In 2010, the College of Eastern Utah merged with Utah State University. This move saved a financially challenged institution from closure. The merger brought the former rural community college into USU’s statewide campus system and provided a viable business model which has, since 2010, injected new vitality and much needed funding into the Price Campus.
Rather than relying, like CEU, on first- and second-year students living on or near campus, this new business model allowed the campus to send and receive electronic instruction all over the state, increasing the market reach of the Campus, increasing enrollment, importing new opportunity, and setting the Campus on a pathway to improved sustainability and effectiveness.
This past spring in Price, in addition to more than 200 students who completed two-year degrees, 43 students completed four-year degrees, and 11 students completed master’s degrees. By integration with USU’s regional campus system, students now have access to a huge menu of University degrees. Clearly, the Price Campus operations have been fundamentally transformed and improved by merging with USU.
The headline in a recent guest editorial in Logan proclaims that the “Aggie brand” has been “foisted upon USU Eastern.” While we must honor the wonderful history of the Price Campus, looking exclusively backward and resisting the complete integration of the Campus within the USU system will only slow our progress and keep us from reaching our potential. The integration has not been “foisted upon” us; instead, it was a strategic choice we made to build our financial sustainability and ensure our future ability to serve Utah’s people.
We must not signal that our academic programs and degrees are somehow “other” than USU. True, the Founders of the College of Eastern Utah were intelligent, committed, and noble persons, and they built a wonderful institution. And keep in mind, the Campus still exists . . . thanks to Utah State University.
In Eastern Utah, we must look to the future and give our hearts to the great University that saved us. We must be proud Aggies!
Joe Peterson, USUE Chancellor