Proposed TCC name change spurs mixed reaction

Leon County Superintendent of Schools Rocly Hanna (left) and Calandra Stringer, Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs at TCC (center) joined TCC President Jim Murdaugh to announce a pipeline to a teaching career.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook Staff Writer

All of a sudden, Tallahassee Community College is getting a lot of public attention. 

Since the District Board of Trustees approved a recommended name change on Nov. 14, the topic has become the source of conversation in places like barbershops and grocery stores.

Changing from TCC to the approved Tallahassee State College has spurred mixed reaction from current and former students to some former professors.

However, no matter where anyone stands, changing the name TCC that stood since 1970 is raising questions. The name change will be the second one since the college opened in 1966 as Tallahassee Junior College.

The first sign that a name change is possible came up when TCC president Jim Murdaugh mentioned it during his annual state of the college address in August. TCC’s evolution makes it necessary to make the name change, Murdaugh said in a statement to the Capital Outlook.

“With so many tremendous things happening here at the college, now is the perfect time to look at how best we can present ourselves,” the statement said. 

TCC recently announced several additions to programs that it offers. The biggest among them is a bachelor’s degree program that includes a bachelor of applied science in business administration, a bachelor of science in elementary education and a bachelor of science in exceptional student education.

TCC also recently announced the addition of five new associate in science degree programs. They include Accounting Technology, Cybersecurity Operations, Medical Office Administration, Supply Chain Management and Unmanned Vehicle Systems.  

Earlier this past summer, TCC announced at a joint press conference with Leon County Schools that it is opening a pipeline to teaching careers, which will start at high schools in the district. 

Part of the push for the name change is that some student might not like having a bachelor’s degree from a community college.

“I am incredibly proud to have been a part of Tallahassee Community College for 24 years now, and president for the last thirteen,” Muduagh said. “Community is very important to me and will always be a part of who we are at the college. But this is about momentum and relevance. We now have four baccalaureate degree programs, are doing new and innovative things in workforce education, and have become a charter school authorizer. 

“We also know that nearly 60 percent of our students are coming here from outside of our service district. This name change is about our future and reflects where we are going as an institution.”

Former TCC professor Shauna Smith, who was a communication and humanities instructor for 26 years, wasn’t too sure if the name change is necessary. TCC is embedded in the community and with its students that the acronym will remain regardless of a new name, she said.

“Just like a university, when they get new programs they don’t go changing the name or change the department,” Smith said. “They just start promoting the new offerings that they have so I’m very much not in favor of the name change. 

“I think the reputation and the prestige of the college as it is speaks for itself. People are proud to say they went to TCC. No matter what name change, we are still going to call it TCC.”

The name change won’t come cheaply. TCC reported that it will cost about $500,000 to complete the rebranding. However, funding might not be an issue as at least two members of the Republican-Controlled Legislature — Rep. Jason Shoaf and Sen. Corey Simon — are backing a bill necessary to complete the name change.

 

Shoaf, who filed HB 501 to back the name change, told reporters he did so because “it’s time.”

 

“I’ve been reluctant, because, again, you will not find anybody more proud to be at Tallahassee Community College,” Shoaf said in a recent News Service of Florida report. “But I understand that people may not want to have a bachelor’s degree hanging on their wall from a community college.”

Former TCC student Felicia Gilyard, who attended from 2006 to 2009, also expressed support for the name change.

“It can stand its ground,” Gilyard said. “I went there, and I went to FAMU, too. When I went to FAMU, from the education that I received at TCC, it was a breeze. TCC pushes you so hard for the next level.

“I don’t have any regrets about it wanting to change its name.”


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