There's been a lot of back-and-forth as to whether or not the University of Akron is changing its official name. Northeast Ohio Media Group published a story last week about the University of Akron Women's Committee who were upset with the new band uniforms that no longer feature the word "Akron" or the letter "A". The committee is concerned that it could be the next step in the direction of a name change.
UA officials responded, stating that "Z" is unique, and helps UA with its marketing. But concerns only grew when NEOMG published a photo of a slide that was reportedly shown by university officials at presentations. It showed three different logos -- with the business name as "The Ohio Tech University."
University officials are once again working to clear up any confusion or rumors circulating the web.
In an email, UA spokesman Wayne Hill says the slide referenced in NEOMG's story was introduced several months ago when the university was exploring "a name change as part of strategic planning conversations." But he says the name change was "considered and then discarded." That's when UA decided to move forward with rebranding the university as "Ohio's Polytechnic University."
Also -- there are currently no active trademarks related to a possible name change, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) online database. But there are trademark files related to updating the university's logo to include "Ohio's Polytechnic University" -- which is currently being used on the university's website and in publications.
The most recent logo/design was issued on September 3rd -- which featured UA's mascot, Zippy, who appears to be wearing the athletic logo "Z" on his shirt instead of the letter "A."
For those who were concerned about a possible name change at the University of Akron, UA's president says it's not happening.
In a message sent across campus today, university president Scott Scarborough said it directly: "Let me state clearly: We are not proposing a name change. But we are seriously discussing how to reposition The University of Akron for greater distinction."
Scarborough's statement says that it is time to, "put an end to rumors and speculation about a name change that serve only to misinform and divide."
He says talks with a wide group of those involved with the University of Akron show that UA must do "a better job differentiating itself from other universities" and "distinguish itself in the higher education market."
(University of Akron, president Scott Scarborough message) THOUGH THE CAMPUS has been engaged for months in budget review, strategic planning and conversations about our future, nothing has captured the imagination of the entire community as much as the rumors of a name change.
Print and broadcast media, bloggers and petitioners, commentators and pundits are talking about The University of Akron. This should not come as a surprise. People care about our university. People are emotionally attached to certain names (which is why so many still refer to us as Akron U). And there is deep interest in our future.
But there is also a great deal of misinformation fueling the rumors. Let me state clearly: We are not proposing a name change. But we are seriously discussing how to reposition The University of Akron for greater distinction.
The need for repositioning UA emerged from three Vision 2020 Summit meetings that included representatives from the student body, faculty union and faculty leadership, staff, alumni, community, business and industry—historic gatherings of a diverse group of stakeholders discussing our future and the future of this region. During these meetings, I heard many different ideas on how to strengthen and grow our university, but everyone agreed that:
We must do a better job differentiating ourselves from other universities.
We must distinguish ourselves in the higher education market.
We must act now.
Please take a few minutes to listen to the thoughtful and insightful takeaways from the Summit participants, including faculty, in this brief video (courtesy University of Akron/YouTube):
Along with the Vision 2020 Summits, there have been open and transparent discussions across campus about budgets, operations, challenges and strategies to reposition and strengthen the university to better compete in the marketplace. Faculty and union leadership have been involved every step of the way. This is the purest form of shared governance in academia. Most recently, I have hosted strategic planning sessions with faculty in all colleges.
Let me state clearly: We are not proposing a name change. But we are seriously discussing how to reposition The University of Akron for greater distinction.
The budget and strategic planning processes focus on meeting the significant and sobering financial challenges facing our university and on strengthening areas of distinction—from polymers to applied politics, from dance to engineering, from scientific research to technology.
Those individuals who know us best know that UA is especially strong in preparing our students for successful careers, in taking what they learn in class and applying it to work that gets done in the real world.
That is why the word "polytechnic" has come up often in many discussions.
The most well known polytechnic universities (Georgia Tech, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, etc.) are defined by their career-focused, rigorous academic programs in the sciences, arts and humanities; emphasis on critical thinking and complex problem solving; applied and experiential learning; and deep connections to industry and community. We already have many polytechnic programs, approaches and strengths at UA that distinguish us and add tremendous value to a UA degree.
Let's put an end to rumors and speculation about a name change that serve only to misinform and divide.
We can do better. We will do better. Let us uphold the purest ideals of shared governance as we work together to reposition and distinguish The University of Akron to deliver on our promise to be this region's great public university.
(signed) Scott Scarborough
University of Akron President Scott Scarborough appears to be mulling over the idea of changing the name of the school.
The Beacon Journal reports that he'll address the issue at a speech at the City Club of Cleveland on May 15.
No one would confirm the details of the speech, but there's been talk of plans to change the name to reflect the university's strengths in the "polytechnical and professional fields."
There's a petition on Change.org to stop the name change from moving forward. More than 4,100 people have signed the petition as of 8:45 a.m.
The petition states that the president's plan is to change the name to "Ohio Polytech Institute" -- although that has not been confirmed.
More on the web: www.ohio.com
University of Akron President Scott Scarborough has confirmed that there has been discussion on possibly changing the university's name.
He tells the Northeast Ohio Media Group that it was an idea thrown in a brainstorming session, but no word on possible suggestions on a new name.
Scarborough said the new name would reflect the university's strengths in the "polytechnical and professional fields."
On the web: www.cleveland.com