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Name change for Linn State proposed

Name change for Linn State proposed

March 28th, 2013 in News

The campus of Linn State Technical College in Linn, Mo., is seen in this Sept. 7, 2011, file photo.

Photo by The Associated Press /News Tribune.

Would you attend the "State Technical College of Missouri?"

No one testified Wednesday afternoon against that proposed name-change for the Osage County school that's been known as "Linn Tech" since the Linn School District created it in the early 1960s.

It became a state-owned and operated school in 1996, as "Linn State Technical College," and is the only two-year school with a statewide mission.

State Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, served on Linn State's board of regents for six years, and sponsors the bill promoting the name change.

"Linn State is a statewide institution," Kehoe told the Senate's Education Committee. "I believe that a name change reflecting that would be beneficial as we market this institution for our young people, and we move the mission forward to its next stage. ...

"The mission of the technical college is to prepare students for profitable employment and a life of earning."

Kehoe and President Don Claycomb both noted the school's enrollment typically comes from more than 80 percent of the state's 115 counties and St. Louis city.

An 11-page booklet given committee members shows that, since 1996, at least two students have enrolled at Linn State from every county but McDonald, in the state's southwest corner - which has had no Linn State students.

Cole County's 1,049 enrollees from 1996-2012 is the school's largest contingent, with Osage County's 712 enrollees the second-largest group.

Claycomb said the school continues to expand even with its current, "Linn State" name.

And he "would hate to promise" that a name change would create more growth, he told the committee.

But a name change still could benefit that growth, he said.

"I think it's a potential not only for us (but) for the state of Missouri," Claycomb explained. "For example, we are looking at more and more partnerships with industry, and partnerships that go beyond the state's borders."

Kehoe said: "I think that this type of environment - this type of educational system in our state - is critical, because not all kids are cut out to go to a traditional, four-year college.

"Linn State certainly has done a good job of educating students."

Kehoe also explained some of Linn State Tech's history.

"It was originally located in, literally, Quonset huts that were acquired from Army surplus," he said. "The school has grown and matured to the point where it became a state school over a decade ago."

Claycomb now is in his 20th year as the school's chief executive.

He helped Linn Tech make the transition to a state school and then move from the buildings behind the old Linn High School to its new, modern campus just east of Linn.

Jerri Voss - publisher of The Unterrified Democrat weekly newspaper and a former six-year member of both the Lincoln University Board of Curators and the statewide Coordinating Board of Higher Education - told the panel about a recent community meeting called to discuss the school's proposed name change.

"Most of us felt ... that this is, in a way, bitter-sweet," Voss reported. "There's some sentimentalities to maintaining the name "Linn.'

"But we realize in our area that, if the school is ever to achieve its statewide mission, this is the next step. This is where it's going ... and we would like to see this name change."

If lawmakers approve the plan and Gov. Jay Nixon signs it, the name change would take effect on July 1, 2014.

Accompanying photo: Linn Tech campus (file photo)