Mississippi University for Women is excited to announce a partnership with alumna Laura Prestwich, class of 2008, as it enters its next phase of the renaming process that began 18 months ago.


As the university has narrowed the possible selections to three names, Wynbridge, Welbright and Wynbright, Prestwich alongside the Office of University Relations and university leadership continue to utilize its existing registered trademark “The W” with the new proposed name. This pivot to utilize “The W” as part of a renaming and brand strategy was in response to alum feedback.

President Nora Miller said, “We initially believed we could not rename with a ‘W’ name without diminishing the significance women have played in our history—alumni like Laura helped us realize that it is with our continued use of ‘The W’ that we can visualize our connection to our history and continued future with advancing women.”

Prestwich brings more than a decade of experience in brand development and naming strategy development. Prior to her role as a consultant, she served as the chief operating officer and account manager for Fuze Branding, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based, full-service creative agency with clients among the top creative influencers to globally distributed brands. During her time with Fuze, she specialized in brand and product name development, working with clients in a variety of industries. Prestwich credits her communication degree from The W and skills learned while working for The Spectator with being some of the most valuable tools in her creative arsenal.

Prestwich is invested in her work with the university. “The W was the launchpad to my creative career, and the nurturing and mentoring I received here has made a tremendous impact on my life. I’m ecstatic to be able to collaborate with the university’s powerhouse creative team and leadership as we expand on our historic brand,” Prestwich added.

Naming Taskforce co-chair Amanda Clay Powers said, “I am grateful to Laura Prestwich for coming on board during this phase of developing a brand that reflects our values and who we are, a brand that will attract the kind of students who will thrive here.”

The university will continue fiscal responsibility, as it plans to continue to use “The W” branding as a primary mark. The university currently has budgeted approximately $500,000 for recruiting, advertising and marketing to prospective students. It is anticipated that the university will increase its budget in these respected areas in FY 2025, when the new name will go into effect. The university’s identity of providing a personal, affordable, and quality education is not changing. The W currently has the highest graduation rate per 100 full time equivalent students in the IHL system and the student-to-faculty ratio is 11:1. Also, W students graduate with the lowest amount of debt amongst all regional universities in the south.

The next step in the process is for the Naming Taskforce to provide President Miller with an analysis of the survey data and a report. President Miller will announce the name to the university by Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024.

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.