Mesa State name change garners support

Administrators say there’s strong support among students, faculty, staff and alumni for changing the name of Mesa State College. The question is, to what?

The latest survey lists 20 potential new names, ranging from Colorado Canyonlands University to Western Rockies University. All of the names include university, though, a change believed to add more credibility and more accurately reflect an institution that offers graduate degree programs. The survey is available online at or by calling 248-1525 to request a copy.

An initial survey about the name change was conducted from March 8 to 25 and elicited more than 2,600 responses. Survey results, along with group meetings and a telephone town hall, reflect support for a change, said Mesa State President Tim Foster. “The overwhelming majority of our stakeholders believe the time is right for us to change our name in order to better communicate who we are, what we do and where we’re located.”

Research has shown that Mesa State College enjoys widespread name recognition in Western Colorado, but fewer potential students from outside the Western Slope and fewer still from other states know where the college is located.

Mesa State has stepped up efforts to bring in more out-of-state students, and the higher tuition they pay, in part to compensate for dwindling state funding.

The first survey conducted in March asked students, faculty, staff and alumni whether they strongly agreed, agreed, disagreed or strongly disagreed with 16 statements. The statements included “Mesa State College should consider a name change” and “The word ‘university’ has more prestige than the word ‘college.’”

Nearly 81 percent of those who responded to the survey agreed Mesa State should consider a name change. More than 92 percent of respondents said university has more prestige than college. At the same time, almost 95 percent of respondents said a university can remain committed to teaching and more than 77 percent said a university still can offer small class sizes.

One thing that won’t likely change is the athletic mascot at Mesa State. Nearly 91 percent of respondents want to keep the Mavericks.