West Virginia will soon have another university.
That's because Alderson-Broaddus officials voted April 20 to change the name of the 142-year-old institution. The charter authorizing the change will be filed at the end of the fiscal year in the secretary of state office in Charleston to officially change the institution's name, effective July 1.
"This is a momentous day in the history of Alderson-Broaddus," said Ron Burbick, chairman of the Board of Trustees. "The past two years have been record breaking for our mountaintop college and our future is brighter than ever. AB is a substantively different, and stronger, institution that it was just five years ago. Changing to University will give Alderson Broaddus a name that reflects its character and status among schools of higher education."
The Board of Trustees decided that in line with the Strategic Plan launched in August 2011, and the aggressive enrollment growth the institution is currently experiencing, the name Alderson Broaddus University more accurately describes the scope of the institution's academic programs, including that of pre-professional programs, majors and its commitment to scholarship and graduate education.
"We continue to stay committed to our mission in providing a quality education based in the liberal arts," Burbick said. "The name change and growth of the institution will not affect these attributes that make AB unique. We are excited for this historic change and look forward to the prosperous future of Alderson Broaddus University."
Alderson Broaddus remains the core name, preserving the history of the institution. Alderson Broaddus University began as two separate institutions (Broaddus College and Alderson Academy and Junior College) that merged in 1932. Each of the institutions passed on a rich Christian heritage.
The older of the two, Broaddus College, was founded in Winchester, Va., in 1871 by Edward Jefferson Willis, who named the new college after Rev. William Francis Ferguson Broaddus, a prominent Baptist minister at the time of the Civil War. The college was moved to the small town of Philippi, W.Va., in 1909.
The other institution, Alderson Academy and Junior College, was founded in Alderson, W.Va., in 1901 by Emma Alderson, a committed Baptist laywoman. Financial hardship in the late 1920s led to the decision to merge the two colleges, both of which shared a common identity as Baptist and liberal arts institutions.
Since its founding, Alderson Broaddus University has been committed to a strong liberal arts education. As such, the university will continue to imbue students with an appreciation of literature and the arts, Christian faith, music and the sciences.
Changing the status and name of Alderson Broaddus to university has been discussed for some time. In the summer of 2012, a task force was created to study the university name change. In October 2012, at the annual fall Board of Trustees meeting, the task force, headed by trustees and governors of A-B, gave a report and made a recommendation. It is with this recommendation that the Board decided to move forward with the name change.