Northwest College In Powell Considering a Rebrand

Northwest College in Powell is considering a name change and possibly to Yellowstone College.

Wendy Corr

October 12, 20213 min read

Northwest college

Northwest College in Powell is considering a name change.

The small college is doing well, by all accounts. Interim President Lisa Watson said enrollment and graduation rates are as strong as – or stronger than – other similar institutions, despite the pandemic.

“Northwest College actually didn’t do as bad as a lot of the other colleges, even within our state,” she said. “Where last year, people were down 8% off of normals, we were down 2%, something like that.”

But the college is currently considering rebranding itself, an effort to increase the institution’s appeal. A campus and community discussion about rebranding and possibly renaming the college is scheduled for Wednesday. 

“The conversation is more about whether we should rebrand or rename, and a combination thereof,” said Watson. “When you’re looking at revisiting how college operates, or how you know what you’re doing with what your offerings are, then rebranding happens a lot of times.” But Watson explained that renaming is a bigger conversation. 

“I think that’s the conversation that people feel more emotional about. The name Yellowstone College came up, it’s been talked about in the past. I’m not set on a name, and I’m not set on doing it either, which is part of the reason why we’re doing the panel on Wednesday.”

The college is currently in Phase Three of the Rebranding conversation. Phase One, which began in July of last year, involved gathering ideas and hearing feedback about ways the College can reposition itself; Phase Two involved testing core options and brainstorming ways to better position the College.

“Phase three is about building our roadmap,” said Watson. “And remember, the roadmap is just a map designed to kind of set you on a course and get you going in a direction.”

Watson says the rebranding conversation is fundamentally about how the college can differentiate itself from other similar institutions.

“The idea behind it, is this change in a good way? It’s change that says, How do we refresh? How do we reinvigorate? How do we, you know, bring the college to the community in a way that says, yes, they serve Me? Yes, I want to go here. Yes, Northwest college, or whatever college dot dot dot – hey, that appeals to me, and that’s where I want to be.”

The public discussion will take place Wednesday, October 13, at 6 p.m. and will be available live via Zoom at

“We really want people to come to the meeting, and just learn about why people rebrand, why people rename, both in business and in higher education,” said Watson.

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Wendy Corr

Features Reporter