Augustana College in Sioux Falls is receiving a name change. The private liberal arts institution gathered Tuesday to officially unveil its new name as a university.
Augustana students wait in the Kirkeby-Over Stadium as professors file in and freshman take in their surroundings.
Alumni Carol Oakland says she is exciting her alma mater is expanding programs to become a university.
“I think it’s wonderful. It actually makes our degrees worth more- we are now university graduates,” says Oakland.
The name change also has impact outside of South Dakota. Naras Prameswari is an international student from Indonesia. She says the change makes her degree more recognizable back in her homeland.
“For most international students, I think it’s great when they graduate under the name of Augustana University because the employer would see ‘oh you actually graduated from a four year program university’,” says Prameswari.
Augustana is opening a new science facility in 2016 and is planning to build a new student activities center to attract more students after decline in enrollment.
Nursing student Amber-Dawn Edwards says the change already makes the school feel more prominent.
“It’ll probably make the school feel a little bit bigger. Because a lot of schools that make all my other friends go to are universities, so maybe it will make the school feel bigger rather than a small private school," says Edwards.
Currently 1,800 students are enrolled. Freshman student Paul Meloche says the change first took him by surprise.
“At first, not going to lie, I thought it was kind of a weird name for a school like Augustana College, like I knew it was a good school and everything, but it didn’t come off the tongue nicely,” says Meloche.
But Meloche admits that becoming the first freshman class to enter the university is exciting.
“I guess it’s kind of of special in a way. University just sounds a lot better.”
Augustana is celebrating its 155th anniversary. The name change takes affect immediately.