Why are we considering "university" status? An open letter from President G. Blair Dowden

To Constituents and Stakeholders of Huntington College:

In November 2003, I convened the University Status Task Force to review the feasibility of university status for Huntington College, as authorized by the Board of Trustees.

As our Lord leads, we want to position Huntington for the 21st Century to maintain its status as a leading institution preparing students to impact the world for Christ. We have experienced a decade of growing enrollments and increasing recognition of Huntington’s strong academic programs (reflected by US News ranking us consistently among the top Midwestern regional colleges and universities). Huntington continues to expand its academic programs in graduate and non-traditional education as well as its traditional emphasis on the liberal arts.

For some students and donors, an institution identified as a ‘university’ connotes a stronger and more robust academic learning environment than a ‘college.’ A recent survey of Indiana students who have inquired about Huntington College revealed that the majority would not select an institution based on whether it was a university or a college. However, for those who indicated a preference, ‘university’ was the clear choice.

A number of Huntington’s strongest competitors have moved to university status. It is a trend reflected in our region: North Central Association’s data document that 83 colleges in the region have changed to university status since 1980.

Still, some would prefer remaining a ‘college.’ For them, the connotations of ‘college’ outweigh the perceptions associated with ‘university.’ No doubt, some traditional highly regarded colleges will continue to be known as a ‘college.”

The question for Huntington is whether we should be identified as a ‘university’ in order to more effectively accomplish our Kingdom mission. The University Status Task Force welcomes your perspectives and comments. A recommendation will be presented to the Board of Trustees in October 2004.

Thank you for your partnership in the work of Huntington College. Please know that whether we are called ‘college’ or ‘university,’ our mission is unchanged. We are unwaveringly committed to providing a high quality, Christ-centered education in order to impact the world for Christ.


G. Blair Dowden

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Huntington College is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 60 academic concentrations. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in Huntington, Indiana. The College is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).


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