The biggest news in education this past couple of days was the renaming of Ryerson University to Toronto Metropolitan University. As I look at the building in this picture, I see both the name Ryerson and RU.
Reportedly, there was a list of 2500+ suggested names that were shortlisted and Toronto Metropolitan University was chosen. The reason for the name change goes back to residential schools and I think we all recall the tearing down of Ryerson’s statue last summer.
This brought back memories for me of another university name change – Waterloo Lutheran University to Wilfrid Laurier University. There was a sense of continuity with the abbreviation WLU.
Not so, in this case. It’s a complete break from the previous name and there will be an enormous effort made to make all the name changes. Definitely, all the signage on and in the buildings will be changed. If you’ve ever walked the campus, you know that there’s naming everywhere. (just like any other university)
A wise business person once told me that you can forget everything but you’ll still succeed in business if you remember their name. Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) will undoubtedly embark on a mission to let everyone know the new name and to build their “New Chapter”.
There will be a great deal of work ahead removing all of the existing signage and replacing it with the new identity. I suspect that it will be expedited to the best of abilities to make the switch. The university is quick to note that it’s a name change and their core values remain the same. Guidance about the changes and how to proceed, including getting a reissue of your degree with the new university name, can be found here.
We also live in a heavily digital world. In addition to the physical signs, there’s all the work that will be required to change web pages, social media, email addresses, etc. That won’t happen overnight but it’s already showing at the university website and related resources.
I can’t imagine all of the work and effort that will be required to make all this happen. It all reinforces the importance of a name and is a reminder to all of us that our name and identity is what’s outward facing.