PINEVILLE, La. (LC News) – Louisiana College President Rick Brewer recently received unanimous approval from the board of trustees, upon a unanimous recommendation of its executive committee, to update the name of the institution to Louisiana Christian University to fit its elevated status.
“It was wholeheartedly and unanimously supported,” Brewer said. “This is in keeping with our mission of being Christ-centered. It’s a logical move. We are not throwing away our past. We are recognizing this school has always been Christian.”
He told the Baptist Message the official announcement will be made during the 2021 Louisiana Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, Nov. 16, to be held in the North Monroe Baptist Church, Monroe, but that the university was issuing a press release now to encourage alumni and Wildcat supporters to be part of the celebration next month.
The name “Louisiana Christian University” has been reserved with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office, he said, noting that the names “Louisiana University” and “Louisiana Baptist University” already were in use.
Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Director Steve Horn lauded LC’s climb to university status and said the elevation reflects well on the school and said the name change is a fit with its identity.
“To put it in another way, LCU is a Louisiana school, which is unapologetically Christian, whose expanded academic offerings raise it to a university level,” Horn said.
Brewer said today’s students want to attend a university and often associate “college” with a community or technical college. The “definition” of a university is an institution of higher learning that has several colleges and graduate programs.
LC is classified as a master’s degree, or Level III, conferring institution by its accrediting body (the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges). Current student enrollment is around 1,250 students.
The school announced in late October that it would launch its fifth graduate program (it already offers the Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Education, Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Social Work, as well as dozens of bachelor degree programs). The Master of Business Administration will be offered in the Ray and Dorothy Young School of Business with a projected fall 2022 start date.
Brewer also said the school’s Vision 2025 Strategic Plan includes the goal to implement the institution’s first doctoral program, a doctorate in education. Adding that program will qualify LCU to apply for accreditation as a Level V degree conferring university.
LC Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Cheryl Clark said the move from a college to a university more accurately reflects what the institution stands for today.
“It reflects who we are, affirms our strategic plan, and positions us for long-term success,” Clark said. “Being a university speaks of the breadth and depth of learning already happening for both our undergraduate and graduate students, aligns our name with our comprehensive academic offerings in both liberal arts and applied sciences, including our expansion to master’s programs, and enables us to attract and recruit more students.
“The move to university will increase our prominence and marketability nationally and internationally,” Clark added. “Because university status is more widely understood by international, graduate, and non-traditional students, we will expand our recruitment opportunities. Ultimately, we think that university status will strengthen our reputation and open new doors for us to connect more people with our Christian educational mission, our commitment to academic excellence, our dedication to outstanding teaching and student learning, and our focus on preparing students for lives of learning, leading and serving.”
Board members and alumni said they are encouraged by the proposed name change.
“I have a different perspective on LC’s name change than most of my Wildcat friends,” said Joanne Hamby, a former resident of the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home and a member of the class of 1969. “I am grateful Louisiana Baptists were there for me 60 plus years ago. I also realize entities must change to be relevant in today’s world. I love the proposed name change of the place that I hold dear to my heart.”
Board member Anthony Bunting, a member of the class of 1987, emphasized LC will be branded as a Christian university.
“Although LC is known as a Christian-based college, it will provide an opportunity to emphasize and promote it to the world as a university soundly built upon biblical principles and those principals are shared with students — something they don’t get at other universities,” he said.
Dennis Phelps, director of church, minister and alumni relations for the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home and a member of the class of 1977, said this will position the institution for an even greater future.
“A name change cannot alter the heritage, values, or memories of Louisiana College,” Phelps said. “Louisiana Christian University retains the geographical identity (‘Louisiana’), boldly and clearly declares the unique mission assigned by our LBC congregations (‘Christian’) and confirms our academic credentialing and increased offerings of genuine liberal arts graduate degrees (‘University’). We look back as alumni with profound gratitude for being part of Louisiana College’s heritage. We look forward with anticipation to the deepened academic future of Louisiana Christian University for our children and grandchildren. Her future is in front of us. And we are ready.”
Mark Klein, promotions manager for KSLA-TV in Shreveport and a member of the class of 2015, echoed Hamby’s excitement.
“The name LCU shows me that the school’s leadership is willing to think big, while still holding true to their mission of being an institution that’s unashamed of the Gospel,” Klein said.
Based on a press release issued by Elizabeth Clarke of LC News.