SAVANNAH, Ga. – On Friday the Georgia Southern University community received an email from the school’s president, Jaimie Hebert, about a potential merger with Armstrong State University in Savannah.
“The Board of Regents and the University System of Georgia continues to assess how its institutions can effectively and efficiently serve the state and provide access to education to its citizens. Chancellor Steve Wrigley will recommend to the Board of Regents that Georgia Southern University and Armstrong State University be consolidated at the next Board of Regents meeting, which will be held January 11,” President Hebert said in a statement Friday.
Students who received that email had mixed reactions.
“I was actually not really all that surprised because I remember a little while back hearing rumors of the university possibly merging with another school but I didn’t think it would be Armstrong,” Student Tandra Smith.
Many G.S.U. students see the potential merger as a positive action plan for the future of the two schools.
“I didn’t see it coming but I think it will be good for students in the Southeast who go to either of these institutions because over the summer a lot of them move closer the university or the other so they’ll be able to take summer classes without commuting,” Student Blakely Bartee said.
Rachel Barfield’s family sees the merger as a chance to bring them closer together.
“My mom went to Armstrong so I know she was happy about that. But I think it’ll be something we all get used to,” she said. “I know a lot of us head to Savannah for jobs and internships and all so having that down there so that could potentially lead to more jobs than us.”
If the merger is approved it would make the combined campuses of Georgia Southern University the fourth largest public school in the state with more than 27,000 students.
“It’s going to be weird that Georgia Southern isn’t going to be just in Statesboro but in Savannah as well,” Barfield said.
Many students expressed their concern with questions of the unknown, including what happens to sports teams, school colors, classes offered, facility access, and majors offered.
President Hebert has promised to provide more information after the January 11 proposal meeting to the Board of Regents where University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley will recommend the merger.
WSAV will bring you the latest developments.