By Brian Koonce
HANNIBAL – After lawyers determined the bylaws of the school required a greater majority to ask the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) for a name change, Hannibal-LaGrange College (HLG) trustees voted a third time to recommend changing the name of the institution to “University of Hannibal.”
Messengers to the MBC Annual Meeting Oct. 25-27 in Springfield will now take up the question. If the convention votes to approve the change to University of Hannibal, the name changes would legally take place immediately after the Convention’s vote. For practical purposes, HLG officials said they would begin the switch Jan. 1, 2011.
The college’s bylaws require a two-thirds majority vote of the board on such an action, which had previously been interpreted as meaning two-thirds of those present, but ultimately as two-thirds of the full board of 28. The Oct. 18 vote by conference call was 19-7, just barely making the two-thirds requirement. A Sept. 10, vote was 15-5 in favor of the name change and the initial vote in May was 10-2 in favor. The full board is 30, but two have resigned, making it 28.
Some trustees had questioned the process of voting on the name change and whether the board was being responsive to critics of the name swap.
According to a report distributed by HLG in July, school officials had been informally considering the idea of a name change for several years, and an ad hoc committee of a handful of trustees began studying the question in earnest last November. Other name options originally discussed but not voted on were Hannibal-LaGrange University and Hannibal Baptist University.
The official HLG report estimates the cost of the change at $27,000-$30,000 including a new large highway sign, entrance column seals, interior graphics and banners, displays, bus/van lettering and other branding projects. Athletic uniforms, letterhead, business cards and the like will be updated incrementally “per normal budget allowances.” The cost of a marketing plan is estimated at a 20-30 percent increase in the college advertising budget for the first 12-18 months.