MCG is at the top of its game, dean says

A new academic home; a 15 percent increase in medical school applicants; a record-in-recent-history number of seniors choosing the Medical College of Georgia and GRHealth for their residency training; an unprecedented amount of clinical growth; and robust research in a tough funding time.

“It’s a great story, a great journey,” Dr. Peter F. Buckley, MCG Dean said of the nation’s 13th oldest medical school at his annual State of the College address, “Road Trip to Excellence.” “We are branding a message of a medical school that is progressive, that is growing, that has a great story to tell.”

Buckley lauded faculty, students, staff, and residents across MCG’s four campuses as well as alumni who populate the state and nation for the dynamic state of Georgia’s public medical school. He thanked as well physicians, hospitals, and communities across Georgia that have embraced MCG students and enabled a true statewide educational network.

“We have many, many homes across the state, both physically and metaphorically,” Buckley said of three clinical campuses in southwest, northwest, and southeast Georgia, as well as a second four-year campus, the GRU-UGA Medical Partnership in Athens. This year, the Southwest Campus, based in Albany, celebrates a decade of operation, the second cohort of students who attended the Athens campus graduate next week, as do the first group of students who spent their clinical years in the newest campus, based in Rome.

At the home base in Augusta, the new J. Harold Harrison, M.D., Education Commons, continues to draw rave reviews from students, educators, and visitors alike. A recent reviewer for the Liaison Committee on Medical Education commented that he had not seen it’s match in the country, Buckley shared.

That state-of-the-art facility coupled with a long history of educational excellence has helped generate the unprecedented interest in MCG, said Buckley, noting that the 15 percent increase in medical school applicants this year at MCG compares with a 4 percent increase nationally.

Buckley thanked again Dr. J. Harold Harrison, the late 1948 graduate whose $10 million gift generated even more enthusiasm and support for the medical college’s academic home. An additional $66 million gift from Harrison’s estate is enabling an unprecedented number of student scholarships and endowed chairs to help attract and retain more top students and faculty as it builds a culture of philathropy, he said. He called Harrison, “a man who has transformed our medical school. You are seeing it in front of your eyes.”

The energy and synergy permeate the clinical and research arenas as well. Again bucking national trends, MCG and GRHealth are sustaining unprecedented clinical growth while addressing roadblocks such as cancelled clinics.

“We have continued to stay focused, continued to stay robust and develop a research program in probably the most adversarial time in the history of the National Institutes of Health,” Buckley said, encouraging everyone to be proud of their research colleagues.

To watch the 2015 State of the College Address, please visit:

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Written by
Toni Baker

Toni Baker is the Communications Director at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-4421 or

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Written by Toni Baker

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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