Having started college at Aroostook State Teachers College and graduated from the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham in 1972, I have seen a few name changes come and go in the university system.

Now that the Press Herald Editorial Board has endorsed University of Southern Maine President Glenn Cummings’ proposed name change (Our View, Feb. 19), I wonder if name change clarifications will begin to spread.

Right here in Maine, maybe things will start in Brunswick. If I went to Bowdoin, Maine, to find Bowdoin College, I’d miss it by a good 10 miles. “Brunswick College” is a much better idea.

Up the road at Colby, things are very unclear. Should I head for Colby, Kansas? “Waterville College” is much clearer.

To round out the Big Three in Maine, let’s go to Bates. Where is Bates? Who knows?

Across the nation the problem is the same. How about Duke? A good name for a dog, but a college? “University of Durham” would be much clearer.

What about the esteemed Harvard? Harvard, Massachusetts, is 30 miles from the university of the same name.

Despite these confusing names, somehow college students and their parents and counselors figure out where these institutions are.

I suppose they are found on their educational strengths and fine reputations.

As the University of Southern Maine grows and earns a strong reputation, students will certainly know how to find it. Imagine the confusion of going to the University of Maine at Portland and waking up at a dorm in Gorham. How did that happen?

Let’s leave the name alone and continue to make the University of Southern Maine a place students are attracted to.


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