ASC one step closer to "University"


House Bill 1080, which proposes to rename Adams State College to University, was referred today to the Colorado House of Representatives by its Education Committee. If approved, the measure will go to the Colorado Senate for a vote.

The bill was introduced by House Representative Ed Vigil, who is a 1986 graduate of Adams State. The college's Board of Trustees voted to pursue the name change Aug. 26. If approved by the full Colorado legislature and Governor, the change would be official Aug. 7, 2012, and effective with the fall 2012 semester (2012-13 academic year).

"We appreciate the Education Committee's support of this important bill, and thank Representative Vigil for his work on it," said Adams State President David Svaldi.

Several college representatives, including students, testified before the committee on the merits of the bill. Two key points were the growth of Adams State's graduate programs and the need to compete globally.

"It is a natural progression to change Adams State College to Adams State University," Svaldi added. "Changing our name to university will better represent the high quality and breadth of Adams State's academic programs, for graduate and undergraduate students, as well as for distance learners."

Dr. Michael Mumper, senior vice president for Enrollment Management and Program Development, noted that prospective students often erroneously associate the name "college" with two-year institutions. In the seven regional states where Adams State recruits, all but three of the 97 public, four-year institutions are called "university." Prospective graduate and distance education students are also put off by the "college" name.

Steve Valdez, chair of the Adams State Board of Trustees and a 1997 graduate, told the committee that 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 would 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 University name change.

By Julie Waechter