More than 8,500 people have voiced their opinion on a possible new name for the College through the online survey, which closed today at 5 p.m. Additionally, more than 700 people have learned about the name change initiative through a variety of outreach efforts since the beginning of the month.
Stacy Lewis and Chuck Gross from Sector Brands, the firm conducting research, have held focus groups, community meetings and one-on-one conversations to include as many voices as possible in the process. The results of the combined research will be among the information the Board of Trustees considers when determining the College’s next steps for the initiative.
It’s not just about the numbers, Lewis said, “anecdotal points are really important.”
On Feb. 24, more than 10 people were a part of the conversation held in the African American community at the Prodigal Son Initiative location on 33rd and Hudson. Journalist and meeting moderator Tamara Banks said she initially thought “what’s the big deal?” Then she thought about if they were to change the name of her alma mater, University of Northern Colorado, and it hit her -- “It is a big deal.”
In her discussions with co-workers, Banks said this initiative has been compared to the 1997 advertising campaign, “The Met,” which sought to change the College nickname. This is a common misconception President Stephen Jordan addressed in his Feb. 9 town hall meeting, saying the decision on The Met identity campaign was not inclusive and did not require legislative approval, which a change in name would.
Former two-term president of the Metro State Alumni Association Gerie Grimes (’87, nonprofit management) said she has received “so many calls” and has been listening to all of the conversations the last few weeks. She conceded that it was challenging for her to let go of the current name.
The name “has been with me so long,” said Grimes, executive director of the Hope Center. She said she would continue the conversation with her staff, most of whom are Metro State alumni.
Director of Equal Opportunity and Assistant to the President Percy Morehouse said, “A lot of people have called me wanting to know why. They didn’t know about the master’s programs.”
Once he told them, they understood and responded, “Metro’s finally growing up and evolving.”
Sector Brand’s Gross reiterated that research had found the use of the word “university” in the name could elevate the whole image of the College. Alternately, Interim Associate to the President for Diversity Myron Anderson said that there were institutions such as Boston College and The College of William and Mary that do not have the word “university” in their name, but they are older.
Metro State is only “45 years old, we don’t have a deep enough history,” said Anderson, emphasizing the importance of the word “university.”
Another person who had no direct affiliation with the College attended, and immediately chose Denver State University, saying it was the simplest. The other names include:
Metropolitan State College of Denver
Metropolitan State University of Denver
University of Central Colorado
Though it may appear to be a simple decision at first, Lewis says eventually people begin to “struggle with it because it’s such a big change. They fear change.”
Virtual Town Hall Meeting
On Feb. 21, the Alumni Relations Office and Alumni Association held a virtual town hall meeting where 433 people logged in at some point to listen to the live discussion with Jordan. Nearly 50 stayed on for the entire time. Six people called with questions and 25 posts on Facebook also included questions.
In the news
Read an editorial from Jordan in the Feb. 22 La Voz.
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