MUW: Name change 'nearing completion;' Welty officially out

June 24, 2009



The new name of the Mississippi University for Women will be either Reneau University or Waverley University, the school announced today in a statement that the name-change process "is nearing an end." 


The university also released a statement from the family of Eudora Welty, announcing the Southern writer''s name wouldn''t be considered after the family "declined to agree to the use of her name by MUW." 


The release didn''t state when MUW President Claudia Limbert would announce her final choice, which must then be approved by the state College Board and the Legislature. 


The university''s statement follows: 




The on-campus process for choosing a new name for Mississippi University for Women is nearing an end the school announced today. As a result of the recommendations and analysis by the MUW Naming Committee and the MUW Leadership Committee, MUW President Claudia Limbert will choose between two potential names: Reneau University and Waverley University. 


"These are the two names that have emerged from this process. The university identified the criteria a new name should have and these two names meet those objectives. They also had the most support in the surveys," Limbert said. 


"The process has been inclusive and transparent. I respect the process and appreciate the dedication and hard work by all of the individuals who participated. Our new name will be one of the two names that emerged from the process." 


Regarding the other names that were surveyed, Welty-Reneau and Welty, MUW and the Welty family issued a joint statement today, which states: 


"During the name-change process established by Mississippi University for Women, the university''s Naming Committee proposed that three names be tested, including Welty-Reneau. The testing indicated some support for Welty as a stand alone name for the university. The Naming Committee suggested additional research be conducted. During this process, MUW contacted Welty''s family about the possible use of her name. The Welty family appreciates Eudora Welty''s fondness for The W through stories of her college years and her generous financial support of the university. The family is honored that MUW considered renaming itself for her. The family concluded, however, that Welty''s primary desire was to maintain her home and garden as a tribute to her mother and father and to conserve her collections of manuscripts and photographs. She expressed her intentions by donating these properties to the state and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Therefore, the Welty family, after careful consideration, declined to agree to the use of her name by MUW. As a result, by mutual agreement, Welty will not be considered as a potential name for the university. The university and the Welty family are proud of the ways in which the bond between Eudora Welty and the university is demonstrated. The administration building at MUW is named for Welty as well as a main street on campus. Each year, MUW conducts the Eudora Welty Writers'' Symposium when southern writers and scholars are invited to present their works. The Eudora Welty Prize is awarded at the symposium for an unpublished book of scholarship on women''s studies, southern studies or modern letters. During her life, Welty participated in many programs at MUW. The Welty Gala has throughout the years attracted prominent leaders in government, journalism and politics to MUW and has supported the Eudora Welty Chair in English. MUW will continue to honor Eudora Welty as one of the university''s most famous alumna." 


Limbert will recommend the new name to the Board of Trustees for State Institutions of Higher Learning for its approval and then submit the proposed name to the Mississippi Legislature in January 2010.