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 name 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 four schools within the Villa Julie College of Arts and Sciences: the School of Humanities and Social Sciences; the School of Design; the School of Education; and the School of the Sciences. The Brown School of Business and Leadership and the School of Graduate and Professional Studies remain as originally configured.
Exciting developments for Stevenson were in the works during the summer and fall of 2009. In June, the University announced the addition of football to its roster of 19 Division III men's and women's sports. Ed Hottle, former head football coach for Gallaudet University, was introduced as Stevenson's new head coach in November. In August, Stevenson was ranked nationally by U. S. News & World Report as one of just 77 "Top Up-and-Coming Schools." The University closed the year with the completion of its historic five-year fundraising campaignthe largest in the 63-year history of the institution. Inspiring Students, Building Careers: The Campaign for Stevenson University raised more than $20.3 million in support of the Brown School of Business and Leadership, scholarship endowments, and special programs.
The start of 2010 saw the opening of the new entrance to the Owings Mills campus and the introduction of a new bachelor's program in fashion merchandising and a master's in nursing education and leadership. In addition, Stevenson was named to the 2009 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service learning, and civic engagement.
By focusing on workforce needs and experiential learning opportunities, Stevenson remains committed to providing a distinctively career-focused education. As a testament to the success of this model, 95 percent of Stevenson's December 2008 and May 2009 graduates were placed in jobs or graduate programs by the end of 2009.
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