MUNCIE — The recent announcement that Indiana Business College had changed its name to Harrison College was overdue for some of the institution’s 5,500 students.
After more than a century, the college had outgrown not only the state’s boundaries but the narrow definition of business studies.
"We have 30 degree programs in five different fields of study," said Charlene Sample, executive director of Harrison College’s Muncie campus on West Riggin Road. "Besides business, we have degrees in criminal justice, health sciences, information technology and veterinary technology. The majority of our students are not in business [programs]."
Sample said that students were "excited" to put Harrison College stickers in their car windows after the announcement was made.
Besides the belief that Indiana Business College had moved beyond just business studies is news of plans to open a campus in Columbus, Ohio, this fall.
"It makes so much sense to go to the name Harrison College," Sample said. "Not being just a business college and not just in Indiana."
The school already had 1,000 students in 34 states and five countries who study primarily online, so IBC had reached beyond the state line even before it changed its name.
The new name is assumed by many to be a reference to two U.S. presidents with Indiana ties, Benjamin Harrison and William Henry Harrison, but IBC officials have not played up that connection.
"When they did research for the name, they wanted a name with a strong sense of Indiana, a name that had a history and heritage in the state and could build a foundation for the future," Sample said.
Mike Newell, an instructor, said Monday he liked the name change and thought it projected the right image of Indiana and higher education.
Ken Konesco, president and CEO of the college, announced the name change. Konesco has owned the school since 1986.
Harrison College has 12 campuses in Indiana. Among its recent ventures is The Chef’s Academy. IBC was founded in 1902 as Marion Business College in Marion.
The school has seen a 58-percent increase in enrollment since 2008, and Sample said the economy has played a role in that growth.
"Some of our students used to be the ones who said, ‘I need a degree to advance.’ Now we’re getting students who say, ‘I can’t find a job out there.’" (Star Press)