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OWCC Becomes OWC July 1

06/21/2004

The name of Okaloosa-Walton Community College will permanently change to Okaloosa-Walton College on July 1, reflecting the college's new status as an institution accredited to grant bachelor's degrees. OWCC joins three other community colleges, from among Florida's 28 public 2-year institutions, which are now authorized by the state to offer four-year degree programs.

"We are thrilled for the opportunities our new bachelor's degree status will offer to area citizens," said Dr. Bob Richburg, OWCC president. Richburg noted that the college's accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools required the name change.

"OWCC has to drop the word 'community' from its title, as 'community college' refers to a two-year degree granting institution. The accreditation board requires a college's name to reflect the highest degree offered," said Richburg.

College signs, the school's web site and e-mail addresses, and other materials are in the process of being changed to reflect the new name. The new college website is www.owc.edu and school e-mail addresses will change to username@owc.edu.

Dr. Jill White, OWCC vice president for instruction, stressed that the college will still offer all its certificate and Associate degree programs of study and well as adult education and literacy programs.

"This fall we're adding new one-year certificate programs in Surgical Technology, Microcomputer Repair and Installation, Preschool, and Infant/Toddler. We also have new Associate degree options in Costuming, Computer Information Administrator and Network Administrator," said White. "Were still very much community focused."

The college's new Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree program in Project and Acquisitions Management will accept applications for Fall term admission through mid-August. More than 130 students have been accepted into the program thus far. The application period for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree closes June 23 and a class of 24 students will be formally accepted by July.

The official process for OWCC to become a 4-year college began in December 2002 when O-W submitted proposals to the Florida Board of Education for authority to grant bachelor's degrees. In April 2003, the college received state approval to offer its own bachelor's degree program in Project and Acquisitions Management and to develop a joint Okaloosa County based bachelor's degree in nursing in partnership with the University of West Florida. Offering bachelor's degrees also required accreditation approval from the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) which was granted in December 2003. A bill passed by the Florida Legislature during its spring 2004 session finalized the process by authorizing the required college name change.

For information, see the OWCC bachelor's degree web site at www.owc.edu/bachelor.