Mississippi News

Mississippi University of Women to change school name

Mississippi University for Women announced its new proposed name as Mississippi Brightwell University, which is expected to be approved by the state Legislature.

The announcement was made this morning in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Spring Convocation and comes after a 15-month-long process and multiple constituent conversations.

“The rebrand is intended to better mirror the University’s current vision, mission and the dynamic times we are living in, providing a more apt representation of our diverse and vibrant student body,” said President Nora Miller.

Founded on the principles of innovation and equality, Mississippi Brightwell University represents the visionaries who dared to illuminate the possibilities derived from equitable education. Miller said, “We continue to unlock opportunities for inclusivity and prosperity.”

The rebrand, which won’t be official until July 1, 2024, communicates the university’s values as a first-choice university and is in competition for top students, funding and opportunities for outreach and research.

The new name was inspired by the university’s motto: “We study for light to bless with light,” Miller said. “Our motto epitomizes the enduring essence of a supportive, inclusive and empowered community. Our distinguished faculty – beacons of enlightenment and a wellspring of knowledge – collaborate with each of our students one-on-one.”

Miller explained, throughout the naming process, the themes of “empowerment” and “enlightenment” were constants, pointing to the university’s honorary societies Torch and Lantern, that also reflect the theme. 

MBU logo

She also highlighted the nursing pinning ceremony where graduates light their lanterns representing nursing care as a source of reliability, goodwill and warmth.  

“Our largest degree programs are in the Bill and Jo-Ann Vandergriff College of Nursing and Health Sciences. We promote physical and mental wellness. Light and wellness are in our DNA.”

With the recent announcement of the university’s proposed Women’s College, “We will continue to celebrate our history as the first state-supported college for women and our continued mission of providing educational and leadership opportunities for women,” Miller added.

The Women’s College is expected to be approved in February by the Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL), the governing body responsible for policy and financial oversight of Mississippi’s eight public institutions of higher learning.

Miller reiterated since the inception of this journey, which started summer 2022, transparency, inclusiveness and consensus have served as the guiding principles.

“We have been steadfast in sharing information and soliciting input from all stakeholders—leadership, alumni, students, faculty, staff and the broader community,” said Miller. “The collective wisdom and diverse perspectives have been invaluable, enriching the rebranding process and ensuring the revised brand resonates with every segment of our university family.”

The university will begin to prepare for this transition and will officially assume the new name effective the first of July.

For more information about the proposed name and naming process, please visit: https://www.muw.edu/name/.

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