I am disappointed in the Board of Trustees’ decision to change the name of The University of Southern Maine. Over the course of 40 years, the population of my fellow USM alumni/ae has swelled to the point where the name – The University of Southern Maine – draws considerable recognition and familiarity.

This issue now goes to the Legislature, and it is my hope that it is defeated.

My primary concern is the Board of Trustees’ apparent contempt for the impact such a name change would pose for the 40 years’ worth of alumni/ae. By washing away the value of the University of Southern Maine brand, they have effectively stamped an asterisk onto the diplomas earned by USM’s alumni.

There is also a whole line of argument about the flawed thinking behind spending $1.2 million (at last count) on a cosmetic name change. Meanwhile, the Gorham campus remains sullied with two huge white elephant buildings (Dickey and Wood Halls), the removal of which the state declines to adequately fund. I will simply note my agreement about the poor priority selection it represents.

The entire Southern Maine community deserves a reinvestment in the quality of the institution and a re-dedication to the worth of popular name recognition that has been built. This will attract students more than a superficial name change. Please respect the legacy of the school and keep University of Southern Maine’s identity intact.

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