Union ‘U’? College to add university to name: First college in the mountains looks to rebrand with eye on broader appeal

by Press Release

Last week, the Union College Board of Trustees approved a resolution to update Union’s official name to more accurately describe the variety of educational opportunities the school now offers.

“In recognition of Union’s status as a level IV graduate degree granting institution, and with the increase in graduate programs and enrollment over the past ten years, Union’s Board has voted to incorporate the word ‘University’ into the official name of our 144-year-old institution,” says board chair, Don Jones ’79.

The board will seek input from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community in choosing the new name, which will be proposed for board approval no later than the spring 2024 meeting.

“We are excited about the expansive offerings within our graduate programs and our status as not only a regional institution, but a university with a global reach,” Jones says.

Union has dramatically expanded graduate and online programming. In addition, a new program for graduate international students, launched in 2021, has seen remarkable growth.

With a broader recruitment base to consider, including the word “university” becomes more important. In the U.S., the word “college” typically refers to a school that offers an undergraduate education only, and in many other countries, the word refers to an extension of high school or vocational schools.

Adding the word “university” to Union’s official name is expected to better represent Union’s full identity and thus appeal to a wider range of students.

“We are by definition already a university,” says Union president, Dr. Marcia Hawkins. “Union will embrace its identity as such by proudly proclaiming its university status.”

While Union’s offerings have grown since its founding in 1879, its mission and its essential identity remain.

“We are embracing the future but will never forget our legacy,” says Jones. “We commit that the word Union will remain, that we will always be orange and black, and that we will forever be bulldogs.”

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