The motion also approved an allocation of $130,000 from Western’s fund reserve to support initial costs related to the name change. The WSC Foundation also will commit funds to the initiative and administrators are seeking additional monetary and in-kind support from other entities.
A legislative bill seeking approval for the name change will be drafted and introduced in the current legislative session. If the bill passes, Western anticipates adopting the new name on July 1.
Campus discussions regarding the potential name change started last September and a public, online poll for new names was launched in December. Although University of Western Colorado garnered the majority of votes among the new name options, WSC administrators worked with Colorado Mesa University (CMU) to agree upon a name that would not cause brand confusion. Western State Colorado University was among the top selections in the survey.
“Western State Colorado University meets our main criteria for the new name as it has the three key words of ‘Western,’ ‘Colorado’ and ‘University,” remarked WSC President Jay Helman. “By keeping the word ‘State’ in our name, we also maintain our heritage and brand identity. This new name better reflects who we are now and the direction we are taking as an institution of higher education.”
Western was founded in 1901 as Colorado State Normal School offering preparatory education for teachers. In 1923, the institution was renamed Western State College of Colorado and expanded its mission to academic offerings in the liberal arts and sciences. Today, Western’s programs include graduate degrees and pre-professional studies, with additional master’s degree offerings in development. Western also will open a Center for Executive Development this summer and plans are underway for other professional centers.
“Western is growing and evolving,” Helman noted. “A change to university status is a natural progression for our institution as we enter into our second century of service.”