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Give Penn a unique Identity - Consider changing Penn's name

This petition had 40 supporters


The University of Pennsylvania needs to change its name. Your colleagues, friends, and family get it wrong. The media – even the New York Times – repeatedly get it wrong. “Penn” is not “Penn State.” “University of Pennsylvania” is not “Pennsylvania State University.”

The only way to fix this problem: Change the University’s name.

Penn would not be the first Ivy League university to change its name – remember College of New Jersey? King’s College? It would also not be the first time Penn changed its name either – remember Academy of Philadelphia, College of Philadelphia, or University of the State of Pennsylvania?

Maybe some in the Penn community would miss the Penn moniker. But outside the Penn community, the effect of a new name would be clear: better name recognition, less confusion, and a distinct identity. The negative publicity surrounding the ongoing scandal at Penn State spilling onto Penn is just the most recent evidence of long-standing confusion surrounding our identity. There is a reason why the name ‘Wharton’ is so prominently displayed on alumni shirts, mugs, and windows: unmistakable name recognition.

Would changing Penn’s name be disruptive? Would it temporarily confuse applicants, admission committees, and employers? Yes and yes. But the long term benefits, even the short term media coverage, clearly outweigh those costs.

There would be many steps, options, and debates during the process of changing our University’s name. But the first step is convincing Penn itself to move forward. If you are a member of the Penn community and agree that it’s time for Penn to at least consider changing its name, then please sign the petition below.



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