Mesa State surveys alumni about name change

Mesa State College alumni, students and employees have through March 25 to fill out an online survey gauging their interest in changing the college’s name.

The 16-question survey, which also is available on paper by request, can be found on the college’s website at The college mailed more than 22,000 postcards last week to alumni, informing them of the survey. It sent another 2,000 e-mails to any alumni who had supplied the college with an e-mail address.

Faculty, staff and students received an e-mail about the survey as well.

Participants are asked to mark how strongly they agree or disagree with statements such as: “The word ‘university’ has more prestige than ‘college,‘and ‘Colorado’ in a school’s name improves its ability to recruit students.”

Mesa State trustees are expected to decide in the next few weeks whether to change the school’s name based on the survey results and information gathered from focus groups and a teleconference for alumni that will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The teleconference call will go out to alumni, who can listen to a presentation about the name-change issue, then participate in polling.

Rick Taggart, executive director of the college’s marketing and recruitment department, said the opinion of alumni is “way, way up there” in importance for informing the trustees’ decision, but all interested parties will have to show some level of support for a name change for the idea to move forward.

“If the consensus is to move forward, we’ll go back to alumni and ask them to rank names,” Taggart said.

If trustees decide to change the name, a second survey will ask people to select favorites from a list of potential names. Taggart estimated the survey would be posted online from April 11 to 20, so results could help trustees pick a new name before the end of the legislative session. The Legislature would have to approve the name for the trustees’ decision to carry.

Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, and Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver, plan to introduce a bill this spring that will ask legislators to approve new names for Mesa State and Metro State College. Metro State College’s board approved a new name last week, Denver State University, but will need legislative permission through the bill’s passage to make the change.


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