E-mail letters, May 13, 2011

New era at CMU will build on Mesa State legacy

Over the last eight years, Mesa State College has grown from a student population of 5,000 to nearing 10,000, with annual enrolment percentages in the double digits! Mesa State has gone from competing against state colleges within Colorado for students to now attracting students who otherwise would
be attending major public institutions like the University of Colorado, the University of California and the University of Texas.

The local economy greatly depends on the fresh influx of dollars that students from outside the Western Slope bring to the Grand Valley. The future of Mesa’s success will depend on more students from out-of-state and overseas subsidizing through tuition to make up for the cuts to higher education from the Legislature. A strategic name change is one step toward mitigating future negative impacts on the success of recent years.

Like many stakeholders with vested interests in the continued future success of Mesa State College, I was surprised in the name selected. It seemed the top four choices (none of which were adopted by the Board of Trustees) from the stakeholder surveys would have been more natural.
The tripartite test established by the college merited only one logical choice — Colorado Mesa University. My first impression was that the new name sounded weird. It seems a lauded educational institution should stand on its own merit without the crutch of a 135-year-old state name tacked onto the front.

It’s too bad Mesa didn’t have a name like Harvard, as then the only change could have been replacing the word “college” for “university.” Though, “Massachusetts Harvard University” would have merited similar thoughts as expressed above.

The brand name of “Colorado” is very powerful and, as Gov. John Hickenlooper signs the legislative approved “Colorado Mesa University” into law, a new era will begin. As expressed by The Daily Sentinel’s editorial, it’s time to get use to CMU (not Carnegie Mellon University).
Confusion is sure to abound in the ensuing three to five years, as entity names such as “Colorado MESA” (Mathematics, Engineering, Science and Achievement) is distinguished from “Colorado Mesa” and recruiters explain CMU is the new MSC. One confusing point is certainly eliminated;
future students will no longer mistake our “Mesa” with Arizona’s or California’s Mesa colleges.

As the dawning of the new future is here, Colorado Mesa University will be standing on the shoulders of a great educational legacy (gigantium humeris insidentes). A legacy I am proud to have been a part of, having served two terms as a student representative on the college’s Board of Trustees.
Matt Soper
Edinburgh, Scotland


Colorado National Monument
paved way for trio of NCAs

Almost a century ago, on May 24, 1911, President William Howard Taft established the Colorado National Monument under the Antiquities Act. With this bold act of leadership, President Taft set the Grand Valley on a century-long course of conservation that defines our way of life, breathes
economic growth into our communities and engages citizen conservationists from all walks of life.

In the 1930’s, Civilian Conservation Corps workers brought the Rim Rock Drive to life, an economic development project that to this day brings cyclists from around the world to bike in our monument, stay in our hotels and eat in our restaurants.

The good folks at the Colorado National Monument Association provide fantastic community support for scientific research and innovative educational programs that serve hundreds of kids each year. Monument staff estimate that more than 160,000 people hike the monument’s trails each
year.

At Colorado Canyons Association, we salute the monument’s birthday because it helped blaze a trail of success for the three national conservation areas that our organization stewards. McInnis Canyons NCA, Gunnison Gorge NCA and Dominguez-Escalante NCA are all examples of citizen-led conservation in our region that were made possible because of the success and popularity of the Colorado National Monument.

Grand Valley’s growth in the last century has gone hand-in-hand with this conservation legacy. We salute our friends at Colorado National Monument and look forward to another century of conservation that continues to make the Grand Valley such a wonderful place to live, work and play.
Joe Neuhof
Executive Director
Colorado Canyons Association
Grand Junction


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