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HJC wants to drop 'Junior'

January 22, 1998

HJC wants to drop 'Junior'

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

Hagerstown Junior College officials are considering changing the school's name to eliminate the word "junior."

The junior designation can be "somewhat demeaning," HJC Board of Trustees President Wayne Alter Jr. said Tuesday during a meeting with the Washington County Commissioners.

Names being considered are Hagerstown Community College or Hagerstown College.

Alter said similar colleges in the state already have eliminated junior from their names.

Alter asked the Washington County Commissioners if they would object to a name change. The commissioners said they would support a change as long as Hagerstown remained part of the name.

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HJC President Norman Shea said any name change would require approval by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

Shea said he's heard the commission would frown on the name Hagerstown College because it might imply that the college is something that it's not.

"Junior college to me has a pejorative connotation - junior less than senior," Shea said.

Shea said junior colleges were historically two-year colleges attended by students who later would transfer to four-year colleges, such as the University of Maryland.

Shea said the college has developed into a full-service community college with continuing education, technology centers and noncredit skills courses, and said the name should reflect that growth.

Shea said the name change would result in some costs, such as for changing letterhead and signs, and said those costs haven't been determined.

"We would need to investigate that," he said.

Most students and teachers interviewed on campus Wednesday supported a change.

"Let's move into the 21st century," said Marlys Palmer, professor of health and physical education. Palmer said she'd like to see the name changed to Hagerstown College.

"It's like a junior-sized hamburger, nobody wants that. We want jumbo," she said.

Student Sarah Druck, 21, of Hagerstown, said she'd like to see the name changed to Hagerstown College. But Druck said the change shouldn't only be skin deep.

"I think it should be a four-year college," she said.

"It might get a lot more money in state funds that way too."

"I like Hagerstown Community College," said part-time instructor Dawn Nally of Boonsboro. Nally said she went to Catonsville Community College and Essex Community College and is used to the name.

"I never understood why it was called Hagerstown Junior College," she said.

Audri Nalley, 26, of Hagerstown, said she favored Hagerstown Community College over Hagerstown College.

"You don't want to get too big. You still want to say you're for the community."

A few said they preferred that HJC remain HJC.

"I don't think they should change it. It's their original name," said student Nancy Saxton, 22, of Cascade.

Saxton also said it would cost a lot of money to change the name - money that could be spent on students.

"It's a waste of money and a waste of paper," she said.

Some didn't have an opinion.

"I don't really care what happens, man," said student Nicholas Barnhart, 18, of Hagerstown.

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