Union College transitioning to 'Union Commonwealth University'

by Staff Report

Union College is currently transitioning to its new name, now known as Union Commonwealth University.

The institution announced in October 2023 that its Board of Trustees approved a resolution to update the school’s name to better describe the variety of educational opportunities it offers.

“This new name identifies Union as a Level IV graduate degree granting institution, thus appealing to a wider range of students,” said Mike Goss, a 1980 alum and Chair of the Board of Trustees. “We are embracing the future but will remain steadfast in meeting the needs of students in the region and our community.”

“Of all the names suggested, Union Commonwealth University stood out as accurately defining our mission, for the common good of students and community,” said Union President Dr. Marcia Hawkins. She noted that the new name identifies Union as a “regional institution with a global reach.”

Union College over the years has expanded both its graduate and online programming, including a graduate international program launched in 2021, redefining its role in higher learning.

Then-Board Chair Don Jones said in the original announcement, “In recognition of Union’s status as a level IV graduate degree granting institution, and with the increase in graduate programs and enrollment over the past ten years, Union’s Board has voted to incorporate the word ‘University’ into the official name of our 144-year-old institution,” and went on to say “We are embracing the future but will never forget our legacy… we commit that the word Union will remain, that we will always be orange and black, and that we will forever be Bulldogs.”

The name change was approved by the board in December, but approval from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education delayed announcement of the new name.

Union College was founded in 1879 in affiliation with the United Methodist Church.

The rebrand to Union Commonwealth University is currently underway, as the new name is now in effect. A timeline for larger changes, including a celebration of the new name, will be announced in the coming months. For updates on the transition, visit www.unionky.edu/unioncommonwealth.

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