College or University?

Why change Union's name to "university?"

As Union College expands into new markets with graduate programs and workforce development certificates, this may be the perfect time to signal our broader scope with a name change. Here are some reasons why.

Create a unique name to differentiate Union from competitors

Union can create a unique name not used by any other college. Currently there are three Union Colleges and one Union University. New students, parents and donors often visit the wrong website and have even purchased plane tickets for the wrong dates or made donations to the wrong school in the confusion.

Improve marketability

The word “university” typically implies greater prestige, rigor and academic excellence than the word “college.” In fact, in most of the world, “college” refers to high school education, while “university” refers to postsecondary higher learning. It is important for our name to accurately reflect our educational offerings so students and parents will even consider Union in the first place.

Plus, as we expand into more masters programs, the term “university” more accurately reflects the scope of Union’s education experience beyond undergraduate education to further prepare students to be successful in high-demand careers.

Stack up to other universities

Most other colleges that students consider in addition to Union, both Adventist and local, have changed their names to “university.” Recently published research indicates schools that changed their name to university grew enrollment — attracting more undergraduate and graduate students. This could be an opportunity to help raise Union’s stature in the minds of potential students and parents as they compare us to other universities so we can grow our enrollment.

How do we maintain a connection to Union's history and brand?

Keep “Union” in the new name

Union College has not changed its name throughout our entire 132 year history, so considering a name change is no small decision. However, if we retain the name “Union,” we can maintain the connection to Union’s legacy and history.

Retain the visual identity

Union College rolled out a new logo, shield icon and refreshed brand just two years ago. If we keep “Union” in the name, we can continue to use the shield and visual designs to maintain consistency during a transition to a new name. Not only will this help maintain brand awareness, but will allow us to continue to use much of the newly creating campus branding and materials with minimal adjustments.

What are some name options?

In order to stay connected to Union’s history and visual identity, we have been considering names that begin with “Union.” Union University isn’t a good option because one already exists in Tennessee. Here are a few ideas:

Union Adventist University  —  This name is unique and builds a stronger connection to our faith and denomination in a style used by some of our sister Adventist institutions such as Southwestern Adventist University, Washington Adventist University and Southern Adventist University.

Union Midwest University — This unique name allows us to maintain our current visual identity and connection to history while  providing regional context.

Union University of Nebraska — This name allows us to maintain our current visual identity and connection to history while highlighting our geographical location. However, it could be confused with the neighboring University of Nebraska.

Union Christian University — This name is also unique with a more general connection to faith.

Learn more!

Read a letter from Joe Allison, president of the Union College Alumni Association.

Is Name Change a Game Change? — read some recently published scholarly research on colleges that changed the name to university and effect it had on enrollment.

Share your thoughts!

We'd love to hear from year. If you'd like to have conversation, please send a message to

Otherwise, click the button below to fill our the name change survey. NOTE: If you have already filled out the electronic or printed name change survey, please do not fill this one out.