You can say it now: Colorado Mesa University

Name change, loftier status become official today

District 51 Superintendent Steve Schultz, foreground, looks at the variety of logos for the just-christened Colorado Mesa University at a reception Tuesday in the newly renovated Houston Hall at the university.

It’s time to work Colorado Mesa University into your vocabulary.

As of 12:01 a.m. today, it’s a faux pas to call the institution of higher learning at 12th Street and North Avenue Mesa State College.

Signs on three corners of the university’s campus already bear the new name. Other signs are being printed or made, including some for the newly renamed University Center, formerly the College Center.

The university’s website,, is scheduled to go live by 9 a.m. today with new graphics and smoother navigation. Anyone who tries to visit will automatically be redirected to for the next five or six months, until the old site ceases to exist. Emails sent to professors, staff or students at their old email addresses ending in will be redirected temporarily to new addresses.

New stationery and business cards will be printed within the next couple of weeks. A massive amount of new T-shirts and other gear are being ordered with the university’s new logo. A new advertising campaign, recruitment materials and class catalogues featuring the new logo will debut on or near Sept. 1.

The logo features two mesas outlined in the university’s signature shade of maroon at the foot of a river shaded in black. A variety of athletic logos will be attached to uniforms and ball caps with a slightly warmer shade of maroon, black and “athletic gold” coloring. The new athletic logos will appear on some winter sports uniforms and all spring sports uniforms, but fall athletes will stick to clothing with “Mesa” or the current Maverick logo printed on them, according to Colorado Mesa Executive Director of Marketing and Recruitment Rick Taggart.

Taggart said the school’s mascot, which will remain a maverick, is the only logo element left to get a make-over. That project should be complete within a month.

Western Colorado Community College has a new look as well. Like Colorado Mesa, the community college’s new logo has a river and two mountains. The difference is the mountains on the WCCC logo are pointier formations, and the logo has a blue backdrop.

“I love it,” WCCC Vice President Brigitte Sundermann said of the new look. “It shows we’re a division of Colorado Mesa University, but we still have our own identity.”

Colorado Mesa decided to change its name in part to attract out-of-state students to campus and to reflect the school’s growth in enrollment and graduate programs. Sundermann said the name change also will be positive for the community college.

“It’s more descriptive. A university is what Mesa really is. There might have been some confusion before” about the difference between the college and the community college, she said.

Colorado Mesa President Tim Foster said the school will remain the same in some ways as it changes its name. He still wants to have small class sizes and focus on the relationship between faculty and students. Even though he’s pondering the addition of a few graduate programs, Foster said any new master’s or doctorate programs will have to strengthen the undergraduate program they are associated with and will have to come at the suggestion of faculty and staff in a strong department.

“We can’t have 50 master’s and 20 doctorates and have graduate programs for graduate programs’ sake,” Foster said.

Foster predicts more students will come from outside Colorado to attend the university, but he doesn’t see the recent streak of annual double-digit enrollment growth as endless. Abundant on-campus construction also may subside eventually.

“At some point you know we’re going to level off on enrollment. Then we’ll evaluate where we’re going, what we have a need for and how to maintain the quality of what we’ve started,” Foster said.


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