by Tucker Reeves, staff writer
Bearing the name since 1978, Pikes Peak Community College will become Pikes Peak State College in fall of 2022. The name change represents a shift in attitude and a shift in programs at the college.
In short, we’ve outgrown our britches.
President Dr. Lance Bolton says the name change comes from wanting “a name that reflects the changing nature of community colleges.”
“Community college has some negative stigma;” so, “The change will help us better serve our community,” he said. “We expect the change will positively impact enrollment, faculty, staff hiring, community partnerships, and fund raising,” he said in regards to how the institution stands to benefit.
In support of this change, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Warren Epstein said, “The rebranding addresses an unfortunate reality–that prospective students may see community colleges as a ‘lesser’ academic option.” He noted that “perception matters. We’ve been told that some local high school teachers advise students against attending community colleges and describe them as second-rate options.”
He also believes that despite this stigma, PPCC has never been a second-rate option. “I know this college, know that our quality of instruction and support is as good as those of any four-year institution,” he said.
That’s why the name change marks much more than just a shift in title. Epstein points out that “the other thing that’s changed is the nature of our institution.” Epstein’s highlights that, “We [have] three Bachelor’s Degrees and several more in the works.” The institution is seeing “a renewed commitment to serving our students and our workforce in new ways,” Epstein continues, “we’ve outgrown the definition of ‘community college.” When addressing the public image of the college, Epstein said, “I know this college, [I] know that our quality of instruction and support is as good as any four-year institution.”
In a recent article in the Gazette, Dr. Bolton spoke to the changes at the degree-level: “We are growing on the four-year bachelor’s side, but we will remain committed to the two-year mission we currently have. We remain 100% committed to our two-year mission including CTE programs, certificates, and the first two years of a bachelor’s program,” he said.
“We’re still as committed as ever to serve our community with the most affordable, quality education anywhere, and our focus on two-year degrees and certificates will not in any way diminish,” Epstein confirmed. He also referenced the name changes happening nationally: “over the past two decades, most of the colleges, nationally, that had been called ‘community college’ have changed their names, usually to ‘state’ or ‘technical’ college.”