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Great things are done by a series of small things.

Merger Watch: How do you start conversations about a possible college merger? One person at a time.


Last month I had the opportunity to speak to a roomful of college executives interested in the potential of mergers, acquisitions and partnerships at the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges annual meeting in Atlanta. Co-leading the session with me was Bonita Jacobs, who was president of North Georgia College & State University when it was merged with Gainesville State College in 2013 to create the University of North Georgia — an institution she still leads.

We primarily focused on the “why” of mergers, discussing what happens to many institutions, notably those that are smaller, if they do not try and find a merger partner in a timely manner. About 15% of all degree-granting institutions in the U.S. have closed in the past decade, and greater than 50% of all school closures in the past 50 years have occurred since 2010.


Ricardo Azziz, MD, MPH, MBA

A educator-scientist-executive with over 20 years of leadership experience in higher education, research, and healthcare, Dr. Azziz currently serves as Regents’ Professor, Augusta University; Senior Fellow, American Association of State Colleges & Universities; Visiting Scholar, Pullias Center for Higher Education, University of Southern California; and former founding CEO, Georgia Regents Health System.