NYS approves name change to St. John Fisher University

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – If you have anything that says St. John Fisher College on it—save it. It will be a local collector’s item soon.

That’s because effective July 1st, the school will change to St. John Fisher University. News10NBC was watching the New York State Board of Regents when they approved the name change this morning.

"All those in favor?" the chair asked.

"Aye," the regents answered.

Honestly, the vote of the Board of Regents was underwhelming for such a big change. In two and a half weeks, Fisher goes from college to University.

"Alright, show me that diploma," I said to Marty McCarthy.

McCarthy is a lawyer and graduated from Fisher in the 90s. His diploma hanging in his office at the Hall of Justice says "college."

He remembers being a student of future Fisher president Donald Bain.

"We would talk a lot about his dream to have St. John Fisher be a university," McCarthy said. "His presidency didn’t last long enough to see Fisher become a university, but I imagine he’s somewhere smiling right now."

Fisher is the eleventh college in New York to become a university this year. The state changed the requirements in January. The biggest factor is marketing. The university label attracts international students.

"Internationally, a lot of people look at college as being a two-year technical school," said Jason MacLeod, chief of staff at D’Youville University in Buffalo.

D’Youville University was changed from a college in February.

Brean: "What changes have you seen since you made that transition?"

MacLeod, D’Youville University: "We’re seeing a variety of changes across the board from our ability to attract and retain employees. Our ability to recruit students on the international market."

"What are you going to do with all your Fisher swag that says college?" I asked McCarthy.

"Well, I’m going to go to the alumni department and I’m going to ask for free upgrades to my St. John Fisher University mug," he said with a smile.

D’Youville says it started transitioning two years ago, removing the word college from merchandise and letterhead.

St. John Fisher College wouldn’t talk on camera today. They’re planning a big announcement soon.

Nazareth College and Roberts Wesleyan College have told me they’re considering a change to university.