It wasn’t until UNC-Pembroke started an “aggressive marketing campaign” several years after the name switch that enrollment began to grow, Allen Meadors, the school's chancellor, said. He believes the name change played a negligible role in that growth.
“I do not think the name change was a major part of that growth, but it wasn’t a negative,” Meadors told the Daily Advance.
Meadors’ perspective is at odds with that of state Rep. Bill Owens,
D-Pasquotank, who co-authored the bill authorizing the name change at Pembroke
and is now pushing for a study of a possible name switch at Elizabeth City State
At an ECSU Board of Trustees meeting last week, Owens in fact used the
enrollment growth at Pembroke to make his pitch for the name-change study at
ECSU. He noted that Pembroke’s enrollment had grown by more than 100 percent
since the name change, suggesting that ECSU could reap similar benefits if it
changed its name to include some form of North Carolina in its title. Two
options Owens has heard are Northeastern North Carolina University and the
University of North Carolina at Elizabeth City. ...
Owens said he believes the name change at Pembroke has had an effect in
boosting that campus’s profile. And he believes the same could happen at ECSU.
“Public perception means a lot, and the UNC-Pembroke name does mean a lot
to most people in the public,” he said. “UNC schools have worldwide recognition,
and we want ECSU to have worldwide recognition, too.”
Meadors acknowledges that he wasn’t at Pembroke at the time the university
changed its name. However, Pembroke was still feeling some of the effects of the
name switch when he arrived in 1999.
“We had some very unhappy alumni and community people for a number of
years,” he said. “However, after 14 years, we are seeing less and less of that.”