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Vol 38  No 16
June 29, 2006


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July 20, 2006

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Letters to the Editor



New logo fails to project history

Dear Editor,

Late last month, the university launched a new marketing campaign that features a new logo and slogan. The new logo gives the impression that the official name of our university has changed. The “of Newfoundland” is gone and, as a result, so is our geographic identifier. While the new logo may be suitable for t-shirts or ball-caps, it fails to project any concept of history, quality or prestige that are key elements for students seeking an institution of higher learning.

By its design, the new logo is not supposed to represent any particular thing or quality. If that were the purpose of institutional icons, then why not use Rorschach inkblots? An icon that is all things to all people has no real meaning and likely, no lasting value.

Perhaps the former slogan: “Come East. Go Further” has its limitations in a context of global student recruitment, but it is an upbeat message with a definite sense of direction. The new slogan, “become.” has no apparent focus. This is problematic, as one can “become” just about anything ­ good or bad. Is this the message we want to send about our alma mater?

Although legitimate reasons exist for devising new logos and slogans, they can come at a high cost if they stray too far from the successes and careers that have been built by our alumni, students, staff and faculty. I favour a logo that acknowledges and builds on our reputation, and I prefer a slogan that gives students some sense of direction. I encourage you to examine this new logo and slogan and make your opinions known to Dr. Axel Meisen (munpres@mun.ca) and/or Victoria Collins, director, Division of Marketing and Communications, (vcollins@mun.ca). Alternatively, you can view the traditional and new logos and make comments by means of an online petition at www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/746786205?ltl=1150079361

Dr. June Harris
Faculty of Medicine



University name not changed

Dear Editor,

The discussion, both at the June meeting of Senate and subsequently on e-mail, about the name of the university prompts me to express a few thoughts of my own.

First of all, let’s be clear, the process of developing a new “brand” for our university does not mean that the name of the university has itself been changed. The official name still remains Memorial University of Newfoundland.

What prompts this letter is the suggestion by a few that its name is in fact being shortened to Memorial University, and that any name that fails to include reference to Newfoundland is disrespectful to those who served and died in the great wars of the 20th century, because the university was founded as a memorial to them. Yet even were the reference to the province removed from the university’s name, surely so long as “Memorial” remains a part of our name, the notion of a “living memorial” will continue?

Moreover, when it was established, our institution was named Memorial University College, not Memorial University College of Newfoundland.

When Memorial University College was elevated to a full-fledged university in 1949, the words “of Newfoundland” were added to the name (not, I hasten to add, in response to any public pressure but because the Smallwood administration chose to do so).

In other words, from its founding in 1925 until 1949, the name was simply Memorial University College.

Now that the province has officially changed its name to Newfoundland and Labrador, then surely, if the name of the province is to be preserved, the name of the university should be changed to Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador ­ or does anyone suggest that we ignore that significant part of the province? Of course not. Yet Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador would be a cumbersome name.

Even now, most students refer to the university as MUN or simply as Memorial.

For those who take deserved pride in this university, nothing prevents them from continuing to use the full name, just as the university itself, in every official document and letter, will continue to use that name. But if students themselves (yes, and faculty and staff) can resort to the verbal shorthand of MUN or the less ambiguous Memorial, then why not the university itself in certain contexts?

Personally, I would have no objection, were the university and the province to shorten the name to Memorial University. That name would be more consistent with the original name of this institution, it preserves the role of this institution as a “living memorial” to honour those who served in the wars, and it remains a distinctive name ­ there is no other “Memorial University” in the world. (Yes, there are universities elsewhere that include the word “memorial” in their names, just as we do now, but there is no other university named Memorial University).

Of course, all this is moot. The official name has not been shortened to Memorial University, no more than McMaster or Queen’s or Laval or McGill or Dalhousie are the official names of those universities. The shortened version is an unofficial way of identifying the institution, but in all official documents and correspondence, the full name will continue to be used.

I find it ironic that anyone would think that the role of this university as a “living memorial” is undermined by maintaining the word “Memorial” but deleting “of Newfoundland,” words that were never part of the name when the institution was first dedicated to the fallen.

Dr. Olaf Janzen
Sir Wilfred Grenfell College campus
Memorial University of Newfoundland

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