Is it possible to change an established University name?

Last Year, the University of Western Ontario finally decided to drop the “University of, Ontario” to just Western. This was an attempt to become a more global recognized education institution. When referring to University’s, people like to give them acronyms or short cuts such as University of British Columbia to just UBC, University of Toronto to UT, University of Ottawa to Ottawa U. Rarely do people now refer to University’s as their full name.  There’s always people who love the change and people who strongly detest the name.  UWO received negative comments about their rebranding. A individual tweeted

” @RyanAI87: “I went to the University of Western Ontario, NOT Western University. Please don’t ever call me for a donation. Won’t ever give to you now.”

“The admin is in love with it, the board of governors is in love with it, the board of alumni is in love with it, so I kind of forgot about what the general student would think once they were smacked on the face with this entire upheaval of their brand.”

A question to consider is that, should BOG’s take the student’s consideration when changing the name? I mean, schools’s are essentially businesses and they have their marketing strategies, target customers and implementations. The change of the name as stated is for marketing and promotion and this might be a smart idea because since people already colloquially refer to UWO as “Western”, why not just tailor it to their interest and essentially playing back to what people already call it. Although the legal name of the University , “The University of Western Ontario” has not changed from diplmoas and legal documents, for marketing and promotion purposes they will call themselves “Western”.

Western published a youtube video (shown below) about their change and it recieved as many dislikes as Rebecca Black’s video (Knowlton, 2012). The cost of rebranding the University cost $200,000 according to the school’s media release. Over the past several years, people refer to the school as “Western” and the school thought that the change will permeate that.

In my opinion, I think that Western University is trying to establish themselves alike “Queen’s University” and since Queen’s and Western are the biggest rival University’s in this country, the change of name puts Queen’s and Western on the same front page now.  I might be a bit bias since I went to Queen’s but the change of name might be fitting for establishing new segmentation base such as Geographic, tailoring to more international grounds and demographic to students in Grade 10 to consider Western. Students know Western as “Western” and when asked , What school are you from? , 99% will reply “I go to Western”.


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