Reneau, Waverley favored by MUW group

June 12, 2009

Kristin Mamrack -


A committee charged by Mississippi University for Women President Dr. Claudia Limbert to give her recommendations for a new name for the school saw the most promise in the names Reneau University and Waverley University, during a session held Thursday on campus. 


Limbert is expected to consider the opinions of the MUW Leadership Committee, before recommending a new name for the school. 


Composed of leaders of the MUW Staff Council, the MUW Faculty Senate, the MUW Foundation, the Student Government Association and the MUW Alumni Association, the Leadership Committee met Thursday to list the "pros and cons" associated with a list of potential school names, given to them by Limbert. 


"Today is a day we take another step in the name process," Limbert told the committee, instructing them to give the pros and cons for each name and not narrow their choices down to one name. 


The committee considered the names Reneau University, Waverley University and Callaway University. 


Additionally, the committee discussed positives and negatives with four groups of similar names -- Hastings-Peyton University or Peyton-Hastings University, Magnolia State University or Magnolia University, Mississippi University of Columbus or University of Columbus, and University of North Mississippi, University of Northern Mississippi, Northeast Mississippi University or University of Northeast Mississippi. 


Reneau University and Waverley University were the names in which the committee saw the most positive attributes. 


Pros listed for the names Reneau University and Waverley University included historical references, gender neutrality, and marketability to potential out-of-state students. 


The committee also noted the name Waverley University would allow MUW to keep its beloved nickname, "The W." 


Points against the names included apparent "snob appeal" contained in the names, and connotations of the "old South" and its often racist culture. 


The name Calloway University also is gender neutral, but "sounds a little too common" or often is associated with a well-known golf resort, committee members noted, adding Peyton-Hastings University and Hastings-Peyton University are names too long and cumbersome. 


The names Magnolia University or Magnolia State University are not very gender-neutral and are associated with the undesirable "old South" image, the committee agreed. 


"And we already have one MSU," said Dr. Eddie Betcher, referring to Mississippi State University. 


The names Mississippi University of Columbus or University of Columbus also fell victim to their acronyms and were considered too long and regional, although a committee member noted the names would instill pride and support from the community. 


Additionally, the committee decided the last group of names, derivations of University of North Mississippi, were too long and sounded "too much like community colleges." 


Cathy Young represented the Faculty Senate, Robin Holliman represented the Staff Council, Kristen Barnes represented the SGA, Dr. Pat Ainsworth represented the MUW Alumni Association and Betcher represented the MUW Foundation. 


Limbert will review the lists of the Leadership Committee, then recommend a name to the state Institutions of Higher Learning board and, if approved by the IHL, the state Legislature. 


Months ago, the MUW Naming Committee narrowed a list of more than 1,000 suggested names to three -- Reneau University, Welty-Reneau University and Waverley University. 


The university subsequently asked The Cirlot Agency -- the corporate communication firm contracted to conduct research on the names -- to conduct additional research regarding the name choices Reneau University, Waverley University and Welty University. 


Limbert told the committee the name Welty University was eliminated from the list, after test research brought "inconclusive" results.