College name change now official

It’s official: Come August, Mesa State College becomes Colorado Mesa University.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law legislation granting Mesa State College university status and changing its name to Colorado Mesa University effective Aug. 10.

“This is the moment when the transition happens,” Hickenlooper said at a signing ceremony at the College Center. “It is up to our imagination as to what Mesa State becomes.”

Tim Foster, president of what soon will become CMU, called the name change an historical event. “We are here because of those who walked before us.”

Foster said the change not only will help communicate a geographic location and brand identify that will help attract more out-of-state students, but also better reflects an institution that has grown in enrollment, academic programs and facilities.

Nick Lopez, former president of the associated student government, said he was proud to have been part of the effort. “To be right there from the very beginning, serving on the steering committee and holding many meetings to gather student input, to meet with state legislators, all of it has been the experience of a lifetime that I will cherish and never forget,” Lopez said.

An April vote by trustees to change the name followed years of discussion about seeking university status for Mesa State. The change also followed a more recent process to gather comments from students, faculty and staff as well as alumni and others. That process included 30 focus groups, a telephone town hall meeting and two surveys.

More than 60 potential names were suggested and the list subsequently was reduced to 20 and then eight. The final eight names included various combinations of such geographic descriptions as Colorado or Western Colorado as well as the name Mesa and university.

Rick Taggart, executive director of marketing and recruitment, expects a logo for Colorado Mesa University to be developed by mid-July. New marketing materials should be ready by fall, in time to start recruiting freshman for the 2012 fall semester, he said. Colorado Mesa University will be incorporated into internal materials, signs and athletic uniforms over time, Taggart said.

About $400,000 has been budgeted for the transition, but that money will not come from state funding, tuition or student fees, he said.