Western Nevada Community College will lose "Community" in a name change approved by the Nevada university system's Board of Regents on Friday.
The school will become simply Western Nevada College and its southern counterpart will become College of Southern Nevada. But Regent Steve Sisolak emphasized in his motion to grant the request that the mission of the schools will not change.
That move was designed to appease opponents who argued to the board that, in too many other schools around the country, similar name changes have been the first big step in moving toward becoming a four-year institution and eliminating community interest, vocational and associate degree programs.
The driving force behind the change was student requests at the two campuses. Student Body President Presley Conkle of the Las Vegas school told the board the word community is an issue to those taking four-year bachelor's degree programs. Chancellor Jim Rogers said he agrees the description community college has gained a negative connotation much as junior college did some years ago. Rogers said if the students want the change, he supports it.
Conkle said his student body "overwhelmingly supports" the change.
The change becomes official July 1.
WNCC filed its request after it was approved to offer a Bachelor of Technology degree in construction management. Campus President Carol Lucey said Great Basin College also dropped the word community from its name a decade ago after beginning to offer selected four-year degrees.
She said the two-year programs and other community interest offerings will not be dropped when the school becomes WNC because they serve the needs of the Carson and Fallon areas.
"Community colleges are generally perceived as educational institutions that grant only certificates and associate's degrees," said Lucey. "As community colleges around the country have begun to offer select bachelor's degrees as well, many are changing their names to avoid confusion for degree-holders as they enter the work force."
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.