November 30, 2016
Today the Board of Trustees of the Vermont State Colleges voted to name the unified Johnson State College and Lyndon State College “Northern Vermont University” with campuses at both Johnson and Lyndon. The two colleges will officially unify and adopt the new name July 1, 2018. At that point each campus will be known as either “Northern Vermont University-Lyndon” or “Northern Vermont University-Johnson.”
“Unification will retain our campuses and open new doors of opportunity for students in a larger, stronger university,” said Board Chair Martha O’Connor. “The unified university will have an important impact on the regional economy and communities. The name ‘Northern Vermont University-Johnson and Northern Vermont University-Lyndon’ reflects those aspirations.”
“Northern Vermont University” met naming criteria set by the Board when it voted to unify the two colleges into a single accredited college with two distinct campuses in September. The Board expressed its desire for a name that would convey the potential of unification and a sense of place by including the word Vermont. VSC Chancellor Jeb Spaulding recommended “Northern Vermont University” with the support of Johnson State College President Elaine Collins and Lyndon State College President Nolan Atkins after extensive community input and consultation with marketing experts. The name evolved as the strong favorite after meetings with alumni, students, faculty and staff and after a dialogue with the Unification Advisory Committee.
Lyndon and Johnson State colleges are critical components of Vermont’s higher-education infrastructure. Together they enroll nearly 3,000 students annually and are nationally recognized for their strong academic programming. For example, Lyndon State College’s Atmospheric Sciences and Electronic Journalism Arts programs are ranked in the top 10 nationally, and Johnson State College was recognized this year as Vermont’s top public liberal arts college by the Council on Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC). Northern Vermont University will retain and build upon these strengths.
Lyndon and Johnson are both main economic drivers and cultural centers in the northern tier of Vermont. VSC Chancellor Jeb Spaulding said, “Unification reflects our commitment to maintaining two vibrant and healthy college campuses for the coming decades. Northern Vermont University at both Johnson and Lyndon will provide new academic and experiential opportunities for students, a larger and more diverse faculty, advantages for recruiting new students, and a significantly strengthened financial foundation.”
Northern Vermont University will officially open its doors July 1, 2018. Students applying for admission through summer 2017 will apply to either Lyndon State College or Johnson State College. Applicants seeking admission in fall 2018 and thereafter will apply to either Northern Vermont University-Johnson or Northern Vermont University-Lyndon. The timing of the board’s approval of the name today was designed to ensure that new materials can be in place by this summer, when the recruitment cycle for 2018-2019 officially begins.
A transition team led by President Collins is in place and working on the many details that will make unification successful. Initiatives to create enhanced and combined academic programs; to share student opportunities in research, study away and extracurricular clubs; and to share online offerings and other resources are part of the focus.
President Collins will lead the unified administration, which will begin on July 1, 2017, and will serve as president of Northern Vermont University. Presidents Collins and Atkins joined in a response to the vote by stating, “This is an exciting time for both campuses as we work together to make real the vision of a vibrant public university firmly rooted in our shared values of academic excellence, community, and service to Vermont.”