Texas State and San Marcos are firmly interconnected, but keeping the city’s name tacked onto the university’s title can only hinder its growing national recognition.
Currently, the institution’s official title is “Texas State University-San Marcos,” a lengthy name rarely said out loud or even printed on anything other than official documents. This institution is the fifth-largest university in Texas. However, it is the only school in the top 10 to include its home city’s name in the title, other than the various University of Texas institutions. Distinguishing these campuses by city makes sense. However, Texas State is located only in San Marcos, rendering the inclusion of the city’s name superfluous.
Texas State should hardly be due for a name change. This is especially true considering the university altered its title in 2003 with a transition from Southwest Texas State University. Administrators hoped other universities in the system would each adopt the same name with their own cities’ names in the suffix, but to date none have done so. Dropping “Southwest” from the front only to pin “-San Marcos” on the end was shortsighted, narrowing rather than broadening the university’s apparent scope. Texas State’s national recognition and alumni reach have only grown in the nearly 10 years since, but the city-specific name remains.
According to a Jan. 30 University Star article, the Texas legislature will soon have the opportunity to correct this past error at the request of institution officials. Though Provostdenied the change was related to national prestige, it would give future graduates a diploma with a much more impactful title that potential employers will see not as a local city college but a flagship institution of Texas. San Marcos is by far the smallest city mentioned by name on the list of the top 10 largest Texas universities, which also includes Austin, San Antonio and El Paso, among others. Though San Marcos offers a small-town experience unique for a college city, its size lends little credibility to a diploma when out-of-state employers may not have even heard of it.
The previous name change was met with mixed reactions, inciting some degree of alumni backlash but correlating to an increase in enrollment. However, dropping San Marcos’ name from the title, is highly unlikely to cause any notable negative reaction. The adjustment would not involve a change in the school’s abbreviation or marketing materials. In the same University Star article, Bill Nance, vice president for Finance and Support Services, said costs associated with the name change would be minimal, consisting primarily of altering signage and letterheads.
Texas State’s current name is redundant at best. It is the only school in its system to go by “Texas State University,” and including the city in the name falsely implies a larger, more prominent institution exists. Though most Texas residents know this is not the case, out-of-state employers may not. Texas State graduates already face enough competition in job searches. They should not have to wonder whether employers believe there are Texas State institutions in other cities.
Administrators are making the right decision by requesting the shortened name. “Texas State University” is simple, short and impactful and does not cause confusion with any other school. As alumni continue to spread throughout the country and Texas State receives more attention for its athletic and research efforts, a strong name will be a necessity.