A private Christian college in Houston drops the word “Baptist” from its name.
Houston Baptist University, which was founded in 1960, has changed its name to Houston Christian University (HCU) to expand its brand of Christian education, university officials announced.
Although the university’s official name no longer includes Baptist, the university is not owned or controlled by any denomination, according to its website.
President Robert B. Sloan announced the change Sept. 21 during an open forum with faculty, staff, past and present administrators, and students.
“Houston Christian University more accurately embodies our student body and reflects the faculty, staff, alumni, and community we serve,” Sloan said. “We are committed to being a distinctively Christian university that welcomes all Christians to benefit from our excellent academic programs. This historic university attracts people from all walks of Christian denominational life, and this new name clarifies who we are.
Seeking to “expand the influence of our mission while attracting as many students as possible,” Sloan said the name change is part of a growth drive to expand HCU’s residential campus to 4,200 students and the online campus to 5,800 students.
University officials say the branding and expansion plan is backed by the “praying review” of the board and will not use any current tuition or fee income to fund the plan.
Despite the name change, HCU shares a cooperative relationship with the Baptist General Convention of Texas (Texas Baptists). Additionally, the university maintains a fraternal relationship with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
The name change does not affect the university’s accreditation status, tuition or fees, or the financial aid application process.
Nor does it impact HCU’s welcoming of students of all faiths, a policy that remains unchanged in the 60 years of its existence. Regardless of religious background, all HCU students must always “adhere to university guidelines, including attendance at spiritual life events and regular chapel services,” according to its website.
The move marks the second time university leaders have changed the name of the institution.
Originally launched in 1960 as Houston Baptist College by Stewart Morris Sr., the university was renamed Houston Baptist University in 1973.
In a statement, Morris expressed support for the name change: “I believe the name Houston Christian University is perfect. I am particularly proud that the word “Christian” is in the name, because it really represents who we are, a university where everyone is welcome. »
While officials said HCU is “still in the early stages” of the rebranding and expansion effort, campus signage and athletic uniforms are expected to be updated in the coming months. .
HCU’s orange and blue colors will not change and the university’s Husky mascot will remain a staple of its Division 1 competitions, officials said.
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