Wise signs on as Shepherd celebrates its name change

August 28, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Gov. Bob Wise officially dedicated Shepherd College's name change to Shepherd University in a brief ceremony Friday morning, more than seven months after he signed the bill authorizing the change.

The school has been using its new name since March 13.

Wise, who leaves office at the end of the year, told Shepherd President David L. Dunlop that the school's signs will have to be changed, even those carved in granite.

He presented a green highway department sign that read "Shepherd University" to Dunlop.

Wise said he has been on the Shepherd campus many times in the past - at meetings, as a student and as a teacher - but this is his first visit under the new name.


"This is a milestone for Shepherd and another indication of the change in the quality of higher education in the state," he said.

Shepherd officials began working on changing the school's name last year. The trend in higher education is that schools that refer to themselves as colleges tend to be those that offer two year-degrees, a concern to Shepherd officials who did not want prospective students to pass up Shepherd thinking it is a two-year school.

Shepherd is a four-year school that currently offers several master's degree programs with more on the way, Dunlop said.

Wise also pushed his PROMISE scholarship program, now in its third year. The program pays tuition and fees at any college or university in West Virginia for any high school graduate who maintains a B average for four years and has a 21 on the ACT.

Once in college, students have to maintain a B average to stay in the program.

Wise said 4,000 freshman are entering state schools this year as PROMISE scholarship students. More than 10,000 students across the state have taken advantage of the PROMISE program since it was enacted.

"We started the first year with $15 million," Wise said. "This year, we're up to $60 million."

About 40 people attended the official renaming ceremony Friday at Shepherd's Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies.

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