K-State Clarifies Reports Of Name Change

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What’s in a name? Well, apparently enough to get K-State Nation up in a tizzy over a “name change” that really isn’t. School president Kirk Schulz probably had no idea how remarks he made to the governor could cause such a stir.

A K-State spokesman says it’s all about how the university name will be branded to different groups. To some, it’s Kansas State University; to others, it’s K-State.

Who really knows how long it’s been that way in the 150 years since its founding as Kansas State Agricultural College during the Civil War? Alumns and fans simply describe their school to others as:

"Usually we say K-State – K-State Wildcats,” says K-State graduate Lindsay Rasberry. “It's always been K-State or KSU. Never Kansas State."

But Kansas State President Schulz tells Gov. Brownback and others the school wants to improve its national recognition with one brand. That brand would be “Kansas State” in recruiting and promoting itself and to other universities.

"And what our research has found is that K-State doesn't really resonate with them because it's very much a regional and localized name,” says Jeff Morris, KSU VP of communications and marketing. “So when we're out talking to those audiences, we're shifting to Kansas State University."

Morris says this isn’t a new shift but has been going on for a couple of years. But as soon as this news broke, it went almost viral on social media sites.

"We're getting a ton of response on social media," Morris says.

K-Staters are concerned the moniker they’re comfortable with was going to be dropped. Morris insist it’s not so.

"They get hyper,” Morris says. “And we're just saying 'just stay calm.’ We're K-State. "

K-State will share name branding with Kansas State.

"And when you look at our brand strategy K-State is part of our brand DNA,” Morris says. “It always will be. It's part of what we market ourselves in the state and local region."

Nothing, he says, will change on campus signs and building, nor in the minds of loyal K-State fans.

"K-State, K-State University, K-State, yeah. Not Kansas State but K-State," says K-State fan Paula Clouse.

The bottom line is, to the university, the proper name is Kansas State University and will be used in branding to those outside K-State Nation. But to all of us in KAKEland and Wildcat Fan Nation, it’s still okay to refer to it as K-State.

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