State Legislature approves Adams State University

(04-11-2012)

Adams State is awaiting the Governor's signature on a law officially changing the college to a university. House Bill 12-1080 successfully passed out of the Colorado Senate today.

"We are very excited about entering a new phase as a university," said Adams State President David Svaldi. "We truly appreciate the support of the State Legislature and especially of the bill's co-sponsors, House Representative Ed Vigil and State Senator Gail Schwartz."

The college's Board of Trustees voted to pursue the name change Aug. 26, after exploring the issue for three years. The change will be official Aug. 7, 2012, effective with the fall 2012 semester (2012-13 academic year).

"Becoming Adams State University is a logical next step. We have been operating at this level for some time," Svaldi added. "This will more clearly communicate to prospective students the high quality and breadth of our academic programs for graduate and undergraduate students, as well as for distance learners."

Graduate students now make up more than one-quarter of Adams State's enrollment, and most of them take classes online, noted Dr. Michael Mumper, senior vice president for Enrollment Management and Program Development. The university name will improve Adams State's competitiveness in this and the undergraduate market, because prospective students often erroneously associate the name "college" with two-year institutions, he said.

Adams State's Graduate School recently introduced its ninth master's degree program, in Music Education. Total enrollment has broken records for the last three years in a row, and Adams State now has the most graduate students in its history.

Steve Valdez, chair of the Adams State Board of Trustees, said Adams State is successfully developing new revenue streams to compensate for state budget cuts - 30 percent over the last four years. Adams State's expanding master's degree and distance education programs are essential to supporting the on-campus, undergraduate programs, he said.

"We cannot continue to make up for state budget cuts by increasing tuition. Adams State must remain affordable for students who have the most to gain from earning a college degree - and who have the most to lose without one," Valdez said.

This will be the institution's fifth name since its founding 91 years ago to prepare public school teachers for rural Colorado. Adams State Normal School opened in 1925; in 1929 the name was changed to Adams State Teachers College of Southern Colorado, then shortened in 1938 to Adams State Teachers College. The current name was adopted in 1946 in recognition of the broader offering of under-graduate liberal arts programs and the expansion of graduate degree programs.

More about the name change.

By Julie Waechter