Hide   Volume
The Communicator NEWS & POLITICS

IPFW Discusses Potential Name Change

donny cover copy for web

Photo credit: Kody Kieler

donny cover copy for web
Written by: Mikaela ConleyJanuary 18, 2017

With the upcoming process of university realignment, many questions have yet to be answered. While Indiana University will retreat from most academic control on the Fort Wayne campus and Purdue University will formally take control, a couple of questions stand out: Will IPFW remain IPFW? And if not, what will be the new name of the university?

“Going forward we will not be IPFW as we have known it. We won’t have the integration. We won’t have the seamless movement of students that we have currently … the name I believe will likely change,” Chancellor Vicky Carwein stated at the Jan. 9 Fort Wayne Senate meeting.

Although much more than the title of the university will be undergoing major changes in the coming months and years, the process of changing the name of a university still seems daunting in itself.

Even before the final decision on a campus split was made, IPFW Athletics teams changed their title to the Fort Wayne Mastodons last August. Although, no official statement was made saying that this was a result of the LSA recommendation, but rather a way to get recognized.

Many students and key IPFW figures seem to be optimistic in this time of transition.

“Our name change does nothing to diminish the quality or reputation of the degrees earned by our alumni or by our current students,” Jeffrey Malanson, associate professor of history and presiding officer on the Fort Wayne Senate, said in an email. “This change does nothing to diminish the quality of the education our current and future students will receive at this university (regardless of whatever our name might be).”

Elizabeth Trauner, sophomore at IPFW, said she thinks it is just something students and alumni will have to get used to, similiar to when Tri-State changed their name to Trine University in 2008.

Victoria Sarjeant, assistant director of alumni relations, said being an alumni of IPFW is not just a title, but a way of life, and right now that way of life is in a transition phase.

“Right now we are in an adjustment period while we prepare to move forward. Both institutions are first-class universities that I would be proud to have a degree from. Hopefully we will be able to take advantage of our unique programming and make us stand out in the Purdue system if that is where we are headed,” she said via email.

IPSGA Vice President of Legislation, Alexander Sanderson,  also wanted to reassure the campus community.

“But the fact of the matter is that what makes a university strong is its community. The name, the branding, the location, and the buildings do not make a university credible,” Sanderson said in an email. “It’s the people and the community that resides at the heart of the institution. It’s the students, it’s the faculty, it’s the staff and it’s the alumni who make a university what it is. As long as we hold that value in our hearts, the credibility will never be affected no matter what.”

Steven Carr, interim chair  of  the communication department and a member of the American Association of University Professors Executive Committee at IPFW, said the discussion of a name change is a distraction from more pressing issues the campus is now facing.

“While coming up with a new name for IPFW may appear to solve the most superficial of problems, the real issues and challenges facing us persist,” he said in an email.

One of these issues is the “complete sidelining of faculty voices from any meaningful discussion of campus management (not governance, as the LSA report so fatally misconstrued) that up until now has taken place almost exclusively at legislative and administrative levels.”

Additionally, the university is still dealing with, and continues to deal with the challenges that rise with the closing of academic programs, while students are still attempting to complete their degrees in those programs.

Carl Drummond, vice chancellor for academic affairs, had no comment at the time of this article.