What is the new name of Northwestern College?

University-bound. (Northwestern College via Vimeo)
University-bound. (Northwestern College via Vimeo)

Northwestern College, a private Christian college in St. Paul -- and whose students try to walk on water -- announced today that it's changing its name to University of Northwestern – St. Paul.

It has apparently been operating as a university and offering some master's degrees for a few years, and sees the change that will, among other things, help it recruit internationally.

Tomorrow morning at 11:30, its president will hold an hour-long Twitter chat about it all under the hashtag #AskPrezCure.

Here's the official announcement:

Northwestern College to Become University of Northwestern – St. Paul

New bachelor’s program in nursing also launching this month

Northwestern College will change its name to University of Northwestern – St. Paul to reflect the broad diversity of its educational offerings and the high rigor of its academic programs. The new name for the century-old institution will be announced today and will become official on July 1.

“We have been functioning as a university for several years, as we’ve expanded the breadth of our undergraduate and graduate programs, and extended our reach internationally,” said Dr. Alan Cureton, president of Northwestern College. “We needed a new name that accurately represents the broad-based university experience we offer students, as well as the strength of our academics.”

Proof of Northwestern’s significant educational programs is its steady stream of Fulbright Scholars – 10 in the last 10 years – and distinctive undergraduate research projects, providing national and international learning opportunities for students.

The name change also will help Northwestern continue to attract students with diverse backgrounds and educational goals. Northwestern already offers 70 undergraduate and five graduate programs. Also, thousands of high school students have earned college credit through Northwestern’s post-secondary enrollment program – the largest among private institutions in Minnesota.

“The timing is right to take on the title of university,” Cureton said, “especially as we’re launching our new bachelor’s program in nursing this month, and laying the groundwork to offer a master’s in business administration and other master’s programs.”

International Initiatives

“University” status is also important to support Northwestern’s global initiatives, which include expanding relationships with Daystar University in Kenya and Karunya University in India, as well as our historical partnership with a program in Ecuador.

“In many places around the world, the term ‘college’ actually means high school,” Cureton explained. “So ‘university’ in our title translates into greater credibility on the international front. It also opens more doors for our students going abroad, and elevates our profile as a destination for foreign students and faculty.”

Northwestern chose the new name following a process that began in March 2011, when Cureton created the “Presidential Commission on University Status.” The group – composed of representatives from faculty, senior administration and alumni – gathered input from constituents and commissioned research on reactions to a variety of possible new names.

“The overwhelming majority of current and former students identify with the Northwestern name,” Cureton said. “To avoid confusion with other universities that have Northwestern in their names, we added our location – St. Paul. The name also works well because the city of St. Paul has an excellent reputation in educational circles.”

Rooted in Tradition

Northwestern’s forward-looking approach differs from that of many traditional institutions. “Our new strategic plan for the university responds to the needs of the 21st century learner, offering cost-efficient, creative pathways,” Cureton said. “By providing traditional, online, and hybrid courses and programs, we offer flexible and varied learning opportunities for an expanding student body.”

Faith-based curriculum remains the foundation of Northwestern’s education. “We are committed to equipping Christ-centered learners and leaders to invest in others and impact the world,” he said. “This makes Northwestern an attractive option to students who value both faith and reason.”

Tweet Chat with President Cureton – 11:30 a.m., May 9

Northwestern will host a live tweet chat with Cureton (@prezcure) to discuss the institution’s new university status change and its impact on the community. The tweet chat will be conducted at 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., CDT, on May 9. The tweet chat will be held live on Twitter, www.twitter.com and can be followed using the hashtag #AskPrezCure.

About Northwestern College

Founded in 1902, Northwestern is a private Christian college offering more than 70 areas of undergraduate study and five master’s degrees, as well as online learning and certificate programs. More than 3,200 students representing 34 states and 11 countries are enrolled in Northwestern’s traditional undergraduate, graduate, adult degree, and online programs. Northwestern Media, a ministry of Northwestern, operates 15 listener-supported Christian radio stations throughout the Midwest. 

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