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Posted: Tuesday, May 8th 2012 at 3:19pm

University of North Georgia adopted as name for consolidated campuses

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ATLANTA - The consolidation of Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University took another step forward today with the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents’ actions on the mission statement and name of the institution formed through the consolidation.

The board approved the name University of North Georgia for the new institution created through the consolidation of North Georgia College & State University (North Georgia) and Gainesville State College (GSC).

“Naming a university is a rare opportunity,” said Dr. Bonita C. Jacobs, president of North Georgia College & State University. "University of North Georgia is a forward-looking name that creates a strong identity for this new university that spans a large geographic region and that will have such a broad array of educational programs serving a student population of more than 15,000.”

Gainesville State College President Martha T. Nesbitt responded to the vote by saying, "I am very happy with the new name as it focuses on the regional character of the new multi-campus institution. This aspect also plays an important part of the mission statement of the new university."

“Names are critical,” Shelley Nickel, USG associate vice chancellor for Planning and Implementation, said in presenting the proposed names and mission statements to the regents. “They establish the identity and set the tone for the new institution. As such, the names represent a tremendous amount of work and the involvement of a very broad spectrum of stakeholders. The implementation teams are to be commended for their very open and inclusive work.”

North Georgia and GSC engaged thousands of stakeholders – students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members – in the process of identifying names for the new consolidated university, through a series of focus groups and an online survey.

Along with the new name, the mission statement will be effective upon both approval and accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and Board of Regents approval in January 2013.

“This is another milestone in the road to full consolidation,” Nickel said. “The mission statements are really the foundation that is essential for all future work as the consolidation moves forward. These statements will be the guide that the campus implementation teams follow in creating four new institutions focused on expanding opportunities for students and strengthening our ability to serve these students.”

The Consolidation Implementation Committee serving North Georgia and GSC crafted the mission statement based on campus input provided through discussion groups and surveys to identify key elements that should be included in the mission statement for the consolidated institution. That process revealed many common principles and values focused on student success and educational experiences that are shared by Gainesville State and North Georgia.

“Individually, Gainesville State and North Georgia are strong schools with particular missions focused on meeting the educational needs of students. The new consolidated institution under this newly approved name and mission will maintain the academic rigor required for the university's bachelor, graduate and doctoral programs, while also providing access opportunities on branch campuses for students seeking associate degrees,” Nesbitt said.

The mission as approved by the Board of Regents 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.

Throughout the consolidation process, constituents of each of the consolidating institutions have expressed the importance of honoring the institutions’ heritage, achievements and particular missions. One of the key concerns for North Georgia constituents is the continuation of the university’s military program.

“North Georgia is one of only six federally-designated senior military colleges in the United States and has produced generations of Army officers, including more than 40 generals,” Jacobs said. “The Corps of Cadets will continue to stand as one of the elements that uniquely identifies our university.”

The consolidation process is the initiative of USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby, who envisions consolidation as an important part of his program to create greater efficiencies in the System’s operations while enhancing academic opportunities for students.

When he announced the consolidation plan in January, Huckaby said, “Georgia needs more of its citizens completing some level of postsecondary education. But we have to achieve this goal by considering some different approaches – approaches that put the needs of our students and the imperative to reach this goal first and foremost.”

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