Name change announced ahead of university integration

Students air concerns about the new united university name.


Cal U’s Old Main building, July 1, 2019.

Miranda Palmer , Contributor

On Oct. 14, California University of Pennsylvania Interim President Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson announced a name change for the integration of California, Edinboro, and Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Pehrsson greeted students in a video she sent via email on Thursday morning.  In the video, Dr. Dale announced that, effective July 2022, the integrated universities will be known as Pennsylvania Western University, nicknamed PennWest.   Each will retain its location name to identify the campus. For example, Pennsylvania Western University, California.

Regarding the name change, Pehrsson said, “I’m excited about this next step, and I know you are, too.”

However, some students may disagree. Mady Hallmark, a sophomore early education major at Cal U, said, “I do not like it. It sounds tacky. It sounds like a prison lowkey. Or like, a mental institution. Neither of those have good connotations.” Other students have compared the shortened name to WestPenn Power, a local electric company.

At Edinboro, the student body shared similar attitudes. Sophomore illustration and graphic design student, Grace Maust, said. “Edinboro’s reaction was definitely mostly negative. I think this was again due to the lack of consultation that we got as paying students. I think everyone is just tired of changes after the past 2 years, we want some security and consistency so we all feel a little betrayed.”

Following the announcement of the new name, the universities also announced they would be doing a logo redesign for the integration, and students were to choose between three potential design choices in an online survey.

Each logo contained original designs and fonts new to each university, but the colors used represent a part of each university and their school spirit. The three logos were developed by “a team of designers from all three campuses”, and include a unique blend of red, blue, and gold derived from the existing designs of each campus.

“I voted for the fire one,” describing the third design option, said Hallmark. “I just thought the other ones were kind of lame.”  Maust picked the third design as well, but said “I do wish I wouldn’t have even voted.”

As an art major, Maust has a unique perspective on this aspect of the merge. Art students at Edinboro have been airing grievances for several months after seeing an 85% increase in their studio fees with no visible advantages or explanation to where their money is going.

“The school has an entire (very successful and very underfunded) graphic design program that they completely overlooked to use clip art and default fonts. I just think it’s a really important reflection on the lack of consultation about the entire merge,” said Maust.

“I think this idea is a business proposal rather than an idea to benefit students and faculty in the current crisis and that speaks a lot to American values.”