University Status and Name Change

In 2004, the Board of Trustees began discussing the possibility of transitioning to University status because of the growth in student population and the addition of a second campus. A year later, the Board authorized the administration to study the feasibility of becoming a university and to assess whether to simultaneously change the name of the institution. Significant research followed to assess public perception of the name Villa Julie. The Board approved university status in November 2006 and later established a committee to oversee a study of name options for the institution. The entire College community had a hand in selecting the name as an online bulletin board provided a forum for suggestions. More than 80 names ideas came from that resource. Historical and legal research and surveys shortened that list to seven potential names in late 2007.

The College then started a long phase of quantitative and qualitative research to determine the best name from that group. Alumni, current students, potential students and their families were among the groups surveyed for their opinion on the new name. On June 11, 2008, the Board voted unanimously to change the name of the institution, and the name Stevenson University was unveiled to a packed room the next morning. The Board had earlier voted to keep the Villa Julie name alive by creating the Villa Julie College of Arts and Sciences as part of Stevenson University.

In March 2009, President Manning approved the University Restructuring Plan adopted by the Faculty Council. The plan created three new schools within the Villa Julie College of Arts and Sciences: one to encompass the departments of art, business communication, and film, video, and theatre; a second to encompass the biological sciences, chemistry and physical sciences, mathematics, and nursing departments; and a third to encompass the departments of humanities, human services, interdisciplinary studies, English language and literature, and psychology. A School of Education was established while the Howard S. Brown School of Business and Leadership and the School of Graduate and Professional Studies remain as originally configured.