So, the Metropolitan State College of Denver wants a new name. I can understand why. The current name is a bit of a mouthful, and you have to struggle through four words before you get to the one word—Denver—which tells you exactly where on the planet this fine institution is located.
The MSCD folks have offered three finalist names. As a community service, I figured DenverUrbanism should weigh in on the matter, so let’s review them one at a time:
1. Metropolitan State University of Denver
This option offers the least amount of change from the current name (which provides for an easier transition, I suppose), but it suffers from the same “I have to get to the end before I learn where they’re located” problem, while adding an additional three letters to an already long name. I doubt anyone will be upset if they pick this option, but it doesn’t accomplish much in the re-branding department either.
2. University of Central Colorado
This option is just plain awful. Central Colorado… talk about vague. No one will know where the school is located and, besides, Colorado Springs is closer to the geographic center of Colorado than is Denver. This name adds nothing but confusion as to the institution’s location while also being remarkably boring at the same time. This name should be avoided at all costs.
3. Denver State University
This name has merit! It is the snappiest of the three options and it tells you as efficiently as possible what you need to know: It is a state university located in Denver. The abbreviation of DSU also rolls off the tongue nicely and the other universities in the country that go by “DSU” are all located far away and have tiny enrollments compared to Metro State’s hefty 24,000 student population. The name is also different enough from the University of Denver to avoid upsetting the Pioneers.
Thank goodness MSCD has steered clear of suburban-subdivision-sounding names like “The State University at Central Colorado” or using the word “Auraria” in their name, like “Auraria State University”. Auraria is a wonderful name steeped in Denver history and perfect for the name of the overall campus. But for everyone outside of metro Denver, they won’t get it. They’ll either spell it wrong or confuse it with Aurora (and we don’t want that).
I’d like to offer one additional option: Mile High University (or Mile High State University). This name capitalizes on two of the most positive, powerful, and universally recognized place-defining words out there, and immediately identifies the institution’s location as Denver, Colorado while giving the university a cool, cheerful name. Mile High University may sound to some people like a technical school or something, so that’s why it may be better to stick the word “State” in there to give the name a bit more gravitas. Mile High State University: serious, but hip at the same time.
Anyway, we here at DenverUrbanism wish Metro State the best in their renaming efforts and hope they pick a name that’s not lame.