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New name announced for merged California, Clarion, and Edinboro universities

CALIFORNIA, Pa. — California, Clarion and Edinboro universities will soon have a new name!

The Board of Governor’s for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education approved Pennsylvania Western University, or PennWest for short, as the official name of the merged schools at its meeting Thursday morning.

Some students still have a lot of questions about the merger like how will this impact their major, their commute and their sports teams.

“It was super disappointing for me because I’m a commuter,” said California University of Pennsylvania Freshman, Riley Greenwood. “I commute from home, so CalU. It’s an hour as Edinboro is two and Clarion is like an hour and 45 minutes. so if they were going to change my major to another campus, I don’t know what I would do.”

Greenwood is majoring in Psychology and is also on the CalU dance team.

“There are a million thoughts racing through my head like are we going to have to pay for all new uniforms to fit the new name,” said Greenwood.

She said there’s still confusion among many students surrounding the merger. Channel 11 reached out to university leaders to address her concerns.

The communication manager for Clarion said students who started a degree prior to the integration will be able to complete that degree on the same campus. Some classes may be offered online but no students will be required to travel to a different campus for classes. Also, each campus will retain its own activities and organizations.

As for athletics, their goal is for each campus to retain its own sports teams, colors and mascots.

The university is putting a big decision in the hands of students. They are able to choose the new design for the new name. Students on each campus have received an email with a link to a survey they can submit. The university is expected to announce the winning design before winter break.

The new university will officially launch in July 2022.

The announcement comes after news earlier this year that six of Pennsylvania’s higher education facilities will officially merge into two new universities by the end of 2022.

Students at CalU, Clarion, and Edinboro have been invited to select a design for the new institution.

“From the start, we have been intentional about building a student-focused university through the integration process,” said Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson, who serves as president of Clarion and interim president at California and Edinboro.

Pehrsson said that the PennWest name was selected through a process that included workshops and focus groups with students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and community members.