Mississippi university hits pause button on name change plan

Published 9:24 pm Wednesday, February 21, 2024

A Mississippi university community that has been discussing a name change has hit the pause button just days after the second new name was announced.

The Mississippi University for Women, known affectionately as “The W” by alum and supports, has been the center of debate for a more inclusive name change to reflect the full student body. One Feb. 13, leadership announced the new name to be Wynbridge State University of Mississippi, pending state approval.

President Nora R. Miller released the following letter Wednesday:

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Dear University Family:

The process of change is always a difficult one, and that has never been truer than that of identifying a name for our beloved W that allows us to maintain our iconic brand while finding a formal name that indicates we welcome all students.  In order give our entire community time to regroup and consider all perspectives, we will take a strategic pause at this time as we continue to work toward a future name change.

As an alumna who is committed to a name change, I acknowledge the challenges, the missteps, the frustrations, and the uncertainties this process has generated. I want to thank the members of the Naming Task Force who worked so hard over many months, our IHL Board for their support, our university community, our legislative delegation and legislative leadership for their support and guidance, our donors and alumni who offered support, and the many friends of The W.  We appreciate all who engaged in our efforts.

I also acknowledge that we have heard and listened to alumni whose passionate love for the university urged a pause in the process and the need to expand communication channels and broader involvement of the alumni family as we move ahead. We also appreciate their concerns.

While we remain committed to a future name change, we will regroup and re-examine our processes, ways of engaging our alumni base, and the many needs surrounding finding a name that captures the unique history as well as the contemporary qualities of our university.

Please know that we will always be The W. It is our past, our present, and our future.

With all good wishes,

Nora R. Miller
Class of 1983