The bill to change the name of the College to Metropolitan State University of Denver continued its march through the state legislature Wednesday, March 14, winning unanimous approval from the House Education Committee following testimony by President Stephen Jordan and others from the Metro State community.
The committee's 11-0 vote, with two absences, follows approval last month by the state Senate Education Committee and the full Senate. If the measure is approved by the full House, it will be sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper, whose signature will make the bill law.
The bill was presented in the house committee by Rep. Crisanta Duran, a primary sponsor along with Sen. Lucia Guzman. Duran cited one of the principal themes of the testimony: that by designating Metro State a university, students and alumni will be better prepared to compete for jobs.
“This name … will serve the institution well and also serve employers in the state well, so that they know exactly the value of the degree of students that graduate from hopefully soon-to-be Metropolitan State University of Denver,” she said.
Jordan echoed that remark, saying a degree that shows that a person graduated from a university is attractive to employers.
“Our students and our alumni both tell us that when they go to compete for jobs they are told … that employers are often sorting their continued interest … by whether the degree says college or whether it says university on it,” he said. “Why would we want to disadvantage 20 percent of our Colorado students by not allowing them to compete on a level playing field for those high-paying jobs?”
Jordan told the committee the name change resulted from a broad-based outreach that included surveys, focus groups and conversations that involved more than 10,000 people as well as successful negotiations with the University of Denver, which had originally balked at some of the proposed new names.
He said the change reflects the evolution of Metro State, from the initial enrollment of 1,187 students who attended classes in rented downtown buildings to an institution serving a diverse student body of 24,000. Jordan also noted growth from an academic perspective, citing as examples recent achievements by the Nursing, Aviation and Aerospace Science, and Math and Computer Science departments.
“We will continue to provide our students with a robust academic experience,” said Board of Trustee member Dawn Bookhardt, testifying for the name change. “We’re Metro and will continue to be the Metro we’ve always been except we’ll be better and we’ll have the name to prove it.”
Also testifying were Roy Alexander, a 1974 graduate and former CEO of the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority; Caitlin Gibbons, a Metro State senior majoring in journalism, and Jesse Altum, president of the Student Government Assembly.
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