Those suggesting a change in name from the University of Southern Maine to the University of Maine at Portland (Jan. 14) have perhaps not considered the negative impact of such a change.

It would be inaccurate and confusing to give the university a Portland-only label, when it also has campuses in Gorham and Lewiston. For those who wish to capitalize on the association of the university and Maine’s largest city, it is doubtful that many people need to be reminded that one of the university’s campuses is in Portland. Guidance counselors worth their salt also know where USM campuses are located.

USM’s extensive athletic programs are held on the Gorham campus, and opposing teams traveling from all the other New England states don’t need to be confused by a university name that sends them to Portland. While the Portland site has limited available space for expansion, the Gorham location enjoys a large amount of open space for future growth and development.

Also: Have proponents of the university name change attempted to determine how much it would cost? The list of things needing new identification would include, among other things, every athletic uniform, every piece of printed material, every sign and every mislabeled piece of equipment that would have to be replaced. There are better uses for taxpayers’ dollars.

Changing name recognition in the eyes of the general public would also be an unnecessary challenge, and I doubt that the thousands of proud alumni of the University of Southern Maine would welcome a need for new allegiance to a name laid to rest in the 1970s. Let’s face it – changing the University of Southern Maine’s name is an ill-conceived idea with many bad unintended consequences.

Linda McLoon


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