Editorial: What’s wrong with Mankato State Univ.?

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 3, 2006

What’s in a name?

When it comes to the Minnesota State Colleges and University System, probably not a better education.

The change from Mankato State University to Minnesota State University, Mankato, took place a couple years ago, and people still refer to it as Mankato State. At the time of the name change, school officials said the new name reflects a growing national and international presence with its programs in wireless communication, computer science and other areas.

What’s more, it was said having the name &8220;Minnesota&8221; come before &8220;Mankato&8221; brings more instant recognition with people who live outside Minnesota.

That may be true for people from out of state, but probably not for Minnesota residents. And Minnesota residents make up the great majority of the student population.

Officials also said research shows the public perception is that universities with state names have more credibility than those with city names. In other words, it looks better on a rsum.

But are the students getting a better education because of the name change? Probably not. And isn’t that really what it’s all about?

Other state universities have examined or will examine the name change issue. If they truly believe a change to have the university name begin with &8220;Minnesota&8221; will gain wider recognition for the institution, and consequently a better education for students, it should certainly take place.

But if it’s simply a change for the sake of change which only results in a lot of money being spent on new signage, letterhead, Web sites, and all the other hundreds of items that bear a university’s name, it’s not gaining anything.