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MCC is now State College of Florida

MANATEE — Within a month after receiving state approval to offer four-year degrees, Manatee Community College’s board of trustees Wednesday changed the institution’s name to the State College of Florida.

The college’s mascot and nickname also has been changed, from Lancers to Manatees. The new name and logos started appearing on the college’s Web site shortly after a board meeting Wednesday.

The college has campuses in the Bradenton area, Lakewood Ranch and Venice.

College officials say the name change had been discussed while they were getting state approval to offer a four-year nursing degree, which the State Board of Education approved March 17. The college plans to roll out the nursing program in 2010.

In a board meeting March 25, board members instructed Lars Hafner, college president, to come up with a name and logos to present to the board at their following meeting, which took place Wednesday, said Steve Harner, chairman of the board of trustees.

Board members voted 6-1 for the name change, he said. Board member Christine Robinson, of Venice, voted against because she didn’t agree with the new name, Harner said.

“The board didn’t see the need to delay the decision. We did get the approval for a four-year (nursing) program, and I personally was very pleased with the logo, the colors and fact that the manatee is going to be the new mascot,” Harner said. “Obviously, we operate in the sunshine. It’s common knowledge ... if we decide to go on a four-year degree, this would involve a name change. Several schools have done that recently.”

Legislation passed last year established the Florida College System and contains provisions that allow community colleges to change their names if they offer four-year degrees.

Half of the 28 community colleges in Florida have been approved to offer baccalaureate degrees. Ten have changed their names, most dropping the word “community” from their titles.

Two other colleges, in Jacksonville and Polk County, are also getting their names changed, Hafner said.

“The name had to be changed,” Hafner said.

“A student who graduated with a four-year degree can’t have ‘community college’ on their (diplomas).”

Most of the visible changes to the college’s name will start July. These changes may cost between $60,000 to $100,000, Hafner said.

“It will be gradually done,” he said. “The biggest cost would be the signage. The stationary, the business cards, we will use up what we have.”

Despite the name change. the college will still offer two-year degrees, he said.

“We’ll still be an open-access, open-enrollment institution,” he said.

This isn’t the first time the college has gone through a name change. Manatee Junior College was established in 1957. In 1985, it became Manatee Community College.

Hafner maintains the new name will be good for business.

“It will do more for the economic development in the area than if it stays the same,” he said. “Two, four, five years from now, people will appreciate the idea.”

Sylvia Lim, education reporter, can be reached at 745-7041.

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