Named Keene Normal School in 1909 and later changed to Keene Teachers College, the college’s name has undergone many changes over the years.
Here at Keene Teachers College in the early 1960s, students were itching for the college’s name to be changed to reflect a more liberal arts education, in addition to teacher training. In the June 8, 1961 edition of The Monadnock, The Equinox’s prior title, a bill was introduced that much of the college had long been waiting for.
“Here is the bill that will grant us the right to teach liberal arts, as well as teacher training. In better words, you soon may graduate from Keene with a BE or a BA. It does not, from the wording, say we can change our name from a state teacher institution to a plain state college! Maybe that will come later, or perhaps that can be done without a bill to say we can do so,” The Monadnock stated.
Being able to teach liberal arts at the college was a milestone in itself, but the institution’s name change? That came just two years later in 1963.
In the May 16, 1963 edition of The Monadnock, KTC students addressed their concern with the board of trustees: Should the college’s name be changed to the University of New Hampshire at Keene? Or should it be changed to Keene State College (KSC)?
As reported by The Monadnock, Senate Bill 68 (SB 68), which was introduced by Interim Commission members, addressed seven concerns. A few of them included:
Both KTC and Plymouth Teacher’s College (PTC) to become multi-purpose institutions with more selection of courses.
Members of the faculty at the two teachers colleges would no longer be classified as state employees.
A junior college program to be set up at each teachers college.
KTC’s name would change to the University of New Hampshire at Keene and the same would go for PTC. The University of New Hampshire, however, would stay the same.
This would go into effect July 1, 1964.
In response, Governor John W. King introduced House Bill 547, which called for many of the same things HB 68 called for with the change of one thing. “…the governor recommends that the teachers colleges’ names be changed to Keene State College and Plymouth State College,” stated The Monadnock.
Of the two names, Keene State College (KSC) or University of New Hampshire at Keene, he preferred the latter because of its greater prestige value to the student body and our graduates in the years to come. In an interview with President Lloyd P. Young, he said, “We would be in line for greater benefits…that up to now, would only benefit the university.”
In a KTC faculty meeting, a vote was cast 2-1 in favor of the name being changed to Keene State College (KSC).
“Regardless of this, and it is not unanimous by any means, our name will be changed by July 1, 1963,” The Monadnock reported, and the rest is history.
Jessica Ricard can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org