Re: “Opposition to name change prompts USM to put proposal on hold” (Dec. 6):

Perhaps it was the impact of the recent king tide, when “the wave of the great sea is noisy; (and) Winter has begun to raise it” (ninth-century Irish poem), that caused the University of Southern Maine to hit the pause button in its campaign to rename itself “University of Maine at Portland.”

Or did legislators ask USM President Glenn Cummings, “How do I name thee, Let me count the ways”? Gorham Normal School, established 1878, evolved to Gorham State College in 1964. Portland University opened in 1921, merged with Portland Junior College in 1933 and joined the university system in 1957, when it became the University of Maine at Portland.

Old-timers may remember – with a smile – the short-lived merger of Gorham State College and the University of Maine at Portland in 1970, which gave birth to the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham. It was promptly nicknamed “PoGo.” After eight years, PoGo morphed to University of Southern Maine and in 1988 added its Lewiston-Auburn campus.

What’s in a name?

that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;

So USM would, were it not University of Southern Maine call’d,

Retain that dear perfection which it owes

Without that title. USM, doff thy name,

And spurn that name which is no part of thee.

Thus would say the Bard of Avon, “Romeo & Juliet.” Act 2, Scene 2.

Robert Lyons


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