CASPER — The University of Wyoming’s branch campus in Casper has graduated more than 3,200 people since it began in 1976, making it possible for generations of site-bound students in central Wyoming to earn bachelor’s and higher degrees.
A cooperative effort with Casper College, the UW/Casper College Center(UW/CC) has been a remarkable success story, and today it delivers 17 undergraduate and 12 graduate degrees.
The UW/Casper College partnership is stronger than ever, but it will continue under a new name. The UW Board of Trustees today (Friday) voted to change the program’s name to the University of Wyoming at Casper (UW-Casper), a simpler and more accurate label.
“The name change will help to clarify that the faculty and academic programs in Casper are from UW,” says UW Interim Provost Maggi Murdock, who has been instrumental in developing the university’s offerings in Casper. “The hope is that this name change will help both UW and Casper College better explain to students and the community what University of Wyoming baccalaureate and graduate learning opportunities are available in Casper, building on the excellent education students receive at Casper College.”
The new name has received unanimous support from the executive council of Casper College and the Casper College Board of Trustees. In addition, a number of Casper community groups have voted in favor of the name change, including the Casper Area Economic Development Alliance and the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Another reason for the name change is that the Higher Learning Commission recognizes UW’s program in Casper as a branch campus, rather than a “center,” which typically denotes a location without regular faculty and the full range of student services. The newly renamed UW-Casper employs 13 full-time staff members, features 16 regular, full-time UW faculty members, and has a number of part-time student workers.
The name change coincides with the opening of the new Casper College Student Union/University of Wyoming facility on the campus, which is marked “University of Wyoming at Casper” on the building’s exterior. It is now the primary facility housing most UW faculty and staff in Casper. The $32 million building, funded jointly by UW and Casper College, includes classrooms for on-site instruction and spaces for students taking distance classes taught from the university’s main campus in Laramie. A dedication ceremony is scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 28, from 2-4 p.m.
“As we enter a new chapter with the new facility and plans for further expansion in Casper, I’m happy that we will do so with a new, more appropriate name,” says Brent Pickett, associate dean of UW’s Outreach School and director of UW-Casper. “We’re grateful the UW Board of Trustees, the UW administration and our counterparts at Casper College have supported and taken this action regarding our name. We also appreciate the expressions of community support we have received.”
Also today, the Board of Trustees voted to offer for sale the now-vacated UW Outreach Building on North Poplar Street in Casper. With the consolidation of most UW operations to the new Casper College Student Union/UW-Casper facility on the Casper College campus, the 18,500-square-foot building on North Poplar — owned by the university since 1987 — is no longer needed by UW.