The pending merger of Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic is an exciting opportunity for the growth of both universities and the important populations they serve. Please give us a chance to start this consolidation off on the right foot by utilizing an inclusive name that better represents the unique value that both schools bring to the table. We desire to be more than the “new” Kennesaw State University. This petition urges you to consider adopting the all-encompassing name of Georgia Polytechnic State University (Georgia Poly).
In the University System of Georgia (USG) press release dated May 8, 2012 regarding the naming of the consolidations, Associate Vice Chancellor for Planning and Implementation, Shelley Nickel said, “Names are critical. They establish the identity and set the tone for the new institution. As such, the names represent a tremendous amount of work and the involvement of a very broad spectrum of stakeholders. The implementation teams are to be commended for their very open and inclusive work.”
Recent BOR consolidations set the precedent for names changes
The four most recent consolidations in the USG went through a process of selecting combined names for the institutions by gathering input from the eight campuses including faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the local community that would be affected. We question why this is not being done in the case of KSU and SPSU, which when combined will have over 31,178 students – roughly 10% of the entire USG, making it nearly the second largest university in Georgia. This new university will have an annual economic impact of $1.15 billion on the region.
Regarding the consolidation of KSU and SPSU, the BOR has stated that they “did not want to go through the expense and effort of coming up with a new name”. The name selection process of the four previous consolidations/renamings was not necessarily easy, and lessons were learned, but that does not justify skipping this critical step when it comes to the KSU/SPSU merger.
In the December 29, 2013 issue of the Marietta Daily Journal, KSU’s President Papp stated, “Future graduates of KSU with engineering and technology degrees will still see the SPSU name on their diplomas”. The official name of the new college which will incorporate Southern Polytechnic’s faculty and students has yet to be decided, but will include the words, “Southern Polytechnic,” President Papp predicted. - Such an adaptation, though commendable, is missing a great opportunity for this new university to truly evolve into one greater entity.
KSU is not the national brand we should be striving for
The BOR was quoted as saying that the reason behind using the KSU name in this merger with SPSU is that “Kennesaw State is more of a national brand.” As it currently stands, when one mentions KSU outside of the state of Georgia, many first think of Kansas State University, Kent State University, or Kentucky State University. Even captivating public speaker and legendary University of Georgia head football coach/athletic director, Vince Dooley, had a slight slip of the tongue calling KSU by the wrong name while speaking in a press conference about KSU’s football team hopes: http://www.ajc.com/videos/news/vince-dooleys-wrong-ksu-blooper/vdJCj/.
For those that say “it’s just a name”, it is so much more. It is an identity. This is an opportunity for the KSU/SPSU consolidation to put an end to the ambiguity regarding being one of four KSU’s, which Kennesaw State University has been since 1996. Let’s establish a permanent name for the new university and be the only ‘GP’ in the nation. This grand introduction would create a unique/prominent identity for the long-term and be more indicative of the larger area it serves.
The origin of the word polytechnic is derived from the Greek word “polutekhnos” which translates to “many arts”. While there is no universal definition, most of the polytechnic universities in the United States share important characteristics by engaging students in active/applied learning, theory, and research. California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech) are both strong examples of polytechnics with Liberal Arts, Business, and Architecture/Engineering programs. Virginia Tech also has a School of Medicine, (which is similar to the combined KSU/SPSU WellStar School of Nursing). This same model and naming convention would be ideal for the new university – Georgia Polytechnic State University.
As a reflection of KSU’s growth, the BOR recently elevated KSU to the status of “comprehensive university”. SPSU is designated by the BOR as the state’s only “technological state university”. Together, the new university will be Georgia’s only “comprehensive polytechnic university.”
Regarding national rankings, Georgia Poly can grow to be compared with Cal Poly similar to how Georgia Tech is often compared with Caltech by prospective students and donors.
But what about football?
In the February 15, 2013 NCAA press release, KSU’s President Papp said, “Without football, it is hard to be a major university in the south and we are well on our way toward becoming a national university.” We agree and want this combined institution to grow as one when the team takes the field in September 2015. Thank you to those involved for all the planning and hard work that went into creating a football program.
Keeping the KSU mascot (Owls) and the KSU school colors (black and gold) will save significant rebranding cost by utilizing the existing stadium seats, many logos, and other items. In college football, fans and players sometimes take as much pride in the logo they wear on and off the field as they do in their team's performance on the field. This same sense of pride could be significantly enhanced with a unique name when the team plays its first game against East Tennessee State University.
It’s not too late
The name of the new university will become effective upon approval and accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and Board of Regents. SACS is to approve of the new institution at its December 2014 meeting. Final BOR approval of the new institution will occur in January 2015.
As stated in the BOR’s six "Principles for Consolidation", principle #2 “improve regional identity” – trading in the local name Kennesaw for Georgia would strengthen the combined KSU/SPSU for the benefit of current/future students and alumni alike. Recent BOR discussions have reported an unclear path forward regarding how to merge the alumni associations of KSU and SPSU due to the proposed “new KSU” name. Let’s remove that barrier and embrace this unique opportunity to evolve to the national level as Georgia’s only comprehensive polytechnic university – Georgia Poly.
Cobb County – Home of the Atlanta Braves and the Georgia Poly Owls!
Go Poly! Go Owls!
To quote Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” Please let us make a difference in the long-term future of this great new institution.
Please sign this petition to encourage the USG Board of Regents to amend the name of the new university to Georgia Poly. Don’t forget to share and forward. It’s Owl Time!