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The Name Game

Dorianna Valerio

As of January 2012, all Long Island University campuses will be rebranded.  C.W. Post will be known as L.I.U.- Post, and the other campuses will experience similar changes. However, new information suggests that the “C.W.” may not be dropped after all.

“We are not going to lose the ‘C.W.,’” said Alum and Board of Trustees member Michael Emmerman (’67).  According to Emmerman, who was briefed on the rebranding process and saw the final product about two weeks ago, the rebranding material will say L.I.U.- Post.  However, Emmerman said, “I believe that on our printed material it will still say C.W. Post.”

Rita Langdon, the Associate Provost and Director of Public Relations, said the following in an email: “The higher education community, prospective students and the public will come to know the campus as L.I.U. – Post, which will be reflected in marketing materials, logo items and signage.” She added, “The campus will continue to be registered with New York State as Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus.”

What appears to be undisputed is that feelings about the name change are mixed, especially among alumni.  Assistant Professor of Foreign Language Richard Auletta said, “Several generations of students and alumni have known our campus simply as “C.W. Post,” which is pretty much how the surrounding community sees us.”

Auletta, a former fraternity member and alum of Post who has been in contact with over a hundred of his fraternity brothers, said they only know the school as C.W. Post.  He added that,  “any name change, certainly one which truncates the name C.W. Post, would alienate the students of yesteryear even more.”

On the other hand, alum and trustee Stan Barshay (’60) said, “I love the name change. Many graduates of Post have used L.I.U. on their resumes or when they’re talking about the school they graduated from.  L.I.U. is better known throughout the country and speaks of a large and more successful university.”

“To completely rename C.W. Post as ‘L.I.U. – Post’ might confuse some people, especially prospective students.  Most people know the school as C.W. Post of Long Island University.  I just hope the name change doesn’t confuse students,” said Kayla Krause, 2010 alum and former co-editor-in-chief of the Pioneer.  However, she said, “I think the community could benefit from a fresh change.”

Dr. James Owston, the dean of online and individual learning at Mountain State University who has written his dissertation, “Survival of the Fittest? The Rebranding of the West Virginia Higher Education,” about university name change, said, “I think most students are oblivious to name change initiatives.  There is less brand loyalty these days, and in a lifetime of traditional students many things have been rebranded.  I don’t think most students worry about it. You are more likely to offend alumni than currents students, who are focused on getting their degrees and getting a job.”

Dr. Owston said schools in the United States have been rebranding throughout their histories, adding, “this is not a new trend, as you will find that many institutions have been rebranded several times.”

According to Dr. Owston, some schools that have rebranded themselves are: the College of New Jersey, which was known as Trenton State College, Truman State University, which was once Northeast Missouri State University, and Mountain State University, formerly the College of West Virginia.

For now, our community will have to wait and see if Long Island University will need to rebrand itself more than once and if the rebranding initiative will truly be beneficial.  Trustee Emmerman said, “I believe this will be very beneficial to all the L.I.U. stakeholders, students, faculty and administration.”

“Only time will tell if this business tactic will gain more incoming freshman and keep enrolled students,” said Samantha Bishal, 2011 alum and former co-editor-in-chief of the Pioneer.

Dr. Owston agreed that rebranding can be beneficial, “but it is not isolated to the name.  It is what you do with name.  It has to be perceived as genuine.  It has to make sense. It has to be supported by stakeholders. If not, it will probably fail.”

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