical programs of the university, as well as the Health Sciences Building, Interdisciplinary Research Building, Wellness Center, Cancer Center, and College of Dental Medicine.
In addition, the Health Sciences campus also contains the Georgia Regents Medical Center, and Children's Hospital of Georgia.
The Summerville campus was originally used as a Confederate Army arsenal during the American Civil War and included a massive powder works to supply gunpowder for the Confederate Army. Following the surrender, the arsenal fell into more of a support role, beginning with the Spanish-American War in that the arsenal produced manufacturing equipment, seacoast targets, and was a repair station. In World War I, the station repaired rifles and small arms, but produced ordnance material and fire control operations for World War II.
In 1955, the arsenal was closed, and two years later the land was given to the local Board of Education, which used it to open the Junior College of Augusta. In 1958, the name changed to Augusta College, and in 1996 to Augusta State University.
Located on Walton Way, the Summerville campus houses many of the undergraduate programs and the Jaguar Student Activities Center. The Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre, the History Walk, the Mary S. Byrd Gallery of Art, the Honors Program, and the Maxwell Alumni House are all found on this campus. In addition, the James M. Hull College of Business, College of Education, College of Science and Mathematics, and Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences are located here.
The campus was formerly well known for the Arsenal Oak, a tree that contained wood believed to be 250–400 years old, until it was cut down in June 2004 because of disease.
Then-Augusta State University opened a second campus in 1991 for athletics, complete with a 3800-seat area - Christenberry Fieldhouse, named in 2003 - and softball and baseball fields. The J. Fleming Norvell Golf House was added in 2007 with an adjacent driving range, putting green, and chipping area.
The campus contains Forest Hills Golf Club, home of the men's and women's golf teams and a public course available for play, and the 500-bed University Village student housing.
GRU has three satellite campuses for clinical study in Albany, Rome, and Savannah.
GRU is also in possession of the former Georgia Golf Hall of Fame & Gardens riverfront property in downtown Augusta for possible future development.
The College of Nursing has a satellite campus in Athens, where GHSU’s Medical College of Georgia operates a partnership campus with the University of Georgia. MCG also has clinical campuses in Albany and Savannah, with one planned to open in Rome soon.
In 2010, GRU partnered up with the University of Georgia to create the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership. The GRU/UGA Medical Partnership combines the experience of one of the nation’s first medical schools with the resources of the Georgia’s most comprehensive research university. The result is an education that allows students to reach their full potential in a unique learning environment. 
In 2011, the University of Georgia acquired the former U.S. Navy Supply Corps School on the medical corridor of Prince Avenue near downtown Athens. The 56-acre Health Sciences Campus has an extensive landscaped green space, more than 400 trees and several historic buildings. In July 2012, the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership moved to the 58-acre UGA Health Sciences Campus near downtown Athens.
East Central Regional Hospital contains two locations in Augusta and Gracewood, was taken over by GRU for administrative purposes in 2009 after the facility was considered for closure. The university's College of Nursing is actively involved in the daily activities, including patient care. The hospital specializes in behavioral health and mental disabilities.
The athletics squads continued to compete under the Augusta State name until the end of the 2012-13 athletic season.
GRU competes at the Division I level in Women’s and Men's golf and is a Division II participant in its 11 other sports (women’s and men’s cross country, volleyball, women’s and men’s basketball, women’s and men’s tennis, softball, baseball and women’s and men’s outdoor track & field). The mascot is the Jaguar.
As Augusta State, the school competed at the Division II level for 10 years, beginning in 1974, before joining the Big South Conference and gaining Division I status in the Fall of 1984, while the men's golf program has competed at the Division I level since 1984 as an independent. When ASU returned to Division II status and joined the Peach Belt Conference in the Fall of 1991, the men’s golf program continued to compete at the Division I level as an independent.
The ASU men's golf program captured the school’s first NCAA Division I Men’s Golf National Championship on June 6, 2010 in Ooltewah, Tennessee, when the Jaguars defeated Oklahoma State University. The Jags then became the first Division I men’s golf program in 27 years to repeat as National Champions on June 5, 2011 when they defeated the University of Georgia at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma.