Northwest College Considering Changing Name to Yellowstone College

Northwest College Interim President Lisa Watson said the rebranding is part of the planned institutional transformation.

December 22, 20203 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

By Kevin Killough, Powell Tribune

As Northwest College reviewed proposed budget cuts in the coming fiscal year, Trustee John Housel argued the college should include funding that would allow for renaming NWC as Yellowstone College. 

“I don’t think we should stall. I don’t think we should wait for something else to happen,” Housel said. “I don’t think we should wait for another review of some nature to find out how we’re going to do this.” 

He pointed to the public input sessions the college has held over the past year and where a predominant message from the community was the name change was desirable.

And he noted that, at her final NWC board meeting in November, outgoing President Stefani Hicswa encouraged the trustees to move forward with a new name.

At Housel’s request, an ad-hoc committee has been formed to begin examining how to execute the plan.

The committee, he said, could begin researching answers to a number of questions that remain about the rebranding plan. This would include any statutory issues limiting the college’s authority to do so.

Housel also wants the committee to discuss the plan with the Northwest College Foundation to be sure it was on board with the new name. 

“They may not be,” he warned. 

Housel also wants to solicit input from the Wyoming Community College Commission to make sure the college doesn’t run afoul of any criteria the WCCC has governing college name changes and see if the commission has any other objections to the plan. 

“If we knew that early on, that would be helpful,” Housel said. 

The new committee will also do some preliminary analysis on costs of changing signage, designing new logos, and redesigning the website. 

Housel also proposed the committee set a timeline by which the name change could be achieved. 

Dusty Spomer, president of the board of trustees, said a lot of the work would fall to the committee, as the college staff’s time resources were tapped out.

NWC Interim President Lisa Watson said the rebranding is part of the planned institutional transformation. Specifically, it’s part of phase 2, as laid out by the college’s consultants, CampusWorks, which is helping with the overall transformation. 

Watson pointed out that the college, which was previously Northwest Community College, has changed its name before, indicating it’s possible. 

“If we’re ever going to start the work, we need to start the work,” she agreed. 

Housel volunteered to serve on the committee. At the same meeting, Trustee Mark Wurzel was appointed to take over as president of the board, leaving Spomer time to serve alongside Housel on the committee.

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