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Check out some of the top moments from Augusta University this year.

Year in review: Augusta University’s best moments of 2019

From breaking ground on new construction projects to increasing enrollment for the sixth consecutive year, 2019 has been full of memorable moments for Augusta University. Here are some of the highlights from this year:

Augusta University named among best in the nation
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“These rankings reflect our university’s relentless efforts in providing excellent yet affordable education,” said Augusta University Provost Dr. Gretchen Caughman.

In Washington Monthly’s 15th annual College Guide and Rankings, Augusta University was named among the top 50 best universities in the United States and third in the southeast for being a “Best Bang for Your Buck” college, making the university a top institution for students to obtain marketable degrees at affordable prices.

AU Health opens second care center in Columbia County
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Augusta University Health Care Center Grovetown II is located on West Robinson Avenue.

Augusta University Health opened its second care center in Grovetown on Nov. 6 to continue providing primary care services when and where the community needs it most. Augusta University Care Center Grovetown II, located on West Robinson Avenue, will offer walk-in, on-demand care as well as scheduled appointments for pediatrics and women’s health, including maternal-fetal medicine.

Nursing student’s quick action saves fellow nurse having stroke
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Nursing student Jordan Buras alerted others when she noticed a nurse she was shadowing was showing signs of a stroke.

Feb. 22 was a typical evening at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia, as nursing student Jordan Buras was shadowing registered nurse Dawn Echevarria. Buras noticed Echevarria started displaying stroke symptoms and that’s when her training kicked in.

Men’s basketball team wins Peach Belt Title
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The Augusta University men’s basketball team won the 2019 Peach Belt Conference Tournament.

The Jaguars and head coach Dip Metress won another Peach Belt Title on March 10 with a 93-86 victory over the USC Aiken Pacers. The Jaguars were ranked No. 16 in the nation and won their 13th consecutive game to claim the championship.

Future doctor returns home to practice
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Medical student Bria Carrithers at the Medical College of Georgia.

As a child, Bria Carrithers would watch her mother, a physician assistant and Medical College of Georgia graduate, put on her white coat and go to work and she’d dream of also pursuing a career in medicine. Now, as she prepares for her next two years of medical school, she’s hoping to capitalize on the faith MCG has placed in her by paying it forward to her hometown of Albany.

Former quarterback works to become oral maxillofacial surgeon
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Cullen Harper is training to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon at The Dental College of Georgia.

If you’re a Clemson Tigers football fan, you know of former quarterback Cullen Harper. He stepped away from the football field and dedicated the past five years to become a dentist, and is now training to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon at The Dental College of Georgia.

Thirteen physicians named America’s Top Doctors for 2019
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Doctors at Augusta University and its historic Medical College of Georgia have long been recognized as leaders in discovery, innovation and patient care.

In recognition of National Doctors Day on March 30, we saluted all our physicians at the Medical College of Georgia and AU Health. We also announced faculty who made the Castle Connolly 2019 list of America’s Top Doctors this year, which designates physicians in the top 1 percent of their field in the nation.

Katrina Keefer brings strength and solid leadership to AU Health
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Katrina Keefer believes she has been blessed with many unique opportunities that led her to Augusta University.

Katrina Keefer became chief executive officer for Augusta University Health System on July 15, a pivotal new clinical leadership position that includes an academic appointment as executive vice president for health affairs.

A world of animation emerges with new program
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The Department of Art and Design has created a new animation program that will begin this fall.

Starting this fall, Augusta University’s Department of Art and Design offered a new bachelor of fine arts degree with a concentration in animation. The mastermind behind the entire program is A.B. Osborne, the new assistant professor of animation, who came to Augusta University this past August.

College of Science and Mathematics preps for new home
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Faculty, staff and state officials break ground for the new College of Science and Mathematics building.

With close to 100 faculty, staff and state officials on hand, Augusta University officially broke ground on the new 124,518-square-foot College of Science and Mathematics building on Aug. 23, a $70 million project that is set to open in the summer of 2021.

Renowned clinical investigator joins Georgia Cancer Center
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As director of the Georgia Cancer Center, Cortes will provide leadership and drive new developments in the basic science, translational research and clinical trial programs.

Dr. Jorge Cortes, an international leader in clinical research in leukemia, joined the leadership of the Georgia Cancer Center and the Medical College of Georgia on Sept. 1. Cortes, who served as deputy department chair in the Department of Leukemia in the Division of Cancer Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, has been named director of the Georgia Cancer Center. He also will serve as a Georgia Research Alliance eminent scholar in cancer.

MCG receives approval for major curriculum redesign
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“We’re looking to the future of medical education. The MCG 3+ curriculum is evidence of our commitment to innovation and to better health for rural Georgia,” said Augusta University President Dr. Brooks Keel.

The Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University received approval from its accrediting body, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, to officially begin the process of redesigning its four-year core MD curriculum to three years. The redesign, which should be completed in time for the 2021-22 academic year, paves the way for a more career-tailored fourth year, MCG officials say, with options to enter a primary care residency, spend time honing clinical and research skills or complete a dual degree.

Watch our Year in Review video to see even more highlights of this remarkable year.

Cheers to another great year!

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Written by
Raysean Ricks

Raysean Ricks is a writer for Communications & Marketing at Augusta University. Contact him to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-6144 or email him at

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Avatar photo Written by Raysean Ricks

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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