June 26, 2007
Whitworth to Change Name from College to University on July 1
"Whitworth University" will begin replacing "Whitworth College" on campus signs, stationery and bookstore merchandise this week in preparation for the school's official name change on July 1. Yet, what matters most about Whitworth will not change, officials say.
"The transition to Whitworth University is intended to clarify, rather than change, our core mission and identity," says Whitworth President Bill Robinson. "We believe the 'university' nomenclature best reflects an institution with our profile of undergraduate, graduate and international programs. As Whitworth University, we will remain as committed as ever to the liberal-arts emphasis and the warm, interpersonal culture for which Whitworth is known."
Whitworth's board of trustees approved the name change in part to avoid potential confusion created by the growing number of two-year colleges that have dropped "community" and "technical" from their names. The name change also supports Whitworth's goal to increase enrollment of international students from places where a "college" is understood to be a secondary school.
The board further recognized that the Carnegie Foundation, U.S. News & World Report and other organizations have long classified Whitworth as a master's-level, regional university. In fact, Whitworth (#5), St. Mary's (#10) and Westminster (#20) are the only "colleges" ranked among the top 20 master's-level universities in the West in U.S. News' 2007 America's Best Colleges guidebook.
To reinforce the message that the name change represents a continuation rather than a shift in Whitworth's mission or purpose, only minor adjustments have been made to the institutional logo. The word "university" replaces "founded 1890" in the outer ring of the logo mark and a ribbon bearing "1890" is added to the base of the torch in the center of the mark; all other elements of the logo remain the same. The updated logo already appears on Whitworth's 2007-09 course catalog as well as on new letterhead and other stationery. Campus signs and light-pole banners with the new name will be installed as early as June 27, with Whitworth University apparel and merchandise going on sale in the campus bookstore the first week in July.
"After nearly 20 months of planning, we are excited to see 'Whitworth University' starting to appear around campus," says Director of Communications Greg Orwig. "Apart from the new name, however, there will be little change in our branding and marketing. Whitworth University will continue to offer the student-centered education of mind and heart that Whitworth College has offered for 117 years."
With the number of freshman applications up 450 percent since 2000, and with the academic profile of incoming students at an all-time high, trustees and administrators felt no urgency to make the name change. The board voted in October 2005 for the name change to be executed no later than 2009, allowing administrators to plan the transition to minimize costs and unintended consequences. Officials estimate the total cost of the name change to be about $50,000.
"The board felt that trends in the higher-education marketplace in our region made a change to Whitworth University inevitable, and that we should make the change during a time of stability and strength," Robinson says. "Our deliberate approach has enabled us to make the case for the name change while being absolutely clear that it is intended to make Whitworth stronger, not different."
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal-arts institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). With an enrollment of 2,500 students, Whitworth offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
Bill Robinson, president, (509) 777-4665 or email@example.com.
Greg Orwig, director of communications, (509) 777-4580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related LinksWhitworth Press Release Index