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Vol 38  No 17
July 20, 2006



In Brief


Letter to the Editor

New Faculty

News & Notes


Out and About


Next issue:
Aug. 10, 2006

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Letter to the Editor

Alternative interpretation

Dear Editor,

I would like to comment on one of the points Dr. Olaf Janzen made in his recent letter (University name not changed, June 29, 2006), not because it is incorrect, but because there is an alternative interpretation. I would also to correct what I believe to be an incorrect understanding of the university’s intended policy with respect to the new logo which incorporates a shortened form of the institution’s name.

Dr. Janzen is correct in pointing out that the original name of our institution was Memorial University College so that during the first 25 years of its existence, the name of the province was not an integral part of the name of the institution. However, when the college became a university in 1949, the official name was changed to Memorial University of Newfoundland. What this means ­ and this is the alternative interpretation of the facts Dr. Janzen presented ­ is that for the 57 years that we have been a university, the official name has been as it is today. “Newfoundland” has, therefore, been a part of the institutional name for more than twice as long as it has not.

Dr. Janzen is also correct that the official name of the university has not changed.

Unfortunately, he is incorrect in his assertion that “in all official documents and correspondence the full name will continue to be used.” The Division of Marketing and Communication website, and various public pronouncements by the director of the division, lead one to a different conclusion. It is my understanding that by September, all letterhead, exterior signage, promotional materials, and vehicles will bear only the new logo and the name Memorial University. It is likely that the only time the full university name and crest will appear in public is at convocation and other similar ceremonial occasions. What this means is that for most people, in most places, most of the time, we will be simply Memorial University, and the icon attached to that will be the new claret … shape.

Perhaps this marketing strategy will attract so many new students from places beyond our borders that the worst consequences of the province’s changing demographic structure will be averted. This is the rationale that has been advanced in defence of the new brand. I am not convinced. However, I do believe it is very unfortunate that the university community as a whole was not given the opportunity to provide input to the fundamental question of whether a new “brand” was necessary or acceptable.

Chris Sharpe
Department of Geography


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