Coming July 2019…Coker University!

New Name, Same Coker Pride


We are pleased to formally announce that Coker College will soon become Coker University! The name change, which was approved by our Board of Trustees this past fall, will take effect on July 1, 2019.

This switch to university status is a reflection of the tremendous growth Coker has experienced in recent years, including the addition of graduate programs and online bachelor’s degrees. In that time, we have also been recognized in publications like US News & World Report for our innovative learning environment and a demonstrated commitment to undergraduate education. We have implemented new student resources like the AccessCoker technology initiative and Cobras in the Capital common experience trip. Our students participate in world-class performances, research, and study abroad experiences—and we regularly recruit international students, many of whom come from areas where the term “college” is used most frequently to describe a high school education. By becoming Coker University, the value of our degrees will be more clearly indicated to both international and domestic audiences, and the breadth of opportunities available to Coker students will be implied in our institutional name, rather than requiring further explanation.

Rest assured, a new title does not rewrite our story. This name change is just that—a change in name. The heart of Coker remains the same. We are, as always, a family.

The wellbeing and success of our students remains our top priority, and the crux of a Coker education still centers around personalized, discussion-based learning and the values of our student covenant: integrity, respect, scholarship, sustainability, service, and contribution.

We thank you for your feedback, your collaboration, and your cooperation as we navigate this transition over the next several months. Most of all, we thank you for being a part of our community and playing an invaluable role in our Coker story. We look forward to celebrating with you this summer, as we prepare to welcome the class of 2023 to Coker University!

Coker University FAQs

Coker’s mission and values remain the same. We are still committed to providing a student-centered learning environment, celebrating lifelong learning and helping students to become their personal best. We care, first and foremost, about the wellbeing of our students and our greater Coker community. A new name could never change that.

While there are no official guidelines that define university or college status, it is worth noting that the term “college” tends to hold a different meaning outside of the United States. In much of the world, “college” indicates high school, community college, vocational school, or trade school, while “university” is a place where students earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

No. Our new university status does not impact the pricing of a Coker education. As always, tuition costs are subject to small, incremental increases from year to year—but that is part of normal institutional operations and is unrelated to our change in name.

The graduating class of December 2019 will be the first official graduates of Coker University. Students graduating before the official name change takes place on July 1, 2019 will receive diplomas from Coker College.

Alumni, including May 2019 graduates, may order a new Coker University diploma if they wish. Please note that these diplomas will be signed by current university leadership, so they will not be a replica of your original document. More information about alumni diploma orders will be available after July 1, 2019.

Because a transcript is an official academic record, it must show the current name of the institution. However, the transcript key will also note that prior to July 1, 2019, Coker University was known as Coker College.

The essential elements of our logo will remain the same. The only change will be, of course, the switch from “College” to “University.” The word “University” will also appear in a slightly heavier font for best legibility. The school colors remain the same navy and gold.

Yes. Over the next few months, and into the summer, we will be working to replace existing Coker College signage with the appropriate Coker University graphics. Designs and templates for printed materials, stationary, business cards, etc., will also be shifted during this time. We thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we make this transition.

You may use whichever name you’d like. Both are credible representations of our institution. However, for alumni, faculty, or staff who were here while we operated as Coker College, it would be common practice to write “Coker University (formerly Coker College)” after July 1, 2019.

What Does Coker University Mean to You? 

“I’m excited for the school to take on a name that reflects the growth it has realized over the past few years. Coker University holds true to the history of our institution and this town, but brings a new level of credibility and respect. I’m excited for the change and I hope I will be able to request a degree with 'Coker University' stamped on it.”

Quinetta Buterbaugh - Graduate Student, M.S. in Management and Leadership, and Business Engagement Coordinator at Darlington County School District

“We are still Coker. The University title doesn't change the small classes, the one-on-one interaction between students, staff and faculty, and doesn't take away the family feel we have on campus. I believe the name change is great and will help Coker grow...and as an alumnus, that makes me proud to be a Cobra. At the end of the day, we are all Coker Cobras... College or University.”

Aaron Beebe (‘15) - Director of Student Athlete Affairs & Event Management

“Almost everyone’s initial reaction to such a change is to not want it because it alters something important to us. Thing is, though, it doesn’t change our experience. It will change others’ experiences, but they are different from ours anyway...We can all acknowledge we prefer a change that makes Coker more viable.”

Carolyn Johnson (‘80)