Inauguration Week celebrates history and tradition

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Augusta University will celebrate the homecoming of its inaugural president, Brooks A. Keel, PhD, during a week of events between April 24 and May 1.

“It feels good to be back home; home to the city where I grew up; home to this great institution where I studied,” Keel said. “But this week is not about me; it’s about the students, faculty, staff and all the people who make Augusta University great. They are the ones whom we are celebrating this week.”

Events for Inauguration Week include:

  • A Toast to Augusta University on Sunday, April 24: This toast to Augusta University, provided by one of Keel’s mentors Dr. John Black, 2005 Distinguished Alumnus and president emeritus of East Georgia College, kicks off Inauguration Week. Attendees will be the first to contribute to the Augusta University time capsule, available for one week only as part of Inauguration and Alumni Weekend activities and slated to be re-opened upon the 200th anniversary of the university’s founding in 2028. The toast will take place 4-5:30 p.m. at The Russell A. Blanchard Fountain on the Summerville Campus.
  • Hospital Day on Monday, April 25: Keel and First Lady Tammie Schalue, PhD, will deliver cookies to approximately 37 nurse stations in the medical center and Children’s Hospital of Georgia, and visit clinical areas throughout the health system, to share their appreciation for the staff’s dedication and hard work. This event will take place 9-10:30 a.m. and again 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Presidential Research Symposium on Tuesday, April 26: The Presidential Research Symposium is an opportunity for the public to learn more about the impact of Augusta University’s long history of research and discovery. The symposium, sponsored by Xytex Corporation, will honor Dr. Viendra B. Mahesh, former chair of the Department of Endocrinology at the Medical College of Georgia and a mentor to Keel. This event will take place 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Auditoria Center on the Health Sciences Campus.
  • Investiture on Wednesday, April 27: A formal ceremony will be held to confer presidential authority and rank. Special guests include Gov. Nathan Deal, University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby, University of Georgia President Jere Morehead, Regents James Hull and Kessel Stelling, and Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis. The event will take place at 2 p.m. at the Augusta Convention Center on 901 Reynolds St.
  • Arsenal Oak Celebration & Dedication on Friday, April 29: The famed Arsenal Oak was a longtime symbol of Augusta’s roots and the rich history of its university. The 250-year-old oak was cut down in 2004 due to a disease, but not before arborist George Barrett could retrieve the tree’s acorns. Local journalist and outdoorsman Rob Pavey then nurtured the acorns into maturity. Now, almost 20 years later, Augusta University will celebrate the replanting of one of the descendants of the original Arsenal Oak. This event will take place at 1 p.m. in front of Benet House on the Summerville Campus.

For more information on Inauguration Week, visit

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Written by
Arthur Takahashi

Arthur Takahashi is Digital Media Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact him to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706–446–5128 or

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Written by Arthur Takahashi

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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