This time the governor did something right.
When Gov. Nathan Deal tapped James M. Hull on Thursday to fill a vacant seat on the Georgia Board of Regents, he made a wise decision.
Hull, a member-manager of Hull Storey Gibson Companies LLC, is a well-known philanthropist and booster for higher education and good works in the Augusta area.
He serves on the boards of the Community Foundation of the CSRA, the Medical College of Georgia Foundation, the Augusta State University Foundation, the Georgia Regents University Board of Visitors and the Augusta Warrior Project, where he was a co-founding member and president.
Hull will be the first Augusta appointee to the 19-member board since businessman Tim Shelnutt’s departure in 2007 created a power vacuum that we’ve felt ever since. When the merger of Georgia Health Science and Augusta State universities was announced in 2012, Hull, like other leaders saw it as a great opportunity for the area.
Still, the process of the merger was very top-down, “take-your-medicine-it’s-good-for-you” experience for Augusta, with many decisions being made in Atlanta without the appearance of local input.
The whole naming debacle, which was handled very poorly by the Board of Regents and their man in Augusta, Dr. Ricardo Azziz, got the merger off on the wrong footing to start.
Without our on local regent to advocate for the community, those who felt strongly about having Augusta included in the new school’s name were understandably angry and hurt. Some are still nursing those hurts, holding the school at arm’s length instead of embracing the opportunity that it presents.
All along, Hull took a more pragmatic view, disagreeing with the name choice but refusing to take a stance that would damage the relationship with leaders in Atlanta and future prosperity for Georgia Regents University. That’s likely one reason, among many, that he was chosen for the seat.
Now Hull is in a place where he can speak for our area when those decisions get made. We have a voice to advocate for our children when it come to their higher education.
We expect him to use that voice well.