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The potential University name change, although met with shock and skepticism from some of the student body, will keep the University’s Christian values while attracting more students and removing the limits of the current name.
The University will remain Christ-centered. The mission statement and preamble to the bylaws, both located on the University’s website, have clear and solid Christian standards. These statements will remain the same and continue to be vitally important.
The name change might help the University’s mission of providing “a learning experience that instills in students a passion for academic, spiritual, and professional excellence as a result of our central confession, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord.’”
Attracting more non-Christian students to attend and exposing them to Christian beliefs will help further the mission.
This is also not the first time the University’s name has changed. At the University’s origin in 1960, it had the title of “Houston Baptist College.” The decision to become Houston Baptist University was made in 1973 because too many people misunderstood the word “college” to mean that the University was a two-year school.
These types of misconceptions are occurring once again, as proved by a 2010 survey, taken by 1,129 University-affiliated people, which showed that some thought only Baptist Houstonians attend the University. A name change could resolve these misunderstandings and mirror the resolution of 1973.
The University will no longer have constraints limiting it, and it will be easier to fulfill the Ten Pillars Vision of becoming nationally known. The current name limits the University by using certain words. “Houston” might insinuate that only people from or around Houston attend, while “Baptist” discourages students of other religions and Christians of other denominations.
The possible name of Morris, suggested by the board of trustees after school legacy Stewart Morris, is much broader than the current name. Morris is a University founding father and influential donor of funds and time. Using his name will release the University from current restraints, driving potential students to research to understand all of the University’s attributes.
If the University does change its name, students should not react negatively, as the University itself will remain unchanged.