Campus celebrates name change

By Jay Cormier

With Fitchburg State President Robert Antonucci (right) looking on, Gov. Deval Patrick signs the legislation changing the name from a college to a university.

What’s in a name? Much more than you might think. Walking around campus, you may have noticed a few things that have changed: the infamous smoke stack now reads “Fitchburg State University” and new signage is springing up all over campus. The name change, from Fitchburg State College to Fitchburg State University, will officially take effect on October 26.
“The transition has been gradual,” says Matt Bruun, Fitchburg State’s Public Relations specialist.
These gradual changes have not been random; they were the result of careful planning that started more than three months ago, when the new university status was announced.
“I worked on a timeline for things like replacing stationary,” Bruun says.  “We are transitioning slowly to keep costs contained over the extended period.” According to the Public Relations department, new signage accounts for the only costs associated with the name change.  With the example Bruun gave, stationary is something that “the college would replace in the normal course of business and within existing budgets.”
Behind the scenes, guiding the process was the “transition team” comprised of students, faculty and staff, Bruun said. This committee, according to Bruun, “has maintained constant email contact back and forth,” and will continue to help with the process up to and past Oct. 26.
University status will continue to shape the identity of Fitchburg State as a place of learning into the future.  According to a Q&A posted by the Public Relations department on the Fitchburg State website: “As a state university, our campus will be better positioned to compete for private, foundational and federal government funding,” which is important in harder economic times. The name change will also benefit students who graduate from the institution. “Graduating from a campus within a State University system will help our students compete on more equal footing” with other universities, says Bruun.
New opportunities come with this new title, Bruun emphasized. “The name itself, that is the biggest asset; it better reflects the institution we have become.”
The official name change will be recognized on October 26th at 3:30 pm in Weston Auditorium, when the campus will celebrate their university status and the groundbreaking for the new Condike science building. The ceremony is free and open to the public.