What’s In a (University) Name?
| Peter Klein |
An organization’s name is an important part of its identity. Names can also be valuable signals to market participants about mission, values, and strategy. Certainly, names seem to matter: a 2001 paper by Michael J. Cooper, Orlin Dimitrov, and Raghavendra Rau, “A Rose.com by Any Other Name,” documented a positive and significant stock-price reaction to announcements of adding “dot-com” to company names. (No word on the reaction to the reverse, as when Monster.com changed its name to Monster in 2003.)
Two universities in my state have gotten into the act. In 2005 Southwest Missouri State University changed its name to Missouri State University to reflect a more national orientation. (In most US states the “University of XYZ” is the original state university and “XYZ State University” is the newer, land-grant institution; in Missouri, however, the land-grant designation was given in 1870 to the already-existing University of Missouri, officials of which strongly opposed giving the name Missouri State to a rival institution.) Now the University of Missouri system has announced that the University of Missouri-Rolla, one of four campuses in the state system (and home of guest blogger Chihmao Hsieh), will change its name to Missouri University of Science and Technology. The name change is “is part of chancellor John S. Carney III’s goal of making UMR one of the nations top 5 technological research universities by 2010,” according to a news release. But will it smell as sweet?