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. In August, Stevenson was ranked as one of just 77 "Top Up-and-Coming Schools" nationally by U.S. News & World Report. The University closed the year with the completion of its historic five-year fundraising campaign—the largest in the 63-year history of the institution. Inspiring Students, Building Careers: The Campaign for Stevenson University raised more than $20.4 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 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. In June 2010, the University also received a $100,000 Wal-Mart Foundation College Success grant to assist first generation college students with the transition to university life. In August, a new, updated Mustang logo was unveiled for Stevenson athletics.
In fall 2010, Stevenson welcomed the largest freshman class in its history and opened a labyrinth and meditation center on its Greenspring campus. A new 35,000-square-foot gymnasium opened to complement the Owings Mills campus sports complex. Also in fall 2010, the football team held its first developmental practice season in preparation for fall 2011 intercollegiate competition. The University also announced that it was adding women's ice hockey to its selection of athletics programs and reinstating its track and field program for men and women.
In February 2011, President Manning was appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and in March was named an "Influential Marylander" for 2011 by The Maryland Daily Record newspaper. In April, the University hired its first band director to lead its newly created marching band in preparation for the first season of football competition. In May, Stevenson's Athletic Department announced that it would be leaving the Capitol Athletic Conference (CAC) in summer 2012 to join the Middle Atlantic Conferences (MAC), of which the football program was already an affiliate member.
The summer of 2011 was a busy time of change and preparation for the University. Stevenson hired a new dean, Norman Endlich, to lead the Brown School of Business and Leadership. A new Owings Mills campus store was launched in the Boulevard Business Center just across the campus entrance drive from the new gymnasium. Two new residence halls to house an additional 500 students were opened on the Owings Mills campus, and the new 3,500-seat Mustang Stadium was opened in early September with much media attention and fanfare. On September 10, the new football team, amidst festivities that included fireworks and former NFL stars, won its first home game in exciting double-overtime play against Christopher Newport University. In addition to football, the stadium hosts men's and women's soccer and men's and women's lacrosse games.
Fall 2011 only continued Stevenson's momentum of change and growth. Stevenson launched the SU Now Portal to link faculty, staff, and students with campus news, events, and information. The portal includes Wild Stang Radio, the campus's online digital radio station which hosts music, campus-focused news broadcasts, and student-produced programs. The University was named one of only 46 "Up-and-Comer" universities in the nation in the 2012 edition of the U. S. News & World Report college rankings. Stevenson also launched a new fashion design program in its School of Design. In November 2011, the University concluded the purchase of the Owings Mills site of Shire Pharmaceuticals. The 28-acre site—which includes two buildings totaling 168,000 square feet under roof and a 400-space parking lot—will be renovated by fall 2013.
In February 2012, the School of Graduate and Professional Studies marked a major milestone in its growth, surpassing the 1,000 mark for its number of enrolled students. The school also received approval from the Maryland Higher Education Commission to add two new master's programs, cyber forensics and healthcare management, both focused on areas of workforce growth. The programs start in fall 2012. During the spring semester, the SU Now Portal focused on expanding its content by adding a new student and faculty-directed sitcom called "The University" to its featured video content.
After more than six decades, Stevenson University remains a dynamic institution focused on developing programs and extracurricular experiences that allow students to acquire the knowledge, professional skills, and personal character traits that empower them to pursue and achieve their life and career goals.
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