Mississippi University for Women puts pause on name change
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – WCBI News learned that Mississippi University for Women may have hit the pause button on the university name change.
President Nora Miller announced the proposed change Monday at the Spring Convocation on the campus of MUW. After months of surveys and focus groups, the new name was revealed as Mississippi Brightwell University.
There was immediate debate online and in communities with strong ties to the W.
The newly proposed name change dropped “women” from the title and eliminated the “W” as the nickname.
Pushback against the new name was swift and came from multiple generations of alumni.
Some alums were against any name change. Others just did not understand the connection that the proposed name might have to the historic university.
MUW started admitting men in 1982. University leaders believed a name change would better reflect the student body and hopefully help boost enrollment.
To change the name of the university, a lawmaker would have to present a bill in the state legislature. That bill would then have to be approved by lawmakers and signed into law.
The Columbus area delegation seemed willing to help change the name but wanted more options.
“I think it will be incumbent on the staff, the president, to take a pause, pivot, and really assess if this is really what the name is to be, Brightwell University. I think it might be time for us to change the name. And I am in support of a name change. I just think Brightwell, with all the debate and robust conversation, might not be the name at this particular time,” said Representative Kabir Karriem, (D) District 41.
Miller sent the following statement in an email:
“Dear Fellow W Alumni:
As we undertake this meaningful journey together, I want to acknowledge that I am aware of the discourse surrounding our institution’s new proposed name. I want you to know that we remain fully committed to a name change that aligns with our mission and diverse community and that also reflects our historical legacy of empowerment while evolving to provide a comprehensive and inclusive learning experience for everyone.
As we navigate this significant transition, I am actively reviewing all feedback. I value your insights and experiences in this process. Our commitment to rebranding is unwavering, as we recognize the importance of a name that encapsulates our dedication to inclusivity and excellence in serving future populations. This change is a step toward ensuring that our identity as an institution is in harmony with our values and the diverse community we serve. I appreciate your patience and support.
Nora R. Miller
Class of 1983”