University Proposes Name Change
SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury State University officials will formally request that its governing board, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, approve changing the name of the institution to "Salisbury University."
The name change recommendation will be submitted to the USM Board of Regents for its consideration at its August meeting. If approved by the Board of Regents, the recommendation would be forwarded to the Maryland General Assembly and Governor Glendening for their approval next spring and subsequent implementation into law effective July 1, 2001.
Campus officials said the recommendation to become "Salisbury University" was endorsed by a variety of constituent groups including the SSU Cabinet, Student Government Association, the Board of Visitors (an all alumni group), the SSU Foundation Executive Board, as well as many students, faculty and staff.
"Throughout its history, Salisbury State has had several names: normal school, teachers college, state college, state university," said Dr. Joel Jones, interim president at SSU.
"What hasn't changed," said Jones, "is our commitment to undergraduate teaching and learning. This commitment is gaining national recognition." U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger's and Princeton Review are ranking SSU among the nation's best.
Among the top 10 public regional universities in the North where SSU is ranked, many have dropped the word "state" from their names. Universities like Salisbury State are finding that a different name often enhances their prospects for both increased public and private support. In SSU's region, such changes have already occurred at campuses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Two years ago Towson State became Towson University.
On a more visceral level, the University's name has long been the butt of the Salisbury "steak" jokes. Christine Pelletier, SSU SGA president, was affronted by the "sophomoric" play on words at a recent student leadership conference she and several student senators attended in Texas. "Salisbury State has a growing academic reputation which is unfortunately somewhat compromised by stupid jokes about its name," said Pelletier. "I heartily endorse the change to Salisbury University."
Formally named Maryland State Normal School when it was founded in 1925, the institution became Maryland State Teacher's College in 1935. An increased emphasis on a more diverse liberal arts curriculum led to a change to Salisbury State College in 1963. A recognition of its diverse undergraduate and graduate curriculum led to the change to Salisbury State University in 1988. The change to Salisbury University will reflect a new level of institutional maturity.