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Released November 19, 2002
Limbert to address MUW name change in the spring
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- In spring 2003, Mississippi University for Women President Claudia Limbert plans to make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning either to keep or to change the university's name.
Limbert will not recommend a change to the women's emphasis mission of the university. "I fully support the women's emphasis mission of The W. I want to fulfill our mission in ways that will serve women today," she said.
In a recent email to faculty, staff, students and alumni, Dr. Limbert stated that in the upcoming months she would be visiting with alumni, business and industry leaders, political leaders, education officials and the media.
"I am taking my on-campus Open Door sessions on the road and extending them to what I am calling a `Statewide Conversation' about The W," she said. "My goals are to find out how MUW can help Mississippi and how we can better communicate who we are and what we do at MUW." Limbert anticipates hearing from people about the university's name.
"I am certain our name will be a part of the statewide conversation as it has been ever since my very first interview for the presidency of The W. This is an important issue that needs to be addressed."
The institution has had two name changes in the past. Initially founded as Industrial Institute & College in 1884 as the first public college for women America, the Legislature changed the name to Mississippi State College for Women in 1920. The current name has been in existence since 1974. Men have been admitted to The W since 1982.
Limbert is not counting just on the statewide conversation to hear from people. She has set up an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, "so that anyone can email me his or her opinion about the name of the university."
In expressing support for the women's emphasis mission of The W, Limbert noted that the university's "role has evolved over time."
"Initially, we served women when they were essentially excluded from other colleges. Later, women were admitted to other colleges but denied a fair opportunity to prove themselves," Limbert's message stated. "Our alums helped break down barriers during this time and demonstrated that women could not only compete but succeed. Now, women are attending college in greater numbers than men, making better grades than men and attending prestigious graduate and professional schools. Our mission is timeless. Our duty is to make it timely."
The university's name may be addressed in a report from the consultant hired by The W to conduct a marketing study. That report will be submitted to the university in mid-December. The study's purpose is "to measure the awareness, perceptions and interests of students--and a smaller number of parents of students--who have considered attending MUW or to whom MUW might direct future recruiting efforts."
The timeline for concluding the study includes a meeting in early December between the consultant and the MUW Campus Client Committee, which has served as a sounding board for the consultant, followed by the final report and recommendations in mid-December.
Early next year, the consultant will meet with faculty, staff and students to review the findings and recommendations. A similar review will be held at a joint MUW Alumni and MUW Foundation Board meeting in early February.
Limbert said the decision regarding the name of the university would be addressed in a deliberative manner with input from all constituencies.
"Although I fully understand that not everyone will agree with every decision I make, please know that every decision I have made or will make is based on what I believe is in the best interests of The W."
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