Georgia Southern president, Armstrong provost comment on merger

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - We're receiving new details regarding the merger between Georgia Southern University and Armstrong State University.

A committee made up of 20 people from both schools, as well as one from Savannah State, are now charged with making decisions throughout the consolidation process.

We spoke with Georgia Southern's president, who says they discussed several different things during Wednesday's meeting, and while no decisions were made, one of their first goals is to come up with a mission statement for the new school and create a plan for the athletic departments.

The implementation committee, which is a group of 41 individuals, discussed goals and expectations with each other and with the chancellor Dr. Steve Wrigley. We asked Georgia Southern's president if he had a message for the students after Wednesday's meeting. He says they're putting a huge emphasis on providing greater educational opportunities for all students, and they will be laying out a more specific timeline about tasks that are coming along.

"We will be communicating those out. We're also in the midst of launching a 30-day communication plan, trying to get some of that information out now that we've been formally charged," said Dr. Jaimie Hebert, President, Georgia Southern University.

We also spoke with the Vice President of Academic Affairs for Armstrong State, who also has a message for students and others affected by the merger.

Dr. Robert Smith says instead of it feeling tense between the two groups, it felt more like a family reunion with the others as they got acquainted. He adds it was a great start to this whole process.

"The work we're going to do will be guided by one thing and that's what is best for our students, present and future. We're going to work very hard to ensure that what we end up with is a new university and the chancellor made this very clear," said Dr. Smith.

They have not yet set a date for the next meeting but I'm told the two university presidents and the University System of Georgia will have a follow-up conversation this week and weekly conversations after that to discuss the progress.

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