WWC to Change Name

institution will be named Walla Walla University

By: Kristi Spurgeon

To better reflect the scope of its programs and the nature of its student body, Walla Walla College has elected to change its name to Walla Walla University. 

The name change was approved yesterday by the college’s governing body, the Walla Walla College constituency. The group is comprised of 256 delegates representing the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

“Our liberal arts core and our commitment to personalized education will remain strong, however we are adopting a university name to more accurately describe our institution,” says WWC President John McVay. “We believe a university name will place our school in a stronger position to clearly communicate who we are,” he says.

Walla Walla College has been officially recognized as a university for more than ten years by the Carnegie Foundation’s Basic Classification System, which provides guidelines for naming higher education institutions. Classifications are based on programs and students graduating with master’s degrees. 

Approximately one-third of WWC’s graduates each year receive master’s degrees, according to Ginger-Ketting Weller, vice president for academic administration. “Most students are involved in professional programs, typical of many universities,” she says.

Other factors contributing to a name change include positioning the school more accurately in relation to similar institutions and communicating clearly with international students who associate “college” with a secondary school.

As part of the transition, the phrase “Seventh-day Adventist Higher Education” will also be used as a descriptor to the university name to identify the school’s connection to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “Our name may be changing, but, as always, our education will continue to be rooted in Seventh-day Adventist faith and tradition,” McVay says.

The decision by the WWC constituency follows a recommendation by the college’s board of trustees to adopt a university name. The name change was approved by 83 percent of the delegates.

The date the new name becomes official will be decided at a later date by the college’s board of trustees.

For more information about the name change, visit wwc.edu/namechange.


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