Tag Archives: Augustus

Faculty prepares for upcoming year at kickoff event

As provost, Dr. Gretchen Caughman frequently addresses faculty concerning issues involving the university, but seldom does she get the opportunity to speak to as many at one time as she did last week at the faculty kickoff meeting at the Maxwell Theatre.

There, Caughman kicked off the new academic year by presenting a long list of priorities while also emphasizing the importance of teamwork and getting to know fellow faculty members.

“No matter how long you’ve been here, and I might have been here longer than anybody, there’s somebody you don’t know,” she said. “And I think you should try to speak to at least five people you don’t know before you leave today. Make some new friends. These are colleagues, and we are in this together.”

Later, after talking about the importance of the University Senate, introducing new faculty and sharing the stage with Augustus, the new Jaguar mascot, Caughman presented President Brooks Keel.

“The opportunity to come back home and be the main cheerleader for both your undergraduate and your graduate universities is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m excited to be here,” he said. “And I really do see that one of my primary roles is to be a cheerleader, to try to serve as the mouthpiece to tell the world about the wonderful things that you, the faculty of this great university, do here.”

When it came to the point where he would normally start talking about vision, however, Keel stopped.

“I don’t have a vision,” he said. “I can’t bring you a vision for this university – that’s something that we together have to decide. We together have to work on the vision of Georgia Regents University, and we together have to be in the position to carry out that vision.”

Then, he highlighted some areas of importance, including the Cyber Institute, making GRU a destination campus and using the strong performing arts culture on the Summerville Campus as a driver to help recruit business and industry to the community.

“You are the heart and soul of this university,” he concluded. “We have a lot of challenges ahead of us. But I’m up for the challenges, and I know you are, too.”

Click here to watch a video of the entire presentation.

Augustus: The new big cat on campus

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Augustus, professional big cat, mascot of GRU

Al E. Cat, longtime Georgia Regents University mascot and all-around cool cat, retired earlier this summer after an unfortunate injury left him unable to cheer. On Aug. 18, however, Georgia Regents University welcomed his successor, Augustus, to campus – and things are already looking up.

In anticipation of the upcoming 2015-16 Academic Year, we sat down with the Big Cat himself to talk about beginnings, family and working at GRU.

 

Q: Augustus, how do you feel about having been appointed GRU’s new Mascot?

A: It’s a tremendous honor. I mean, really, how often do you get to be a professional Jaguar and cheer for the Jaguars at the same time? It’s a dream job. It’s like they made it for me. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity.

 

Q: How do see yourself adjusting to the new role? A lot of people would say you have some pretty big shoes to fill.

A: That’s true. Al E. Cat was a great cat. He did a lot of wonderful things for the institution, and I intend to carry on that spirit of Jaguar pride he instilled in our athletes. President Keel said as an institution, he’d like for us look out of the windshield instead of the rearview as we move forward. That said, I think I’ll still look back from time to time. Al E. Cat is someone I hope we never forget.

 

Q: Speaking of great cats, your younger brother, Roary, was recently appointed Chief Fun Officer of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. What’s it like working with family?

A: It’s been interesting. Researchers will tell you that we jaguars don’t usually roam together. That’s true. Roary and I are, well, we’re very different cats, you know? He went into health care, I went into higher education. On paper, we look like totally different cats, right? But researchers never tell you why jaguars don’t roam together in the wild. It’s because we’re too good at what we do. Seriously. Put more than one jaguar in any one place and give them something to do, and it’s almost scary how much we can accomplish. You’re in for some big things, trust me.

 

Q: I think the question on a lot of people’s minds is, “Where do you and Roary come from?”

A: We’re from the South originally. And I mean way south. Like South America. That’s part of the reason we came here. There’s a strong international focus in Augusta that’s always interested the two of us. We’d been living here for a while and had already fallen in love with the place, so when the opportunity to work for GRU and CHOG came around, we both knew we had to take it. I honestly couldn’t believe it at first. Then I got the call from Dr. Keel.

 

Q: I think the next big question is “Aren’t most jaguars yellow and orange?”

A: “Yes, traditionally Jaguars are yellow and orange. But Roary and I, we’re unique. We were born with the genetis helusius mutation, which makes our fur grey and white. They say it also makes us more aggressive, and let me tell you, that’s the truth. I’m aggressive about making Jaguar Nation the best it can be, and Roary is aggressive about brightening the day of children in CHOG. It’s the perfect combo.”

 

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to faculty, staff and students before the 2016 Academic Year kicks off?

A: Good luck! We have some world-class talent here at GRU. Whether it’s in academics, athletics or both, our students are worthy of being called Jaguars. Get more than one of them in any place, and great things are bound to happen. I can promise you that!

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Augustus welcomed as new mascot for the Jaguar Nation

After a long rollout that included a series of videos chronicling the career-ending injury of former mascot Al E. Cat and the search for his replacement, Georgia Regents University’s new mascot, Augustus, was welcomed to Jaguar Nation Tuesday in an energy-filled ceremony at the Jaguar Student Activity Center.

“This is a very important day for Jaguar Nation,” said Athletic Director Clint Bryant, who followed his opening remarks by touching on the history of the Jaguar mascot.

Only four universities in the nation are known as the Jaguars, Bryant said: GRU, South Alabama University, Southern University and Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. And though the Summerville Campus has been the Jaguars since the 1930s, it wasn’t until 1992 that the school had its first mascot: Al E. Cat. The name, chosen from 250 entries, earned the winner $50.

President Brooks Keel, a graduate of both Augusta College and the Medical College of Georgia, noted the consolidation of the two schools while giving a nod to its binding traditions.

Al E. Cat
An early version of Al E. Cat

“I wasn’t here back in the 30s, but I was here back when it was Augusta College. And it was Jaguar then, it is Jaguar now, and it’s Jaguar even bigger than I could have ever imagined as an undergraduate student,” he said. “It’s bigger than I ever could have imagined as a graduate student of the Medical College of Georgia. It is now the combination of two of the greatest universities around into one university, one Georgia Regents University, and we are all one Jaguar Nation.”

Shortly after Keel spoke, Augustus made his big entrance.

Brian Marshall, a marketing specialist with the Division of Communications and Marketing, was instrumental in the creation of the new mascot, which was developed with the help of Weir/Stewart, an Augusta advertising firm. Having actually performed while wearing the innovative new suit, Marshall has a unique insight.

drawing2“The first thing you think about when you’re going to be a mascot is what the vision is like,” he said. “With this suit, there are actually two different places where you can look out. You’re not looking 20/20 out of the eye holes, but you’re able to see out of those two places, so you can get a better sense of what’s around you.”

Another unique aspect of the suit is the feet, which he said are worn like slippers.

“You’re not covering up your shoe; you’re actually putting your foot in there, so you don’t have to worry about your foot slipping off, because it’s built to keep it there,” he said. “I’ve run in it, I’ve jumped in it, I’ve danced in it – you name it.”

drawingAnd because many of the larger schools utilize multiple mascot suits, GRU actually has two Augustus suits.

“That way we can do recruiting off campus, but still have him available here for a game,” Marshall said. “However, because we want to make sure there’s only one Augustus, we have a strategy in place to make sure that if he’s going to be on live TV, he won’t be performing somewhere else at exactly the same time.”

While the design process was intense, it was fun and rewarding for all involved.

“We’re pretty proud of him and would like to thank everyone over at Georgia Regents University for trusting us to bring the new mascot for the Jaguar Nation to life,” said Alex Wier, creative director at Wier/Stewart. “Going from looking at the sketches to seeing a real Augustus pumping up the GRU faithful has been a very cool experience.”

The suit was delivered in late April, which was a little too late in the school year for a proper rollout, so the team decided to wait to officially welcome Augustus until the first week of the 2015-16 school year, though Augustus was busy over the summer filming videos and interacting with students during different orientation sessions.

Photo credit: Phil Jones

Photo credit: Kim Ratliff