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New ‘N. Greenville Univ.’ name reflects growth, trustees say

TIGERVILLE, S.C. (BP)–An updated name — North Greenville University — was unanimously approved by the trustees Sept. 22.

Factors cited in changing the name from North Greenville College include the launch of a graduate studies program and growth in enrollment to more than 1,800 students as well as growth in the school’s facilities and academic reputation.

Just over a decade ago, the college had a $3 million debt and just over 300 students — factors that prompted discussion of closing the campus.

The university is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention, which must approve the legal documents implementing the name change. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits the university, also is being notified of the change.

The name change is the result of a year-long study by a trustee-appointed University Status Committee of students, faculty, staff and trustees, which commissioned a survey of alumni and friends of the college.

“The results of the survey validated what we already thought,” said committee chairman J. Samuel Isgett, executive director and dean for graduate studies. “We saw overwhelming support for becoming a university and for the name ‘North Greenville University’ specifically.”

The name change also will bring with it a reorganization of the university’s academics. A committee named by NGU President James B. Epting will evaluate such questions as how many schools or colleges will make up the university. The university’s initial graduate programs – a master of Christian ministry and master of business administration – are awaiting accreditation, with plans to begin courses in January.

“It is a new and thrilling day for North Greenville University,” Epting said. “Our commitment to quality education in a biblically sound, Christ-centered environment was already at the university level, so it was definitely time to make the change.”

Isgett said that the terms “university” and “college” have become more elastic over the last few decades. University used to strictly refer to large research-based institutions offering degrees through the doctorate level. Now it is open to a variety of institutions, while college has come to signify a small community college.

The university recently opened a visitor center; a 52,000-square foot student life center and 1,200-seat dining hall; an athletics complex that includes a 5,000-seat football stadium, to later include a tennis and a baseball/softball complex; and an athletics center which houses the football offices and home and visitors locker rooms. A new residence hall also is near completion, and the university has purchased and is in the process of restoring two historic buildings in the community to house its art and theater departments.

The university also has begun fundraising for a new chapel/basketball arena to be built in the next five years.

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