FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2006
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CMSU Becomes University of Central Missouri
WARRENSBURG, MO -- In a historic vote, Central Missouri State University's Board of Governors has approved a change in the institution's name to the University of Central Missouri - a change that is effective immediately.
Central Missouri President Aaron Podolefsky said the name change helps the institution to advance its new vision.
"We aspire to become a nationally recognized, comprehensive university that delivers a world-class university education," Podolefsky said. "The name change provides a crucial ingredient in fulfilling this new vision by symbolically representing our emergence as a national-level comprehensive university."
Central Missouri received legislative approval for the name change during the Missouri General Assembly's 2005 session. The legislation gave CMSU's governing board until August 2007 to determine whether or not to adopt the name change through a majority vote.
Larry Fick, board president, said "The name change has been discussed on campus for a couple of years, and today's vote by the Board of Governors marks the beginning of a new chapter in the institution's history. We look forward to continued progress and a bright future as the University of Central Missouri."
The board's decision to change the name supports recommendations made by Podolefsky and a broad-based campus task force, following a year of research and input from alumni, friends, students, faculty and staff. The name change received support from the CMSU Alumni Association Board of Directors and CMSU Foundation Board of Directors; governing groups for faculty, administrators and staff; and athletics.
Roger Wilson, president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, noted in a position statement supporting the name change, "The name 'University of Central Missouri' preserves the historical traditions of the school while strongly positioning the institution for the future. The university has had 'Central Missouri' as part of its name for nearly 87 years." He added that a name change is "a natural part of the university's evolution" as it seeks to fulfill a new vision.
Becoming the University of Central Missouri begins another new era. Plans include expanding the university's service area to national and international markets, implementing new graduate and pre-professional programs, and creating an institutional culture of greater diversity and inclusiveness. The new name also provides the opportunity to build upon the university's statewide mission in professional applied sciences and technology, which became effective in 1998.
Each of Central Missouri's four previous names has reflected a new direction for the institution. When founded in 1871, CMSU was named the State Normal School for the Second Normal District of Missouri, producing teachers for the public schools of post-Civil War Missouri. In 1919, the school became Central Missouri State Teachers College symbolizing its accreditation as a four-year teachers' college. In 1945, the General Assembly enacted legislation allowing statutorily created teachers' colleges to eliminate "teachers" from their names, and the institution became Central Missouri State College. The name, Central Missouri State University, was adopted in 1972 to reflect a broader vision of becoming a university.
"Changing our name to the University of Central Missouri reflects the way we want to be positioned in the state and beyond. But we need to remember, no matter what our name is, it's what we do that's most important," Podolefsky said.
To ensure an orderly implementation, the president has appointed a Name Change Transition Team. The group will closely monitor expenses to make sure that any purchases outside of normal operations are funded through private sources. Per the legislation, the university will not use state appropriations or student tuition monies to fund the unique expenses associated with the name change. They also are working through details of the university's web site and URL, diplomas for current students and alumni, and alterations, if any, to such traditions as fight songs and the alma mater. The name change transformation will be completed by August 2007.
"At this point in our history, we are at a confluence of opportunity," said Podolefsky. He became university president in July 2005 and this fall finished hiring three of four vice presidents. "Our Strategic Planning and Resource Council is undertaking a new effort to create a short, focused transformational plan to support our new vision. This is an exciting time and we are looking forward to making the University of Central Missouri an institution of distinction."