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‘Brightwell’ Out As Alumni Vet 3 New Names For ‘The W’

Brightwell University will not be the new name for Mississippi University for Women after an uproar from alumni of “The W” forced officials to back down on those plans. Now President Nora Miller said the university will retain its moniker as “The W” even as it searches for a new name.

“I don’t know if the W will be first,” Miller told the Mississippi Free Press on Jan. 23. “We know we’ve got to have Mississippi and university in there. The other word is going to start with a W.”

Administrators were set to evaluate the results of a survey after alumni finished sending responses on Monday. That survey included three new proposed names: Wynbridge, Welbright and Wynbright.

Alumni and others on social media railed against the “Brightwell” proposal after Miller announced it during the university’s Spring Convocation on Jan. 8, with some questioning the process’ transparency. Critics argued that the name, which a task force selected, had no ties to the university’s history or beloved nickname.

“We announced the name here on campus. There was a lot of excitement about it,” Miller said. “But I quickly realized where I had made a critical error. The naming task force was treating this kind of like the advice you give an expectant parent, which is don’t share the names until the baby’s here because people just tell you what’s wrong with it. So that’s what we did but this baby belongs to more of us than the task force.”

Alumni quickly organized to halt the name change.  A change.org petition said the “proposed change does not adequately represent the rich history and legacy of MUW.” The measure had garnered almost 5,000 signatures by press time with many comments encouraging alumni to call legislators to stop the change.

Mississippi House Rep. Kabir Karriem, D-Columbus, told the media on Jan. 11 that he had heard concerns ranging from the meaning of the proposed name to the need for a name that continues to reference “The W.”

Kareem said that the university may need to pause the current process. His district includes Lowndes County,

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