Meridian Star

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August 11, 2008

MUW name change doesn’t sit well with some locals

What's in a name?

History, tradition and lots of fond memories according to some area residents who attended Mississippi University for Women.

On Monday, MUW President Claudia Limbert formed a committee to recommend a new name for the university that reflects the campus' coed population. Early reaction by local alumnae has not been favorable.

"Oh, no!" said Dorothy Thompson, of Causeyville, a 1965 graduate of The W, upon learning about a possible name change for the Columbus university.

Acknowledging her pride at being an alum of "The W," as the university is affectionately known, Thompson likened response to changing the school's name to what happened when a popular soft drink changed its formula.

"It's like Coca-Cola changing the recipe; why mess with something that works?" she said. Limbert made the announcement in a speech to faculty and staff in Columbus, saying the change is needed for the university to continue to grow, compete and remain relevant.

‘‘Our name no longer represents who we are,’’ Limbert said in her speech. ‘‘It is not right for the men on our campus to leave here with a diploma that they are embarrassed to display on a wall because of the name, Mississippi University for Women, even though they are proud of their education.’’

But Thompson, who said men attended MUW when she was a student there, doesn't agree.

"I don't see any reason why it would bother men, they've been doing it for years. It's a respected school, so what's the difference in the name? Do they think that will bother men that they graduated or went to a college that says 'women' in it?" she said.

"To me, it is the oldest state-supported women's college in the nation; it's a tradition," Thompson said. " What's the big deal? Everybody's not supposed to be worried about 'men,' 'women,' whatever. So why not just leave the name as it is?"

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