After 95 years as Elmhurst College, EC will have a new name as Elmhurst University by June 30, 2020.
With the exception of one abstention, the Board of Trustees (BOT) voted overwhelming in favor of the name change at the June 15 BOT meeting, according to trustee chairman Edward Momkus.
”This has been a really robust and long discussion with a lot of people,” Momkus said in a phone interview.
The name change idea has been brought up throughout the institution’s history. It became an item of public discourse when EC president Troy VanAken formally reintroduced the debate in 2016.
The idea has been controversial with the faculty deeply divided in their December 2018 vote. According to The Leader’s November survey, students generally favored the name change while alumni were opposed.
Despite these concerns, Momkus says this move will help EC financially.
“This would help the college in the long run,” he said. “There’s a [trend] of declining high school graduation for really the next ten years, and that’s pretty tough in a scenario for even having ten fewer students, which can really cause financial havoc in a small school.”
Many who opposed the idea raised concerns about losing the history, tradition, and branding of the institution.
To address those concerns and others, Momkus hopes to use this coming academic year as a transition period.
“One of the challenges that we have this year is to make sure no one thinks that this change will somehow actually affect who we are and our values,” said Momkus.