Board of Trustees Chair William G. Hasty Jr. '67 (left), Reinhardt President Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood and Student Government Association President Christopher R. Williams celebrated the Board's approval to change the institution's name to Reinhardt University effective June 1, 2010. Hasty, Isherwood and Williams introduce the College's first billboard design featuring "Reinhardt University" to the Board.
For more than 125 years, the small town of Waleska, Ga., in northwestern Cherokee County has been home to a dynamic educational institution. On Jan. 26, 2010, Reinhardt's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to change the institution's name to Reinhardt University. The name change will go into effect June 1, 2010.
Reinhardt President Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood voiced the need for a name change idea almost a year ago during the College's strategic planning process, and the Board of Trustees learned of the possibility at their fall meeting in September. "The reality is that, with the depth of our 40 undergraduate programs, the strength of our graduate programs, the comprehensive nature of our professional and liberal arts degrees, and the evolution of our schools into strong academic units, we have grown into an institution that is more accurately described as a university," Isherwood said. "It's not something we aspire to become; it's what we are," he said.
Alan King, an ex-officio Board member as president of the College's Ambassadors, made the motion in favor of the change. "The Ambassadors includes 50 to 60 individuals from around the community; many are Reinhardt grads and some not," he said. At their last meeting, the name change proposal was discussed, a member made the motion to endorse the idea, and the motion passed unanimously. "Every person who talked with me or Dr. Isherwood after the meeting saw it as such a positive step, not just for the College, but also for the community, for students, for faculty, staff and for alumni."
Board of Trustees Chair William G. Hasty Jr. ‘67, a Reinhardt alumnus and resident of Canton, Ga., agreed. "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got. I'm very proud of Reinhardt for being willing to make changes. Reinhardt is just beginning to understand how much of an opportunity we have in the Atlanta area with all the growth and the interest in Christian education. This is another positive step to ensure that we'll be around for another 100 years."
Student Government Association President Christopher Williams, a senior business major from Loganville, Ga., said he was excited about the decision. "This is a monumental moment, a historic moment, for Reinhardt. I feel that the new name will bring an even more prestigious atmosphere to the school, as well as more leverage to graduates who are in the workforce. It will give alumni even more of a sense of pride. We are ushering in a new future for Reinhardt students."
An article in the fall Reinhardt magazine asked for feedback, and Isherwood said it had been very positive. "The graduates from the last 10 years are the most enthusiastic about Reinhardt University. They are the ones who came by my office and said their degrees will be worth so much more as Reinhardt University."
Isherwood wants everyone to understand that with this change the values of Reinhardt will remain strong. "We are still going to be a private institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church which is committed to transforming lives," he said. "We plan to keep faculty/student ratio at about 14 to one and our average class size at 14. Our core strengths will continue to be our small classes, our caring faculty who have strong academic credentials and who excel at teaching, our challenging academic and our complementary extracurricular programs." For more reasons behind the change >
Reinhardt does have exciting plans for continued growth. "We are completing a strategic planning process that will produce a plan that will guide our growth through 2015," Isherwood said. "We want to continue to add programs, especially for working adults and graduate students. We will also develop off-campus locations and online offerings which fit employer demand, student interest and community needs. We also will continue to develop our facilities and add extracurricular offerings that complement our academic programs. Our dedication to the liberal arts tradition, to exposing students to a broad base of knowledge, and to teaching students to gather information, think critically and make sound ethical decisions, will remain at our core."
For more information, please contact Reinhardt at 770-720-5526 or 1-87-REINHARDT.
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