Loyola seeking a name change

Alumni oppose plan as president defends use of 'university'

August 21, 2008|By Stephen Kiehl | Stephen Kiehl,Sun reporter

Loyola College in Maryland announced yesterday that it will become Loyola University Maryland to better reflect the breadth of its programs, but some alumni fear the new name does not reflect the intimate nature of the education that drew them to the college.

The school has been known as Loyola College since it was founded by Jesuits in 1852, but now, with dozens of graduate programs and 2,400 graduate students, the board of trustees has decided it is time for a new name.

"The college logo does not communicate the richness and distinctiveness of the institution," said Loyola's president, the Rev. Brian F. Linnane. He said he wanted to lift up graduate programs that sometimes look like "afterthoughts" because of the "college" designation.

Loyola has graduate programs in business, computer science, pastoral counseling and clinical psychology, among others. And with so many students studying abroad and coming from overseas to study at Loyola, the term university will better signal the school's mission, he said.

But young alumni in particular have expressed opposition to the change, which would take effect next August. A Facebook page opposing the name change had 775 members as of yesterday afternoon.

"I think that Loyola is straying away from its identity, and we are beginning to see Loyola put its corporate image in front of its principal role of educating men and women in a liberal arts tradition," said James M. De Leon of Severna Park, a 2006 Loyola graduate who created the Facebook page. Several commenters on the page said they would withhold donations from the school.

Linnane said that he understands the emotions behind the issue but that Loyola will not change its emphasis on a highly personal undergraduate education. The school has 3,600 undergraduates. The school's College of Arts and Sciences will be renamed Loyola College to honor the name in the school's history.

The change to Loyola University Maryland must be approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Approval is expected.

stephen.kiehl@baltsun.com

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