Ethan Fredericks, Assistant Editor~
The fall brings more than just a change of season as Lynchburg College follows the plans set by its Board of Trustees, and changed the name to the University of Lynchburg. This decision was originally set in motion on February 24, 2017 as part of a larger strategy titled “Vision 2020” that intended to elevate the institution to University status and to make it higher ranked throughout the state.
Interestingly enough, the University of Lynchburg has qualified for the University status for more than a decade but did nothing in the way of updating their status, until now. Stephen Bright, Vice President for Business and Finance, addressed this point by stating, “With the graduate program quickly becoming 25-30% of our revenue, we should be motivated to recognize [the name change] now, especially since we have local people that don’t even know that we have graduate programs.”
This aspect alone is arguably one of the most important facets of the name change, as one of the driving forces behind the switch from college to university. “I think that this name change is a strategy as much as it is a definition. And yes, it’s easy to say that [the name change] describes who we are, but not a lot of people care about that; but what I think we do care about is how does it propel us into the future into new and different markets,” says Bright.
Lynchburg College’s greatest competition has always been state universities. As a result, the switch to university is deemed by those in the University of Lynchburg’s marketing branch as a must in order to compete with larger universities.
While staff and faculty have reacted generally in a positive manner to the change, student opinion has been rather lukewarm. A bulk of the student body at the now, University of Lynchburg, have been more or less apathetic towards the University change of name as well as status, with some even going so far as to call it a marketing gimmick. Celeste Arthur-Schroeder, a senior at the University of Lynchburg and Psychology major said, “There’s just so many more important problems.” Like many others, she believes that more time and money should be allocated to the school’s infrastructure before any further plans are made to delve into name changes and marketability.