That’s Western University to you

  1. Ridiculous. We go to Western, not Western University, and this is just going to add to the confusion that happens every time you say ‘Western’ to someone not in Ontario. Perhaps UBC should be rebranded as “British University” (I’d suggest Columbia, but it’s taken).
    As a sidebar, anyone familiar with the traditional phrase used by Queen’s to refer to UWO will realize the problems associated with having “WUC” as an acronym. FU, WU.

  2. Perhaps they should have taken the time to check out who else uses the name (or perhaps we’re just a satellite of the other Western University, whose main campus is in Baku, Azerbaijan).

    Once again, being trendy or expedient trumps heritage. To infer that the reason we don’t snare a larger percentage of international students is because the name has “Ontario” in it is definitely dumb logic. Quality candidates are attracted to the university through its reputation and the quality of the staff representing UWO abroad. Personally, I’d be highly suspect of anyone who can’t at least put a little effort into figuring out where they are going to invest their educational time and money.

    Yes, we all call our alma mater “Western”, but to drop all reference to the charter name in the logo or it’s publications is wrong. To simply satisfy someone’s ego through a branding exercise, this was a colossal waste of $200 000.

    • There are also a few Western Universities in the US. And if you think the $200,000 “consulting fee” was a waste, just wait until they start rolling out new everything else – merchandise, stationary, signage…

    • Well said.

      Very illogical reasoning for a name change. Either way, if the reason for the name change REALLY was to attract international students, that’s just low. Clearly, this University is strictly run as a business, and not as an educational institute. International students pay almost 400% more than Canadian students do, to attend this University so of course, they’ll want to attract these students.

      The real question is, how effective is the name change? Like you said, prospective students place importance on a myriad of things, not the name of a campus. If this whole branding excercise was done just so that UWO would show up in International student’s web-based Canadian university searches, then they should have just added Canada at the end of UWO… UWOC (sounds silly but still more sophisticated than WUC)

      Plus, when did this $200,000 branding excercise take place? They said they surveyed so many people on campus yet I was never aware of it, nor was any of my current colleagues who all attend Western and have been for the past 3 years…

      Many students would much rather prefer their tuition money going towards creating more places to study on campus or things that improve our University experience/quality of life on campus. :)

      This has made absolutely no effect on us, nor the current INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS. Genius waste of money.

      • The Ontario government subsidizes Canadian citizens’ tuition with more than $12K per student: this is the reason for the different tuition fees.

  3. Why is it always about expansion and growth? Western is in a good place where it is, with a strong Canadian reputation and background. It is one of the largest universities in Canada and has attained respect, honor, and a powerful academic, athletic, and fun loving image…all of which surround the name University of Western Ontario, and the abbreviation we all love so much; UWO! 200 000 dollars could be invested in something much less superficial. In my opinion and from what I have heard from the majority of my fellow students here at “UWO”…why try to fix something thats not broken? Spend that 200 000 dollars on scholarship funds for students who would love to attend our academic sanctuary but are too economically disadvantaged to do so.

  4. As a double graduate and former varsity Athlete from the University of Western Ontario, I am shocked by this recent name change. To me the name UWO means something and I am sure it does to many others of the largest Alumni network of any Canadian University. Hate to break it to you Mr President but sometimes traditions are for a reason and shouldn’t be changed. Was it really that big of a problem that the international enrollment wasn’t quite right? It never was an issue when I was there. I met many from out of country who came because of the great research and name that UWO already had. So I have to think that maybe every University should have to think about changing their names as well. I studied for six years at Western but not at the western university canada. That makes us sounds just plain dumb when you look at geography.

    I hope there is an alumni revolt and a student body revolt on this one. If it weren’t that my money goes to support athletics at my alma mater I would pull my funding immediately.

  5. Agreed. Like the new logo but Western University is not cool. UWO needs to stay.

  6. My grandfather went to UWO and many years later, I followed in his footsteps and also attended UWO. I met my fiance there, and his grandfather went to UWO as well. Although of course those that belong to this “club” of alumni, students and faculty,refer to UWO as Western, it absolutely breaks my heart, that one of the oldest Universities in Canada, with so much history, global prestige, and recognition would change it’s name.

    When you know Michael well, you call him Mike. Why can’t it be the same for Western? It is not even in Western Canada. This really upsets me.

  7. I’m not really surprised that there is a degree of frustration with the rebranding, such is our natural desire to protect the things that mean the most to us. I wrote a blog entry that touches on our resistance to change and how the sentiment sometimes inhibits visions of the future and possibility.

  8. I think you need to educate yourself a little bit more about all of the reasons involved in this re-branding strategy. There’s obviously more to the story. And let’s be honest 200k is nothing to a University with over 30 000 students and 10 000 employees…As much as they’re changing the brand the idea is to go back to it’s roots hence why they’ve used the crest with parts of the coat of arms..And again it’s not just about the students – it’s an image to the world. I say change is good and instead of creating more challenges, as an alumnus or current student we should all be supporting the change and help ease the transition..

    • Well said, “alumnus ’11”. People need some perspective, sheeze.

  9. I’ll be the devil’s advocate for a moment and suggest that maybe “Western University” could allow this great institution to set itself apart.

    Now type in “Western University” into Facebook. Interesting, there’s one in Azerbaijan. Can’t seem to find “Western University” (Canada) though. Apparently at “Western University”, $200,000 proves a Facebook search wrong every time.

    If you oppose the change, do something fun: submit a name change form to the Registrar’s office! Of course, you’re not “officially” changing it, you’re just trying to market yourself better to some hot international girls (imagine being named Newt or Mitt)

    You’ll be in handing in all of your assignments and writing your exams with your new name, but somewhere deep in some database is your “official” name, which you are satisfied with just appearing on your degree so long as you score some international suckers.

  10. I have lived in the London area close to 40 years. I have heard it called “Western” way more than “UWO” during this time. In the 80s my friends that went there called it “Western”. Their children all attend now and call it “Western”. Sounds like in the end, it will still be called “Western”. Much protest about nothing, it seems, with apolgies to those (who maybe attended during a short time in the 70s??) who call it UWO. Like the new look a lot better than the old one.

  11. Maybe the University of Southern California will follow the lead and change its name to Southern University USA!


    • Despite my earlier comments (and I still think that $200,000 was too much to spend on what we already knew), it should be noted that I like most of the new, simplified graphic and fully support the need for coherent branding across the spectrum of departments, schools and teams. For our family, having lived and studied in London for a number of years (4 B.Sc’s, 1 B.A., 2M.Sc’s, 1 M. NSc., 1PhD), highlighting “Western” makes sense because that’s how she is known to us.

      That said, calling it “Western University – Canada” makes about as much sense as the University of Calgary re-branding itself as “Eastern University” because it’s located east of the Rockies. It is this aspect, though subtle, I believe to be significant enough to warrant raising a concern.

      At the time Western received its original charter, Canada’s population was about 4 million people and the majority of them lived east of London. With the rest of the country to the west numbering in only the tens of thousands, the first name “Western University of London, Ontario” didn’t seem out of place. Circumstances necessitated a change in the 1920’s and she has been the “University of Western Ontario” ever since.

      There are those in administration who think that the legal name makes us appear as only a regional entity. Whereas I believe that leaving out the geographic reference is not only misleading, it devalues the contribution of the larger community that has historically supported the institution and its affiliate colleges financially, politically, culturally and spiritually. I disagree that acknowledging our regional identity somehow diminishes our international reputation.

      Instead, we’re left with a slogan that reinforces the belief, held by many true “Westerners” (those living in the Prairie and Mountain provinces), that Ontarians still think they’re the economic and political centre of the country. Don’t believe me? Just ask anyone you know living in Saskatchewan or Alberta what they think of the new name and how it reflects upon them.

      I would urge the Board of Governors and the Senate to re-visit their decision to allow communication vehicles that portray the university in a manner that is incoherent and inconsistent with the charter name.

      At the very least, the new, scalable artistic renderings could have been developed to include the charter name as an inserted subtext below the more familiar moniker.

      p.s. It’s not only those of us who attended in the 60’s and 70’s that also use the phrase “UWO” ;-)

  12. Well I think for $200,000 I could have come up with a plan to revert to the *original* coat of arms and swap out the moose for a maple leaf. How much did we spend when we changed from the coat of arms to the ivory tower? And now we are called WUC? How many alumni were polled? How many staff? I graduated from UWO. I work at UWO. Why is “UWO” such a bad brand name? I certainly know who UBC is, and I know where UofT is. Do we have to spend another few hundred thousand to change all email from Does the website change? We seem to have lots of money to spend on branding, communications, change of stationery, etc.

  13. Besides all the other things that have been notes, WU is not in Western Canada, there are many other Western Universities, etc… If they really want to do something with branding they have somewhat screwed themselves. Most people find information online and if you go to WU.COM, .EDU, .CA you will not be getting Western University Canada you will be getting WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business), a place holder for Western Union Alumni and the official website for Leon Wu. The same thing goes fro WUC. … If you want to find Western University you need to go to, now that isn’t too much of mixed branding problem. $200000 is nothing compared to what this is going to cost them to change all of the stationary, and other physical objects related to the university. By the end of this it will probably cost well north of several million dollars for a pointless exercise.
    One good thing came out of it though, obviously the university has loads of money to waste so they won’t be needing any donations from me, and when they come calling I think I will be keeping my money this year.

    • A new URL is easy. They already have their hands on and will be using it in earnest when the full change happens. If you actually read into the details on their website, they’re using up their old stationery and ordering new stationery at the regular interval. Signage on campus is replaced regularly and budgeted for anyways.

      Northwestern University isn’t really northwest of much, yet it is a leading American university with a brand that is not highly regionalized.

  14. Princeton used to be ‘College of New Jersey’ but I think Princeton is the stronger brand that history shows has served that university better: it is not inherently restricted by a specific-sounding region in its name.

    I would encourage readers to investigate the information on the website before drawing conclusions as many questions are addressed there.

    The ‘The University of Western Ontario’ name will still serve those who wish to use it on their resumes in Canada, and there’s no reason why we can’t stop using it. We don’t even have to say anything other than ‘Western’ in Canada. ‘Western University’ or ‘Western University Canada’ will serve our alma mater and its alumni as we garner an even greater international recognition. The simplified name is clearly for the worldwide audience.

    Nothing has changed about Western between now and last week. The name hasn’t even *really* changed. And to shamelessly bastardize Shakespeare… that which we Western by any other name would smell just as purple (with a hint of beer).

    The value of my education is not devalued or debased by any of this. If an alum feels less purple or less proud because of *this*, I submit there’s something wrong with the individual and not the institution.

  15. Is Western University Canada related to University Canada West in BC?