Reader: Metro State name change to Denver State will cause confusion with DU

We had a lot of fun with our recent top ten suggestions for new Metro State names other than Denver State -- but many of the comments have taken the proposed moniker swap very seriously. Among the more interesting is a post suggesting that Denver State will cause confusion with the University of Denver.

Dggoddard writes:

University of Denver alums and students are almost universally opposed to this name change. There is no doubt that the branding company & Metro administrators intent was to poach DU's reputation.

The real confusion will come out of state and at the end of the day Metro alums will have to handle all the awkward questions about, "Did you know so and so who went to DU."

Come up with a unique name that symbolizes the city or the state and build your own reputation.

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39 comments
<3 Metro State
<3 Metro State

Having sought out and researched potential colleges much more recently than many of DU's alumni, I can tell you that DU's primary concern of brand confusion is not likely to be all the big of a deal. For instance, many students who check out colleges do research. Research mainly consists of attempts to locate a school's physical location, the quality of its education, the quality and consistency of its educational staff and facilities, the history of the school, the quality of their sports programs, and most importantly: the cost. 

DU has many things going for it! 150 years of educational excellence. A long history of dominance in Collegiate Hockey. A beautiful campus that is constantly expanded and improved. A distinguished record of graduating top leaders in many fields. A notable selection of alumni. Oh, and how could one forget! The magic Ivy League-status tuition!

I guarantee you even prospective students from out of state, the apparent source of much of DU's income, err... student body, can quickly identify the difference between the Harvard of the Rockies and a school such as Metro State by briefly perusing the schools' websites. Metro's campus looks nothing what you'd expect an Ivory Tower of a school to look like. It doesn't have any notable sports teams, or a history reaching back further than 45 years! The Metro website proudly announces that it accepts and reaches out to students of all types (quite the contrary to DU's rigorous acceptance standards). 

Let's stop beating around the bush. DU is a company. It charges a large amount of money for a prestigious degree and doesn't want its brand, its 'trademark', infringed by a small state school.  This is a clear case that Joe Millionaire, father of Billy Millionaire, doesn't want his son's B.Bus tainted by Joe Plumber's son's public university. Yeah, I went there.

S.C. Boettcher
S.C. Boettcher

Denver State is quite possibly the dumbest of choices they could have made.  Last I heard, Colorado is a State, Denver is a city.  I would never confuse DSU for DU, but that's probably most likely because I am a DU alumni.  My only issue with the name "Denver State" is that it is incredibly stupid.

Joe Stepniak
Joe Stepniak

At a time when funds are limited and Schools are asking for more taxpayer funds for their needs, a name change and all of the associated costs are the last thing they need.  CU just spent $800,000 to change their logo.  What elitist, arrogant crap.

Jesse
Jesse

Denver State University and University of Denver are easily and very clearly distinguishable. One is state funded and one is private. The development and expansion of Metro State will contribute to the growth of the entire higher education community in Colorado. The desire to be recognized as a respected state university should not be ignored just because of a letter difference in the initials of both respective universities.

lauren
lauren

It will only cause confusion if you are an IDIOT.

Roadrunner
Roadrunner

Metro State's leadership has reached out to the chancellor and other leadership at DU to discuss the issue transparently and fully. There was more concern with the option Metropolitan State University of Denver (given Univeristy of Denver is fully contained in the name). Furthermore, there are many states that have a similar structure: as a few examples: Univesity of Portland (private) and Portland State Univeristy (large/public/urban). the University of San Diego and San Diago State (as well as the University of California-San Diego), the University of Chicago and Chicago State University....and countless others.

Roadrunner
Roadrunner

Metro State's leadership has reached out to the chancellor and other leadership at DU to discuss the issue transparently and fully. There was more concern with the option Metropolitan State University of Denver (given Univeristy of Denver is fully contained in the name). Furthermore, there are many states that have a similar structure: as a few examples: Univesity of Portland (private) and Portland State Univeristy (large/public/urban). the University of San Diego and San Diago State (as well as the University of California-San Diego), the University of Chicago and Chicago State University....and countless others.

Guest
Guest

Sure, because Metro students are univerally dumber than DU students and can't tell the difference between two letters and three. Heck, we're poor and brown; how can we possibly be expected to understand what the fancy word "state" in a higher education institute's name means?

Rockies Fan
Rockies Fan

Ask CU and CSU how they handle it? Not much difference...

Peoplearestupid!
Peoplearestupid!

How so? There are at least 30 other instances of _____ and ______ State University. Do you confuse CU and CSU? Texas and Texas State? Oklahoma and Oklahoma State? kansas and Kansas State?

Dggoddard
Dggoddard

Branding and trademark infringement are far more important today than just 30 years ago.

Since 1997 DU has spent almost $400 million dollars in construction projects. The University of Denver has over $400 million in revenue annually which gets pumped into the Denver and Colorado economies.

Factor in what the students, faculty and staff spend off campus. Then factor in the money spent by visitors to the university including parents, visiting teams, conference attendees and daily visitors to the university.

The net economic impact to the city and the state would easily be in the billions.

We are asking is for Metro to come up with a unique name that does dilute the school's branding efforts locally and nationally. Since Metro is funded by the taxpayers, we hope that the legislators are listening.

Brianrovegno
Brianrovegno

Please. Such an assertion is ridiculous. I am from Buffalo, NY, where there are 2 major universities named THE UNIVERSITY OF BUFFALO and BUFFALO STATE UNIVERSITY. I can promise you that the two are NEVER confused.

I would think that these DU alums and students would realize that it's DU's reputation that should differentiate it, not the moniker.

CIS
CIS

As a University of Denver alum, I am troubled by the potential name change of Metro State College to "Denver State University". I worked very hard to earn an MBA at the University of Denver. I am proud of my accomplishment, and appreciate the credibility the degree affords me, especially regionally. DU is called "DU" because it dates back to an historical custom in the 1800s. DU is almost 150 years old. There are buildings on campus in the National Register of Historic Places. That is tradition, and reputation. Metro has been around since the 1960s.

Any school that feels it needs to change its name obviously feels it has poor brand recognition. I do not want said school (Metro) choosing a new name that overtly mimics the historical moniker of DU.

Good luck to Metro. I applaud their commitment to continuous improvement and seeking a new level of quality and respect. They need to do so on their own merit though, not on the back of a much older - and frankly more respected - institution.

Pioneer Man
Pioneer Man

DU's 'reverse abbreviation' dates back about 100 years as part of a midwestern sports tradition of initial revsersal. For example, The University of Colorado is known here as 'CU' and not UC, the University of Kansas is 'KU', the University of Oklahoma is 'OU', the University of Nebraska is "NU", the University of Tulsa is "TU", etc. No one is sure why this tradition began, but it is deep-rooted.

What is sure is that 'DU' has been 'DU' longer than any metro graduate has been alive.

Metro could avoid thos issue by selecting the University of Central Colorado if they must have a geographic-locator-based name.

DU has enough issues being confused with CU in out-of state contexts. We Pioneers do not need further local dilution from local poachers intent on waterskiing behind the equity DU has built over its nearly 150 years by carrying the city name with pride and distinction.

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

Undoubtedly the University of Denver does not want Metro State to be mistaken for it, but it has contributed to the problem by using an abbreviation appropriate for an institution named "Denver University" -- duh! You may have to content yourself with the suspicion that Metro State does want to be mistaken for UD

<3 ur friends @ DSU
<3 ur friends @ DSU

If you were a Boettcher Scholar, let alone a DU graduate, you may be smart enough to recognize that the "State" in a school name doesn't refer to the actual geographic location of said school. I'm pretty sure prospective students to the Colorado State University know that Colorado is a state. Rather it, as you probably well know using the knowledge gained from your $50,000 education, that the "State" refers to the fact that such an institution is a  "State School"; a pblic institution paid for in part by public and (you guess it!) state funds!

Now, its no longer hard to understand why the alumni at DU are so upset about a change of name of a nearby public school to Denver State University if they can't distinguish the meaning of the term State in said school's name. Perhaps you could come visit our beautiful, $5000/semester campus, and come distinguish the difference for yourself! I promise you, it will all become much more apparent very quickly.

Robert
Robert

-- but no one has done that here. Several comments acknowledge that Metro State wants "to be recognized as a respected state university", but also suggest it isn't much (respected), and some graduates of DU are incensed because they think that Metro is trying to gratify its desire by encroaching on DU's brand.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Interesting examples, Roadrunner. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Dggoddard
Dggoddard

Playing the race card. Stay classy Metro.

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

Consider that they may more worried about their own getting confused than students of whatever shade at Metro State. There is great concern about brands and the confusion of abbreviations emanating from DU's partisans; it may be a problem peculiar to the Daniels School of Business there.

Dggoddard
Dggoddard

You listed universities named after states. When two universities named after the same cities, confusion ensues.

Not a big deal!
Not a big deal!

About 7 years ago, Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, TX (just south of Austin) changed their name to Texas State University. Nobody has confused it with the University of Texas. The situations of the schools in question are very similar, on a much larger scale. I think the DU folks are making a mountain out of a molehill. DU's branding will not be affected, nor will anyone's perception of anyone affiliated with Denver University.

Elwood
Elwood

We get calls at DU all the time confusing us with UCD.

Pioneer Man
Pioneer Man

There are many analogues. The University of Chicago is a private powerhouse that isn't often confused with the underfunded commuter school Chicago State University either, but the U of C has a global brand and Chicago State doesn't. DU isn't quite there yet -- it has a powerful regional brand, but nationally, it is still confused with CU in Boulder - just ask one of the many DU out of state students who go home for break and have to answer questions about Boulder from people who don't know about DU's Denver location or private status. With Denver State U trying to get in on the three way local action with DU and UCD, DU is being squeezed not just nationally but regionally. I'd say it is a lot like the University of Portland (private and small) and Portland State (public and larger). Or the University of San Diego (Small Private) and San Diego State (public) and UCSD (Public). In all these scenarios, it's the small private school suffering from brand dilution. Buffalo State and University at Buffalo aren't that confused in Buffalo, but nationally, they probably are....

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

There might be much more confusion in Colorado as to the difference between "DU" and "DSU" than in New York. Do you mean the "University at Buffalo" (UB) and "Buffalo State College"? I don't see any abbreviation for the latter institution.

AJ
AJ

First of all, University of Denver shouldn't have a say in the matter...or should Metro get to decide what Univ. of Denver ought to call itself. Secondly, Metro educates more citizens of this state than any other institution of higher learning, AND it is located in the heart of Denver--it deserves to call itself by a name that reflects those facts. Why should an institution that caters to wealthy folks from outside of the Denver area get to monopolize on the word Denver. Presumptuous snobs!

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

Thanks; I thought I didn't grasp all the subtleties. Still, if as you indicate, the University of Denver considers that the University of Colorado in Denver being mistaken for it is a problem, and Metro is determined to be DSU, perhaps DU could trade some deep-rooted Midwesternism for more brand-name-bandwidth by becoming UD. I see where you're coming from; the Denver franchise was yours, UCD took some, now Metro wants a three-way split, and has the gall to stick "Denver" in front of their name, with the added effrontery that "Denver State University" and "DSU" are NOT in the reverse order dictated by hoary tradition here in the American Midwest.

Noah's ark
Noah's ark

@Dggoddard "Branding and trademark infringement are far more important today than just 30 years ago." You are correct.

By the way, I don't think you should discount the fact that, in addition to a variety of other construction projects, MSCD is building a $100 million dollar hotel on their campus this year. Does that not contribute to the Colorado economy? Let alone all the other state and private institutions in Colorado. We appreciate your great point of how DU contributes to our economy, but it is not the only one that does.

Not a big deal!
Not a big deal!

No, no confusion. Univ of San Diego and San Diego State, University of Chicago, Chicago State, 2 different schools, different students, different strengths, different parts of town. Heck, if Albany can figure it out, so can Denver!

denveh
denveh

Clearly no one confuses any texas school with the University of Texas. It is a huge school with national recognition. The scale of this issue with the UNIVERSITY OF DENVER (not Denver University) is what makes this unique. DU is a small private school that is often confused with CU and CU-D be those outside of the Rocky Mountain area.

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

-- so DU can capitalize on the mistake: tell callers that for only about $28,000 more they can associate themselves with a powerful brand.

Will Breathes
Will Breathes

fwiw, UD is commonly used to refer to the University of Dayton (Ohio).

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

No, no, that wouldn't work either -- UD, UCD, DSU, CCD. Perhaps a commission could decide that the maximum number of institutions of higher learning including "Denver" in their names needed to serve students in the area is exactly three. I am a little startled to see so vehement response from DU supporters; I should have thought that you would rather rely on what one might assume was the great gulf separating your institutions to do all the talking.

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

Is it? This is your first mention of enlisting the General Assembly in trying to assert ownership (joint ownership with UCD and CCD?) of "Denver" in reference to a college. or do you intend to have them simply outlaw the adoption of "Denver State University" and "Metropolitan State University of Denver" outright?

Dggoddard
Dggoddard

You make a great point.

The Colorado state universities contribute far more to the local and state economy than DU. My point is that the legislature should do what it can to "protect" DU's brand recognizing that its an important and unique resource to Denver and Colorado.

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

a genuinely bad idea then. I guess DSU will be able to poach a few students who don't know the difference while being pulled by that ski-boat of equity, DU.

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